Mark B Page Chartered Forester
Mixed woodland

Mixed woodland.

Forest Management Certification Consultancy

There has been much concern in the past 20 years of the effect on climate of world-wide unsustainable use of natural forests and woodland. This concern has spurred the development of sustainable use of woodlands and forest products, by the forest industry.

Tree in meadow

FSC need not necessarily
be a plantation in the UK.

However it is not enough to manage woodlands properly if there is not an independent means of proving to the end-user that the wooden item he is buying IS from a sustainable source.

To prove that wood - essential for mans existence on the planet - is from a sustainable source several forest certification schemes have been set up.

The two main Schemes are Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification. (PEFC). Other schemes, somewhat more regionally based do exist. FSC is the only one recognised by Greenpeace who say:

"FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council, is the only international forestry certifying organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests."

The basis for each of these two schemes is that forests (natural woodlands or plantations) are certified as being under sustainable forest management systems. A forest that complies has a certificate issued by the scheme which has audited the forest and forest management enterprise.

The main path to achieving this in the UK is through the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS).

The UKWAS reflects the requirements of the UK government’s Forestry Standard and via the UKWAS the guidelines adopted by European Forestry Ministers in 1993 and 1998.

UKWAS is a certification standard which provides a single route which is acceptable to the FSC and PEFC. In other words by submitting to the UKWAS standard and being successfully audited, ones woodlands and their management are then qualified to FSC and or PEFC standards.

Until recently FSC has provided the only certified woodlands in the UK; however in 2010 the UK Forestry Commission, UPM Tilhill and Scottish Woodlands brought their woodlands into the PEFC scheme, a total of 506 800 ha.

A strength of UK woodland management is its diversity so there is broad scope within the standard for owners and managers to decide on appropriate objectives for each woodland. The standard generally prescribes what must be achieved overall but leaves it to the owner to decide how this is best done in each situation. The sections of the standard each address a specific aspect of management:

  1. Compliance with the law and conformance with the requirements of the certification standard
  2. Management planning
  3. Woodland design: creation, felling and replanting
  4. Operations
  5. Protection and maintenance
  6. Conservation and enhancement of biodiversity
  7. The community
  8. Forestry workforce.

Following on from the certification of the woodland there is certification of the woodland products - this is called 'Chain of Custody'

Chain of Custody Consultancy

I am the FSC consultant for the
owner of this Teak plantation.

Chain of Custody (CoC), either FSC or PEFC, is a means of proving to a potential purchaser that the timber or forest product he intends to purchase has come from a well-managed forest, or other responsible source. The product he wishes to purchase carries a certificate number that links the wooden material in it to the forest in which the timber was grown. All processors, manufacturers and agents through whose hands the timber passes in its journey from a log in a forest to the final purchaser require to be certified and the record the passing of the product.

All in the chain must submit to a rigorous scrutiny of his work procedures and systems, and after compliance he is issued with his own certificate which he can pass on to those who wish to purchase from him.

The purchaser who wishes to be sure that the product he wishes to purchase from the forest is sustainable then has a means of verifying that it is.

More and more companies and end-users are demanding certified products, as can be witnessed in supermarkets and booksellers shelves where one can see many instances of the FSC 'Tick and Tree' logo.

These systems are rather demanding in detail, although the principle is simple.

I offer the service of assisting the Timber using industries to develop their own work systems and develop them into adopted work procedures, which will enable them to achieve compliance with the two main standards.

I undertake consultancy small and large companies, some with large turnovers and many employees.

See my client list for some companies who have used my services for the development of both FSC Forest Management and Chain of Custody consultancy



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