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What is Forest Certification?

Forest Certification is an increasingly important factor in the ability of forest owners to sell their timber products. But what is it and how does it work? Forest Certification takes two forms, forest management certification and chain of custody certification. But first lets look at the general concept of certification.

Certification is a widespread market driven process which enables the end user, the consumer, to know that the product they have purchased has been grown, managed or processed under a set of standards that the manufacturer claim. Outside of forestry think free-range claims, Halal products or six star energy ratings. Typically, these certifications are all given to the producer by an independent, third party auditor.  Certification for forest products is no different.

So what are the advantages of certification to a forest grower? Whilst certification is not compulsory, many markets are now requiring that any timber they purchase is legally and sustainably grown and harvested. Certification provides this evidence and therefore provides market access, ultimately growers may not be able to market their timber without forest management certification.

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