FSC US National Forest Stewardship Standard 2018-2023 Revision

On December 21, 2022, FSC US submitted the Final Draft of the US National Forest Stewardship Standard to FSC International for review, adjustments as needed, and approval.

The public consultation is now done.

The Standard is now being reviewed by FSC International to ensure it aligns with global strategies and priorities. FSC US expects this process to take 12-18 months before the Standard is approved.

The Draft that was submitted represents a meaningful accomplishment, carefully balancing the input we heard from economic, environmental, and social interests. In an era of global challenges – climate change, biodiversity collapse, and social injustice, to name a few – this revised Standard sets a new bar for managed forests in the US.

When the Standard is ultimately approved, FSC US is committed to identifying additional opportunities for streamlining and providing additional clarity, flexibility, and support for certificate holders. This support will include development of additional guidance materials, training, decision support tools, and other resources identified as priorities by certificate holders and certification bodies, as time and FSC US resources allow.

Download the Final Draft of the US National Forest Stewardship Standard [PDF] that was submitted to FSC International for review, adjustments as needed, and approval.

Download the Consultation Report [PDF] that highlights changes made between Draft 2 and the Final Draft.

Download the testing report [PDF] that provides feedback on the feasibility and impact of the Final Draft.

Download the Questions & Answers [PDF; Updated] from the March 1, 2023 virtual Status Update Session and from emails received in advance of the session.

Next Steps

Following submission of the Final Draft, FSC International staff will review the draft Standard and associated materials to ensure that all required elements of the normative process have been followed, and that the standard itself includes all required elements. Following this review, the final decision on the Standard will be made by the International FSC Policy and Standards Committee, which has delegated authority from the International FSC Board of Directors for decisions on National Forest Stewardship Standards. If the Committee identifies any conditions for approval, these will need to be resolved before the standard is fully approved and published. The approval process is expected to take approximately a year but could be shorter or longer.

Following approval, there is typically a 3-month delay before the revised Standard becomes effective, and this is followed by a 12-month transition period. All certificate holders must be audited to the revised Standard during the transition period.

  • FSC International staff review, and International FSC Policy & Standards Committee review and approval – ESTIMATED by end of year 2023
  • Standard becomes effective – ESTIMATED by end of Quarter 1, 2024
  • Transition period ends, and all certificate holders transferred to the revised Standard – ESTIMATED by end of Quarter 1, 2025

If you have any questions about the FSC US National Forest Stewardship Standard, please email Amy Clark Eagle, director of science and certification (a.eagle@us.fsc.org).