Forest management certification involves an inspection of the forest management unit by an independent FSC-accredited certification body to check that the forest complies with the internationally-agreed FSC 10 Principles of Responsible Forest Management. If the forest complies with FSC standards, then the FSC accredited certification body issues a certificate for the operation.
The ten principles of FSC Forest Management are:
- Principle 1: Compliance with laws and FSC Principles – to comply with all laws, regulations, treaties, conventions and agreements, together with all FSC Principles and Criteria.
- Principle 2: Tenure and use rights and responsibilities – to define, document and legally establish long-term tenure and use rights.
- Principle 3: Indigenous peoples’ rights – to identify and uphold indigenous peoples’ rights of ownership and use of land and resources.
- Principle 4: Community relations and worker's rights – to maintain or enhance forest workers' and local communities’ social and economic well-being.
- Principle 5: Benefits from the forest – to maintain or enhance long term economic, social and environmental benefits from the forest.
- Principle 6: Environmental impact – to maintain or restore the ecosystem, its biodiversity, resources and landscapes.
- Principle 7: Management plan – to have a management plan, implemented, monitored and documented.
- Principle 8: Monitoring and assessment – to demonstrate progress towards management objectives.
- Principle 9: Maintenance of high conservation value forests – to maintain or enhance the attributes which define such forests.
- Principle 10: Plantations – to plan and manage plantations in accordance with FSC Principles and Criteria.
All ten principles and criteria must be applied in any forest management unit before it can receive FSC certification. The Principles & Criteria apply to all forest types and to all areas within the management unit included in the scope of the certificate. More information on the FSC Principles and Criteria development process, history and future is available here:
FSC International Website - Principles and Criteria
Certified forest operations can claim the forest products they produce come from a responsibly managed forest. Before a certified forest operation can sell their products as FSC certified, they must also obtain chain of custody certification (FM/COC).