Forest certification can be defined as the practice of implementing and evaluating forest management activities in accordance with agreed upon standards of sustainability. These standards are established by one of several independent forest certification organizations.
There are several benefits to pursing certification, including:
- Some Georgia forest product companies show a preference for purchasing certified timber.
- Regions with more certified forestland attract new industries that require sustainable wood sourcing.
- Trends toward a higher demand for certified wood products could result in competition and higher prices for the certified timber.
Does GFC recommend certification?
GFC neither recommends nor discourages forest certification. However, we do encourage wise forest stewardship for all landowners. As a first step, work with a qualified natural resource professional to develop a forest management plan. This is good idea whether you decide to pursue certification or not.
Forest Management Certification Programs
Recently, Forisk Consulting group produced a report on the major forest certification standards for the American Consumer Institute. The report describes the certification systems as they relate to southern forestry practices. The percentage of certified forestland in Georgia is 20.2%, approximately one-fifth of Georgia’s timberland. Many Georgia landowners participate in one of the following forest certification programs.
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) was developed for larger corporate landowners.
- American Tree Farm (ATF) provides a certification system for non-industrial landowners who have smaller holdings.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has membership concentrated equally in environmental, economic, and social programs.
These programs are administered by independent organizations that are separate from State and Federal government agencies. Each has third party certification procedures, and each has been approved and endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
|Comparing Certification Standards in the U.S.||A research study on how alternate forest certification systems could impact timberland economics in the United States. The three programs evaluated included ATFS, FSC and SFI.|
|Forest Certification and the Sustainability Issue Concerning Wood Products||Helpful overview regarding the merits of Forest Certification.|
|Forest Certification FAQs|
|SGSF Forest Certification Report||The Southern Group of State Foresters created an overview document about recommendations for actions with regard to Forest Certification.|