Despite documented challenges, many community-based forestry (CBF) initiatives pursue forest certification. This study asked community-based forestry practitioners in Vermont what influenced their decisions to seek or not seek certification and what outcomes were realized from certification. Relationships, public image, value alignment and feedback on management practices were most commonly cited as both motivations for and results of certification. Expectations for economic benefits were low and price premiums for products were only occasionally realized. Informants complained of the increasing cost, complexity and time commitment required of certification. Overall, however, certified CBF informants felt certification was worth the expense. Group certificates and external funding significantly reduced certification costs to grassroots CBF initiatives. This study highlights the importance of facilitating organizations that can provide outreach, secure funding, understand the rules, handle documentation and develop markets for certified products.
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