Technical Updates

Thursday, 18 April 2019
FSC Approves Supplementary Requirements for Forest Service Lands

April 18, 2019

For the first time, FSC certification is now an option for National Forests, after the final approval in March 2019 of the supplementary requirements to the FSC US Forest Management Standard. These requirements have been incorporated into an updated version of the Standard which is available on the FSC US web site.

The supplementary requirements include an emphasis on ecological integrity, including both restoration and maintenance of ecosystems; extra protections for forest workers, including workers employed by contractors; additional requirements associated with carbon stocks, climate change and wildfire; requirements for assessing the landscape of the National Forest, including both the federal and non-federal lands; additional requirements associated with infrastructure, such as roads, road-crossings, and culverts; and higher expectations for consultations, including those with the public and tribes that have rights within the forest area.

The process to develop the supplementary requirements followed FSC normative procedures, including input and oversight by a chamber-balanced and consensus-based working group and technical experts, and opportunities for broad stakeholder engagement. The development of the supplementary requirements and associated procedures for certification bodies included three rounds of public consultation prior to being approved by FSC.

This update comes at a time when FSC US is actively working on a revision of the Forest Management Standard for the U.S., to bring it into complete alignment with current FSC Principles and Criteria. The supplementary requirements for National Forests will be reviewed to ensure that they remain aligned with the larger standard. There will also be opportunities for stakeholders to provide input on the supplementary requirements as part of the public consultations for the standard as a whole.

While the approval of the supplementary requirements makes FSC certification available to National Forests, each National Forest must decide whether to pursue FSC certification. The FSC team looks forward to working with the US Forest Service as this new option is explored.