Forest certification has developed in response to public concerns about forest health and sustainability. Certification can help protect forests through promotion of responsible forestry practices that are certified through an independent third-party.

Forests are important for many reasons, including:

  • oxygen production
  • carbon dioxide fixing
  • climate regulation
  • air and water purification
  • erosion protection for soil
  • production of fuel, food, shelter, wood products
  • recreation
  • habitat for millions of species

Certification Systems
Various forest certification systems have been developed including:

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
www.fsc.org/fsc (head office)
fscccanada.org (Canada)
fsccanada.org/maritimes (Maritimes)
FSC is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1993. All types of forest ownership around the world use FSC certification.

Canada Standards Association (CSA)
www.csa-international.org (CSA web site)
www.sfms.com (application of CSA forestry standards)
CSA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization, which initiated the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Project in June 1994. Generally used by industrial companies, it includes provisions for small, private landowners.

American Tree Farm System (ATFS)
ATFS is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization. It was established in 1941 in response to concerns that America's private forests were being cut at unsustainable rates without reforestation. It is used for private, non-industrial forests.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
The SFI program, developed in 1994, is a project of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), an industry trade association. Industrial forests in Canada and the United States are its primary focus.

Smartwood, initiated in 1989, is a program of the Rainforest Alliance, an international, non-profit environmental group based in New York City. It works with all forest types and operations worldwide.

International Standard Organization (ISO)
ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from 145 countries. They work in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry, business and consumer representatives. ISO’s work results in international agreements that are published as International Standards. Auditing and certification are carried out independently of ISO by certification bodies under their own responsibility.

Comparative Analysis of the Forest Stewardship Council & Sustainable Forestry Initiatve Programs
- Meridian Institute

Compare Forest Certification Systems


Forest Certification in North America - Publication
- Online

Certification Canada
613-563-1441 ext 310
Canadian Sustainable Forestry Certification Coalition

Forest Certification Watch
1-stop information source for global forest certification developments

Forest Certification a Growing Consumer Movement
- CBC Marketplace TV Clip