A revised national forest stewardship standard for the UK is now publicly available from the FSC UK and FSC International websites.
© FSC Germany/Christian BeuterThe standard was conditionally approved by FSC’s Policy and Standards Committee in April 2017. The approval conditions were closed in December 2017, and the standard has now been published following agreement on its effective date; the standard will become effective for FSC forest management certification in the UK on 1 April 2018.
"It’s wonderful to reach this milestone," says FSC UK Executive Director Rosie Teasdale, "and testament to the constructive attitude and energy of all involved both in the UK and in FSC International."
The approved UK national forest stewardship standard sets requirements for UK forest management in the context of FSC’s international Principles and Criteria. The standard is familiar to most forest managers as the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, or UKWAS, which presents the same requirements as the FSC Principles and Criteria ordered version in a more user-friendly format.
"UK forest management certificate holders need to be aware that the Principles and Criteria ordered version of the national standard is the formal basis for auditing and decision making, and in case of any dispute that version will be considered definitive," notes Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies. "But certificate holders are free to use the UKWAS version day to day and in their discussions with auditors. The standard was written with the UKWAS format in mind, which is great news in terms of the usability of the UKWAS version, but does unfortunately mean that it’s not the easiest read when presented in Principles and Criteria order!"
UKWAS is unusual in that it is used as the national forest standard by both FSC and PEFC. The PEFC endorsement process is still ongoing, but the standard is expected to become effective for both schemes at the same time. At that point, the UKWAS website will be relaunched with the new version of the standard, UKWAS 4. In the meantime, the final draft approved by FSC can be accessed via the current UKWAS documents page.
Current and potential FSC forest management certificate holders in the UK can learn more about the relationship between the FSC and UKWAS versions of the national standard in the FSC UK factsheet Forest Management Standards in the UK. They can also read about the process of transitioning to the new standard, along with a summary of some of the main changes to the standard requirements, in the factsheet Moving to the New FSC Forest Stewardship Standard.
If you have any specific questions about the new standard, please contact Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.