Primer

Forest Products Certification: How It Works

When specifying or using forest products, some people want to know that they originated in a forestry operation that respects the long-term health of the forest and its important functions, such as wildlife habitat, recreation, and support for local communities. You can’t tell those things by scrutinizing the lumber or furniture product—that’s where certification programs come in.

The goal of forest product certification programs is to offer independent, third-party validation of responsible forest management. The certifiers are hired by the forest owner or forest products company to inspect the company’s logging and forest management practices, review its policies, and audit its records. The certifier’s job is to verify that practices on the ground conform to the relevant standard from the organization whose certification label will go on the products.

Published April 29, 2011