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FSC United Kingdom Publishes New Version if its National Forest Stewardship Standard
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
A revised national forest stewardship standard for the UK has just been published, and will be effective for FSC forest management certification from 1 April 2018.
United Kindom national forest stewardship standard
The first FSC forest stewardship standard for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was approved in 1999. Standard development in the UK is unusual in that it is undertaken by an independent not-for-profit company which publishes the standard in a unique user-friendly format as the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). The current revision process to bring the standard in line with version 5-2 of the FSC Principles and Criteria began with evidence gathering in late 2013 and ended with formal approval of the revised standard in December 2017.
United Kingdom forests and plantations
Centuries of forest exploitation reduced UK woodland cover to a mere 5 per cent by 1905. Intensive reforestation efforts since then have increased forest cover to 13 per cent. As a result, a large proportion of UK forests are relatively recent plantations. It is vitally important to ensure that these plantations are well managed, and to protect the remaining areas of older semi-natural woodland. FSC forest management certification is well established, and some 43 per cent of the UK’s forest area is currently covered by FSC forest management certificates.
Developing national standards globally
There are over 80 countries working to transfer their national standards from version 4 of the Principles and Criteria to version 5. Some 10 countries have already finished, or are at the last stages of finishing the process. Of the remaining 70 countries, about 40 have a chamber balanced standard development group, usually supported by an FSC national or regional office. In the other 30 countries, where there is usually no FSC network presence, standards are being developed by certification bodies, resulting in interim national standards.
For information on forest management certification in the UK, including contact details for certification bodies and group scheme managers, visit the FSC UK website.
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