Forest Certification is a system that verifies forests are managed to a defined best practice and sustainable standard leading to a certificate issued by a recognised independent party. Certification works throughout the forest supply chain with the aim of promoting good practice in the forest and to ensure and verify that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect to ecological, social and ethical standards. A chain of custody system further ensures traceability of certified materials from the forest to the processors and ultimately to the consumer. Through labelling, customers and consumers are able to identify products from such sustainably managed forests.
There are two main international forest certification schemes, for more information on forest certification schemes, see www.pefc.org and www.fsc.org
In Ireland national standards have been in place for each of these international schemes since 2011 and 2012 respectively:
- PEFC Irish Forest Certification Standard (Endorsed December 2011, Revised 2014)
The 3rd Edition of the PEFC Irish Forest Certification Standard underwent 60-day Public Consultation until 29th August 2021.
The Irish Forest Certification Standard has been submitted to PEFC for assessment. The public consultation, which is your chance to give your feedback on this revised standard, will run from 12 December 2022 to 9 February 2023.
To provide you with additional information about this revised national standard, PEFC are holding a webinar on 12 December at 9AM Irish Time (GMT). Click HERE to register for the webinar, or check out www.pefc.org
See also www.pefc.ie for further information on PEFC Ireland.
- Irish Forest Stewardship Standard (May 2012)
In the absence of a registered Irish Standard Development Group, Soil Association Certification were tasked with the adaptation of the International Standard for local conditions in Ireland. Second Stakeholder Consultation on a new Irish Standard took place from Friday 8th April - Monday 6th June 2022.
The below final draft has now been submitted to the International Body for review.
- DRAFT FSC Interim National Standard of Republic of Ireland (August 2022) (Pdf)
- DRAFT Principle 9, Annex J: HCV Framework (August 2022) (Pdf)
Both forest certification schemes aim to ensure that:
- The Law is being adhered to
- Health & safety standards are being met
- Good forest management is being practised
- Activity in the forest has no negative impact on existing flora and fauna
- Efforts are being made to increase biodiversity
To check that the above objectives are being met, Auditors will look for verifiable evidence at the time of inspection.
As part of the group certification project, an extensive list of potential documents required for forest certification was identified.
For forest owners verifiable evidence means record keeping.
Some examples of appropriate records are listed below:
Verbal agreements [Not appropriate, as verbal agreements are not verifiable]
Written agreements / contracts
Photographic evidence (where applicable)
Detailed Forest Management Plan (FMP)
Records of 'Monitoring' (e.g. 'forest diary' or record of site visits)
The Forest Management Plan (FMP) should detail planned activities and objectives for the Forest Management Unit (FMU) for the short, medium and long term.