The Center for Forest and Wood Certification is certification system neutral. The Center was not designed to prefer one certification system over another. The Center was created to assist those individuals and organizations that have made the decision to become certified get certified easier by providing information and technical assistance regardless of which system they prefer. There are currently three main certification systems being applied in the Central Hardwood and Southern Appalachians region. These three systems are described below.
Forest Stewardship Council®
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is a globally recognized, independent, non-profit organization established in 1993 in response to global deforestation particularly in the tropical rain forests. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, FSC has established of 10 Principles and many Criteria for all forests worldwide wanting to become certified. These Principles and Criteria were developed with input from professional foresters, forest product companies, environmental groups, timber companies, community development organizations, indigenous groups, and forestry stakeholders. FSC-United States has developed national indicators for the country along with specific regional indicators for streamside management zones and harvest opening sizes. FSC-US has recently developed indicators with specific provisions for family forest ownerships. Please visit the FCS-US or FSC international websites for more information.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative®
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) was launched by the American Forest and Paper Association in 1994 and is the largest certification standard in the world. SFI formally separated and became independent from the American Forest and Paper Association in 2007 as a separate nonprofit group. SFI only certifies land in Canada and the United States. The SFI Board of Directors is separated into three equal chambers: economic, environmental, and social. The current SFI 2010-2014 Standard is based on principles and measures that promote sustainable forest management and considers all forest values. Please visit the SFI website for more information.
American Tree Farm System®
The American Tree Farm System's (ATFS) missions is to promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting the environment and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry. American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation (AFF). AFF is committed to sustaining forests, watersheds, and healthy habitats through the power of private stewardship. Since 1941, ATFS has educated and recognized the commitment of private family forest owners in the United State. ATFS has established standards and guidlines for property owners to meet to become a Certified Tree Farm. ATFS is administered by the American Forest Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization that strives to ensure the sustainability of America's family forests for present and future generations. The organization's vision is to create a future where North American forests are sustained by the public which understands and values the social, economic, and environmental benefits they provide to our communities, our nation, and the world. Please visit the ATFS website for more information.
Approved Center Certification Systems
The managing partners of the Center for Forest and Wood Certification have directed their staff to secure group certificates in specific certification systems. They are detailed and discussed below.
- The approved Forest Management (FM) standards for the Center for Forest and Wood Certification are the Forest Stewardship Council and American Tree Farm System standards. In the Center's service area there is current demand for FSC. Sustainable Forestry Initiative material is currently not in demand. As soon as the market demand indicates that there is willingness to procure and source SFI material, the Center will potentially get an SFI FM group certificate. ATFS material is in slight demand and an Independently Managed Group certificate is easy to obtain along with an FSC certificate. SFI and ATFS also have a reciprocity agreement stating that any material procured by a certified SFI chain-of-custody mill can label and sell it as SFI. The Center and it's group members have a long-term committment to the FSC standards.
- The approved Chain-of-Custody (CoC) standards for the Center for Forest and Wood Certification are the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC material is already in demand in the region and SFI CoC certificate holders can procure ATFS material and sell and market it as from SFI. ATFS does not have a CoC standard based upon their reciprocity agreement with SFI.