Principle 7 & 8

These two Principles are closely intertwined, covering requirements for management planning and the monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the plan.


Management Planning

A forest management plan is a fundamental component of responsible forest management. It is a process of determining and conveying the vision and specific economic, social, environmental and cultural objectives of a forest area, and the steps involved to achieve those objectives.

Across the world, forests are managed in many ways depending on the vision for the forest, the local conditions and the specific objectives that have been set. This results in varying types of forests and woodland areas suitable for different purposes.

Principle 7 covers the setting of policies and objectives for forest management planning and the development of a management plan that incorporates these to guide staff, inform stakeholders and engage local communities.

The full range of issues covered within the six Criteria under Principle 7 are:

  • Criterion 7.1

    Setting policies and objectives for management, which are environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically viable, and publicising them.

  • Criterion 7.2

    Implementing a management plan consistent with the policies and objectives, that describes the natural resources of the forest area and explains how the plan will meet FSC certification requirements.

  • Criterion 7.3

    Including verifiable targets by which progress towards each management objective can be assessed.

  • Criterion 7.4

    Updating and revising the management plan to incorporate the results of monitoring and evaluation, stakeholder engagement or scientific and technical information, as well as responding to changing environmental, social and economic circumstances.


  • Criterion 7.5

    Making a summary of the management plan publicly available.

  • Criterion 7.6

    7.6 Engaging affected and interested stakeholders in management planning and monitoring processes.

    (For the full text of each Criterion, see the Principles and Criteria.)

Monitoring and Assessment

The monitoring and assessment of elements included in the management plan are addressed under Principle 8, including ensuring that monitoring outcomes are fed back into the planning process to enable adaptive management.  

The full range of issues covered within the five Criteria under Principle 8 are:

Nuthatch, New Forest (c) FSC UK - R. Allen
  • Criterion 8.1

    Monitoring the implementation of management plan, including policies and objectives, its progress with the activities planned, and the achievement of its verifiable targets.

  • Criterion 8.2

    Monitoring and evaluating the environmental and social impacts of the activities in the forest area and changes in its environmental condition.

  • Criterion 8.3

    Analysing the results of monitoring and evaluation and feed the outcomes of this into the planning process.

  • Criterion 8.4

    Making publicly available a summary of the results of monitoring.

  • Criterion 8.5

    Implementing a tracking and tracing system for demonstrating the source and volume of all products from the forest area that are marketed as FSC certified.

    (For the full text of each Criterion, see the Principles and Criteria.)

For FSC Forest Management certificate holders, compliance with these requirements is assessed by independent certification bodies using the set of indicators adapted to national, regional or local conditions in the applicable approved forest stewardship standard.

What does this mean in the UK?

Indicators adapted to the UK context are contained in our national forest stewardship standard, familiar to most forest managers as the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, or UKWAS.

There are requirements set out under Indicator 7.2.1 [UKWAS 2.2.1] (and further detailed in Annex E) on the elements to incorporate in a management plan and which of the FSC Principles & Criteria they pertain to.

Similarly, monitoring requirements are set our under Indicator 8.2.1 [UKWAS 2.15.1(c)], with examples of appropriate aspects to monitor provided in Annex G, for example for environmental impacts, the following aspects are listed:

  • Impacts of operations on priority habitats and species, landscape or water and soils
  • Impacts of non-native invasive species
  • Impacts of grazing and browsing

Certification offers an independent check for woodland managers that they have considered these critical elements within the development of their management plan and that their work programme and planned operations reflect their management objectives. This can be particularly valuable for small woodland owners and community-groups managing woodlands. 

Requirements are set to make sure the owner or manager assesses the actual and potential impacts of management on the condition of the woodland and adapt the plan accordingly:

  • Indicator 7.4.1 The management planning documentation shall be reviewed periodically (at least every ten years), taking into account:
    Monitoring results,
    - Results of certification audits
    - R
    esults of stakeholder engagement
    New research and technical information, and
    -Changed environmental, social, or economic circumstances. [UKWAS 2.2.3]
  • Indicator 8.3.1 The owner/manager shall take monitoring findings into account, particularly during revision of the management planning documentation, and if necessary shall revise management objectives, verifiable targets and/or management activities. [UKWAS 2.15.2]

There are requirements for the organisation to engage with affected stakeholders proactively and transparently in management planning and monitoring processes:

  • Indicator 7.6.1 The owner/manager shall consult appropriately with local people, relevant organisations and other interested parties, and provide opportunities for their engagement in planning and monitoring processes. [UKWAS 2.3.1(c)]
  • Indicator 8.4.1 Monitoring findings, or summaries thereof, shall be made publicly available upon request. [UKWAS 2.15.3]

Monitoring is also required to ensure that certified products can be traced back to the point of sale from the woodland, for example:

  • Indicator 8.5.2 Information about all products sold is compiled and documented, including:
    -Common and scientific species name;
    -Product name or description;
    -Volume (or quantity) of product;
    -Information to trace the material to the source of origin logging block;
    -Logging date;
    -If basic processing activities take place in the forest, the date and volume produced; and
    -Whether or not the material was sold as FSC certified. 

Have your say

Do you have an opinion on what else should be included in the management planning process? Could our standard go further in what it asks in terms of monitoring and evaluation? Should there be other considerations for certain types of woods and forest managers (i.e smallholders)?

If you have any questions or comments about FSC’s forest management requirements in the UK, feel free to get in touch.