Matthew R. Auer

Group forest certification for smallholders in Vietnam: an early test and future prospects

Matthew R. Auer
School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, USA
Day 2, 16:20-17:10

Forests in Vietnam are heavily utilized resources. Some 25 million people who live in and near forests depend on timber and non-timber resources for subsistence and income. Vietnam’s timber processing industries, which are in a steep growth phase, demand raw material from the nation’s forests, but that demand greatly outstrips available, high quality supply. A national forest development strategy through 2020 calls for broad expansion of plantation forests coupled with third-party forest certification. One type of forest certification, involving certification of groups of smallholder farmers, is comparatively understudied. A recent effort to promote group forest certification in Vietnam yielded measurable benefits to stakeholders, including enhanced income streams to plantation smallholders. However, long-term challenges to group forest certification remain, including smallholders’ ability to cover recurring costs for certification. Vietnam’s recent experience with group forest certification represents an early chapter in that nation’s ambitious plans to increase forest cover, make forests more productive through plantation forestry, and improve forest management and market access through forest certification.


Matthew R. Auer

Matthew Auer is Dean of the Hutton Honors College and Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Dr. Auer has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the arenas of environmental policy, energy policy, sustainable development, and foreign aid. In 2004, he published the edited volume, Restoring Cursed Earth: Appraising Environmental Policy Reforms in Eastern Europe and Russia (Rowman & Littlefield Press) which was nominated for the International Studies Association’s Sprout Award for best book in global environmental studies. He has taught at Indiana University since 1996 where he has earned more than ten teaching awards, including the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Auer served as Senior Adviser to the U.S. Forest Service from 2001 to 2006. During that time, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Forum on Forests and to the International Tropical Timber Council. For more than twenty years, he has developed, implemented, and evaluated energy and environmental aid programs for the U.S. Agency for International Development and for foreign aid agencies in, among other countries, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Poland, Azerbaijan, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Dr. Auer received a Ph.D. in Forestry and Environmental Studies from Yale University in 1996. His other academic degrees include an M.Phil (1993) and M.S. (1992) from Yale, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (1990) and an A.B. magna cum laude in Anthropology from Harvard University (1988).