News Analysis

FSC National Standard Friendly to Small Forests

Forests in the U.S. are currently certified using one of nine regional variations of the international FSC standards. A national standard would combine the similar elements of those standards. Regional concerns could be addressed through applicability notes that would describe in which regions a given criteria should be used. According to FSC–US, this approach would streamline review of the standard and allow the Council to certify forests in parts of the U.S. not currently covered by regional standards, such as Hawaii and Alaska.

As part of this review process, a working group is adapting the FSC–US rules for small forests for use in the national standard. Starting in 2004, FSC–US allowed managers of small forests (under 2,500 acres, or 1,000 ha) to use streamlined certification rules. Small forests are subject to lower sampling levels, more local stakeholder review (instead of national), and fewer peer reviews than larger forests. According to Karen Steer, a consultant to FSC–US and the coordinator of the standards revision process, the working group is “not looking in any way to change the intent of the standards,” but is rather working to make the national standard more accessible for owners of small forests. FSC International is also looking at this issue; it gathered interested parties together in Portugal in May 2008 to discuss improving access to FSC standards for small forests worldwide.

Published May 29, 2008

Wendt, A. (2008, May 29). FSC National Standard Friendly to Small Forests. Retrieved from