FSC US Forest Management Standard
2018-2019 Revision

FSC US would like to announce a revision process for the FSC US Forest Management Standard (v1.0), which will commence in early 2018 and is expected to take approximately 2 years. The following content provides an overview of the scope, objectives and methodology for the process, along with requests for stakeholder participation.

Please email fm.revision@us.fsc.org with questions or for more information.

Scope
In 2010, FSC US completed a full review and revision of the nine FSC US regional standards that culminated in the approval and accreditation of a single FSC US forest management (FM) standard. While this undertaking was lengthy and detailed, the result was an outstanding US FM standard. With an overall goal of maintaining continuity and consistency in the FSC US FM Standard, the 2018-2019 revision will:

  • Align the US FM standard with the new FSC Principles & Criteria, and International Generic Indicators (IGI)
  • Address a small number of high priority issues identified by stakeholders
  • Incorporate guidance that has been in use, but not formally adopted into the standard
  • Complete editorial and grammatical clarifications

Stakeholder Participation Requested
We are encouraging stakeholder participation in a number of ways.

  • Join the consultative forum. The consultative forum is for any stakeholder that wishes to receive periodic updates about the standard revision process and contribute to the development of the standard. Join the consultative forum by filling out this short form.
  • Apply to be a member of the Working Group. The working group will be composed of 6 or more stakeholders (members or non-members) that will bring a broader diversity of regional and other perspectives to the process. We will attempt to maintain a chamber-balance, but recognize that chamber affiliation will be more flexible for non-members. The working group will advise the Standards Development Group (SDG), based upon inputs from FSC US staff, consultants and technical advisors. It is anticipated that the duration of this role will be approximately 18 months, and will include a minimum of 3 in-person meetings and additional virtual meetings, along with review and consideration of relevant materials and electronic dialog between meetings.
  • Volunteer to serve as a Technical Advisor. The technical advisors will be asked to provide feedback on specific issues relevant to their technical expertise – typically focused on one of the priority issues described below. The requested feedback may include requests for suggestions of sources for pertinent information, requests for review of text for accuracy, specific questions from the working group or the SDG, or other similar requests. While the anticipated duration of this role is also approximately 18 months, interactions would likely be sporadic and almost entirely virtual in nature.

Please indicate your interest in serving on the Working Group or as a Technical Advisor by completing this very short survey by October 18. In the coming weeks, additional information will be requested from those who indicate an interest.

Proposed Priority Issues
The following potential priorities were identified based upon stakeholder feedback since the last standard revision. However, additional feedback is being sought before the priority issues to be addressed in this revision are finalized. All stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the issues and suggest potential solutions related to the issues by emailing fm.revision@us.fsc.org. Please download the PDF document for more detailed descriptions.

  • Regional Requirements – Incorporate regional requirements into the body of the standard after assessing the need for updates, based upon new information.
  • Conservation Lands & High Conservation Values – Formally adopt a methodology for Representative Sample Areas and a national High Conservation Value Framework, improve clarity of guidance around relevant indicators and address the new IGI requirements related to Conservation Areas Networks.
  • Customary/Traditional Rights & Engagement – Evaluate new IGI requirements related to customary and traditional rights and clarify relevant terminology.
  • Family Forest Indicators – Assess the need for updates to these indicators, with special consideration of new guidance on scale, intensity and risk, and any outcomes from FSC’s ‘New Approaches to Smallholder Certification’ initiative.
  • Climate Change – Evaluate how climate change adaptation strategies can be supported by the existing framework of the FSC US FM standard to help promote responsible forest management. NOTE: This issue is not intended to address carbon capture, climate change credits or to ‘high carbon stock.’ It is also not intended to represent or replace the FSC ‘Ecosystem Services’ initiative.

Process
FSC US staff will coordinate the process. A working group (WG) that is open to both FSC members and non-members will be formed to advise the Standards Development Group (SDG), based upon inputs from FSC US staff, consultants and technical advisors. The Working Group will be chamber-balanced with at least six individuals, ideally representing a wide diversity of US regions and stakeholder types. The FSC US Board of Directors will be fulfilling the role of SDG. FSC US staff will coordinate all participants and liaise between the Working Group and the FSC US Board of Directors/SDG. To contact the SDG, please send an email to Amy Clark Eagle (a.eagle@us.fsc.org).

Timeline
2018

  • Working Group develops recommendations for SDG
  • SDG consensus on a draft for public consultation
  • Initiate 1st public consultation

2019

  • 2nd public consultation
  • Forest test (new elements only)
  • SDG consensus on a final draft
  • Submit to FSC International for approval

Normative Guidance
The development of the revised FSC US FM Standard will follow FSC standards and procedures for the development and revision of normative documents.