The Center for Forest and Wood certification is committed to sustainable forest management and offers education and technical assistance for woodland and forest owners of all sizes through the Forest Management Section. The primary method of this assistance is the securing group Forest Stewardship Council® and American Tree Farm System® Independently Managed Group certificates. These show commitment of the Center and woodland owner members to the standards of the American Forest Foundations (American Tree Farm System ATFS) Standards of Sustainability and the Forest Stewardship Council's Principles and Criteria. More broadly the Center’s maintenance of the group certificates indicates commitment to the values of the systems (1). Typically the Center dual certifies woodland owners in ATFS and FSC unless the woodland owner chooses not to, the fee structure is the same whether single or dual certification is requested. These certificates allow woodland owners to get their lands certified in a group at a lower rate than getting an individual certificate. The Center can provide any support or assistance to any woodland owner's certification needs even if they do not want to be on the Center's certificates.

Logo leafForest Management Section Administrator

For any questions related to forest management certification please contact the Forest Section Administrator, Eric Gracey.

Eric Gracey
213 T.P. Cooper Bldg.
Lexington, KY 40546-0073
Toll-free: (855) 579-2690
Email: Eric Gracey,

Logo leafHow do I get my woods certified?

  1. Find or work with your Cooperating Forester to review you management plan and ownership goals to see if they coincide with certification
  2. Submit application to the Forest Section Administrator
  3. Center assessors will review your management plan and work to schedule an on site visit to review your woodland
  4. On site visit takes place with Cooperating Forester and, if available, potential group member
  5. Center assessor will make a certification decision and barring no critical observations your woodlands will be included in the Center's group certificates
  6. Group member can now make claims of forest certification and sell certified forest products once fees are paid

Logo leafGroup Member Types

In order for an individual or organization to enroll their lands into the Center's Forest Management group certificate they must undergo an initial assessment to determine whether their forest management plan and operations meet the approved standards of the Center. The current potential group members are detailed below. During the initial assessment stakeholder comments are solicited.

Family Forest Woodland Owners

Based upon the size (< 2,470 acres) and scale of the operations most of the contact information for family forest landowners is kept confidential.  

Large Family Forests

Large family forests are larger than the maximum size (2,470 acres) to maintain the stated certification standard with family forest exceptions.

Small Industrial Forests

Small industrial forests are less than 2,470 but are owned by an organization or an affiliated organization that grows timber for its primary business operations.

Large Industrial Forests

Large industrial forests have total ownership acreage greater than 2,470 acres and are owned by an organization or an affiliated organization that grows timber for its primary business operations.

Public Forests

Public forests are lands owned by state, county, municipality, and university agencies. These organizations are held to a higher standard in terms of public involvement at all levels of certification. Public consultation during the management planning process is extremely important and emphasized. Currently the Center is not permitted to certify US Forest Service land by the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Logo leafCosts

There are two sets of costs involved with getting certified through the Center's group certificates. One is the cost to get or update a management plan or inventory to meet the certification standards. If you have a previous management plan or inventory the costs will be considerably less to meet the standards of the approved certification schemes. By involving one of the Center's Cooperating Foresters (either on your staff or privately hired) as soon as possible in the planning stage you will be able to get an accurate estimate of time and cost to meet the certification requirements. The Center cannot estimate potential group members costs and is not involved in any price negotiations between group members and Cooperating Foresters. Group members are free to choose their own Cooperating Foresters.

The second costs are paid to the Center and are based upon the type of woodlands you own. These fees help the Center defer the costs of maintaining the group certificate. Initial fees are a one time fee paid to the Center to conduct your initial assessment and bring your woodlands in to the Center's group certificate.  Annual fees are due by January 31st of each year and must be paid to maintain group membership. If you are randomly selected by the group for additional assessment there is no cost to the group member.

Family Forest Group Members
Size (ac)Initial Fee*Annual Fee
20 - 500$50$40
501 - 1,000$100$50
1,001 - 2,470$200$75

 *Includes first year's annual fee

Large, Industrial, and Public Group Members
Size (ac)Initial FeeAnnual Fee
All Sizes12.9 cents/acre prorated; plus $250 per day on the ground assessment, travel expenses, and state RTE database search fees12.9 cents/acre

Initial fees for large, industrial, and public group members are 12.9 cents per acre prorated for the remainder of the year and $250 per day of on the ground assessment plus travel expenses and costs of rare, threatened, and endangered species state database searches. The Center can give a more accurate estimate of initial fees during initial scoping consultations. Time on the ground will be based upon the requirements of the audit and the size, scale, and intensity of the forest operation. Assessments generally last between two and five days. Travel expenses will include travel, hotel, and meals for the assessor. The Center will attempt to keep costs low as possible by staying in modest accommodations and using the most economic travel methods. Costs for inspecting state databases for rare , threatened, or endangered species varying from state to state. There are no additional fees for future audits.

(1) The Forest Stewardship Council’s mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests and their vision is that the current needs for forest products can be met without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations. American Forest Foundation values that all Americans have a stake in the future of our nation’s forests, including family-owned forests; forest owners are stewards of vital resources that provide value to their communities, the nation, and the world; and their success depends on the passion of volunteers and the capacity of local, state and national partners who share their goals. Likewise, the American Forest Foundation shares responsibility for assuring that partners have the resources they need to succeed in helping family forest owners in forest stewardship.