Small-scale timber growers' participation in the development of national principles, criteria, indicators and standards for sustainable forest management in South Africa.
The aim of this study was to engage small-scale timber growers in the development of national principles, criteria, indicators and standards (PCI&S) for sustainable forest management (SFM) in South Africa (SA). To ensure effective participation of small-scale timber growers in the development PCI&S, an overview of sustainable and small-scale forestry was explored. Furthermore, because of the importance of globalisation on the SFM concept, its conceptual framework and small-scale forestry development in relation to SFM were investigated. Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods, and PCI&S evaluation and development processes were used to engage small-scale timber growers by identifying and integrating their perceptions into the process of SFM standards development. These small-scale timber growers' perceptions focused on social, economic, environment and policy issues. The stUdy indicates that the views of small-scale timber growers regarding SFM do not vary significantly from those held globally. However, they demonstrate that local conditions determined issues of relevance and importance to this specific group. The results further support the view that there is value in combining both top-down and bottom-up approaches in developing an appropriate set of PCI&S. This is critical because the perceptions of small-scale timber growers for SFM are scale sensitive. Finally, the results supported the view that there is a need to give attention to and strengthen socio-economic issues versus those of the physical environment to improve inequalities of the past, and influence future decisions.