To build upon the success SmartWood has enjoyed, the Rainforest Alliance launched a new collaborative program named TREES (Training, Research, Education, Extension, Systems). TREE’s mission is to improve the effectiveness of responsible forestry in conserving biodiversity and providing economic support to local communities. Through this program, the Rainforest Alliance provides assistance to small landowners and community and indigenous groups worldwide to get their forests certified to expand the marketplace for certified products. TREES helps educate landowners about how the certification process is an effective conservation tool, and researches new models and systems to ensure the long-term survival of our forest habitats and the economic well-being of local communities. TREES will also help build practical, on-the-ground relationships with other environmental organizations.
Through SmartWood, the Rainforest Alliance has certified over nine and a half million acres of forest worldwide. Of that, over two million acres represent community or indigenous forests. TREES is an important complement to SmartWood because it focuses on long-term public education, training, and capacity building in relation to certification and sustainable forest management, on both a global and site-specific scale.