Forest Management Certification

As a forest manager or owner, FSC certification is a way of ensuring that your careful and long-term stewardship is recognised, and tested against nationally and internationally agreed standards of responsible forest management. FSC certification can improve market access, demonstrate to investors and stakeholders that management practices meet objectives for responsible forest management, and provide evidence to customers that products are sourced from well-managed forests. It allows you to apply FSC labels to your products and make FSC claims in your sales documents (thereby maintaining the chain of custody for FSC-certified products).

Wyre forest (c) FSC UK/C. Miller
FSC UK/C. Miller
The FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard of the United Kingdom (FSC-STD-GBR-03-2017 V1-0)
PDF, Size: 1.34MB

FSC forest management certification in the UK

All FSC forest management is based on the FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship and underpinned by the International Generic Indicators.

The formal basis for FSC forest management (FM) certification in the UK is the national forest stewardship standard FSC-STD-GBR-03-2017 V1-0. This presents FM requirements in the context of FSC’s international Principles and Criteria. Most forest managers are more familiar with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). This has a different, more user-friendly format, and omits the wording of the Principles and Criteria, but contains the same FM requirements. UKWAS was developed as a voluntary forestry standard in consultation with major social, environmental and forestry organisations in the UK. UKWAS does not provide a product label or chain of custody certification by itself but it has been designed to fit into other labelling systems such as FSC.

FSC Forest Management: What is it? And next steps

FSC forest management certification - what it is, why you might want it and how you can get it - summed up in less than 2 minutes.

Bluebells (c) FSC UK

Group certification

Group forest management certification has been developed to help owners and managers of woodlands - especially of smaller woodlands - to achieve FSC certification by reducing costs. FSC places no restriction on the size of the forests managed by the group scheme members, nor on the type of land ownership (including public, private or community owned). However, each group must establish rules setting out who can become a member of the group, and of course it is also necessary to meet the requirements of the applicable Forest Stewardship Standard.


Shoot in leaves (c) FSC UK_P Croucher

Small woods and low-intensity management

Groups of small or low intensity managed forests (SLIMFs) benefit from streamlined auditing procedures designed to reduce the costs of certification. In the UK, the threshold for small forests has been set at 500 hectares. The intensity of management is assessed in terms of rate at which timber is harvested. 

Steps to certification


Get quotes

Contact FSC-accredited certification bodies and/or group schemes to request quotes.


Choose a certification body (or group scheme)

Submit a certification application to the FSC-accredited certification body or group scheme of your choice.


Get ready

Ensure that an appropriate FM/CoC management system is in place, in line with the requirements
of FSC-STD-GBR-03-2017.


Get audited

Undergo an audit by your chosen certification body or chosen group scheme.


And go!

Upon completion of a successful audit, you will be given an FSC certificate and your certificate details will be added to the FSC certificate database. You will be issued with an FSC certification code (XXX-FM/COC-000000) and a trademark licence code (FSC-C000000).

If the audit reveals that your operation is not yet in full compliance with FSC requirements, then after you have implemented the changes suggested in the certification report, you can go for a further audit.