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Technical Updates

Wednesday, 13 July 2022
Update on FSC US National Forest Stewardship Standard Revision

The final public consultation for the Version 2 standard revision process closed on May 31, 2022.

During the consultation 43 responses were received, representing 75 respondents. By chamber, 28 Economic Chamber responses were received (representing 31 respondents), 10 Environmental Chamber responses were received (representing 39 respondents), 3 Social Chamber responses were received (representing 3 respondents) and 2 responses were received where chamber alignment could not be determined.

The greatest number of comments were received about Principle 2 (Forest Workers’ Rights & Wellbeing) and Principle 6 (Impacts on Environmental Values). For Principle 2, topics with the most comments focused on worker wages and addressing expectations regarding fair compensation for injury or property damage. For Principle 6, topics with the most comments were Representative Sample Areas, Conservation Area Networks and expectations regarding justifying deviations from regional requirements for opening sizes.

Other topics with higher numbers of responses related to engagement with local communities to identify and avoid impacts from management activities; environmental value assessments; rare, threatened and endangered species; riparian management zones (i.e., streamside management zones) and water protections; old growth; and pesticide use.

The Standard Development Group (a role being filled by the FSC US Board of Directors) has begun to evaluate the comments received and will use these considerations as they develop Draft 3. This third draft will be submitted to FSC International in November 2022 for the final approval process.

While there will not be any further public consultations, members of the consultative forum may receive targeted questions from the Standard Development Group to inform development of Draft 3. All individuals are welcome to join the consultative forum by completing a short online form.

Final approval of the Version 2 FSC US National Forest Stewardship Standard is anticipated for the second half of 2023. Following approval and publication there is typically a 3-month period before the standard becomes effective. After the effective date, all forest management certificate holders will have one year to be audited to the revised standard.

As a voluntary certification system, FSC relies on input from stakeholder to ensure our standards are practical and impactful for organizations that choose to seek certification.
Engagement from diverse stakeholders is key to FSC’s credibility, and therefore, the participation of the 75 respondents in the recent public consultation was greatly appreciated.