What is a SLIMF?
© FSC UKSLIMF stands for Small or Low-Intensity Managed Forest.
There are international thresholds for SLIMF, but FSC also allows these thresholds to be adjusted at the national level. In the UK, for the purposes of defining SLIMF, a forest is considered ‘small’ if it is 500 hectares or smaller in size. It is considered to be managed at a ‘low intensity’ if:
a) the rate of timber harvesting is less than 20% of the mean annual increment (MAI) within the total production woodland area
b) the annual harvest from the total production woodland area is less than 5,000 cubic metres
c) the average annual timber harvest from the total production woodland is less than 5,000 cubic metres per year during the period of validity of the certificate, as verified by harvest reports and surveillance audits.
Note that the 500 hectare size threshold for SLIMF has more to do with a low perceived risk of non-conformance with standards than with what is a genuinely small wood in the UK context.
How do SLIMFs benefit within the FSC system?
SLIMF owners/managers benefit from streamlined certification procedures affecting both the initial certification assessment and annual monitoring. This reduced intensity of auditing should lead to lower costs.
In addition, SLIMF owners/managers might not need the same level of documentation or management systems as managers of larger or more intensively managed woodland areas.
How should I seek certification for a SLIMF?
There are two options:
1. Through a group scheme. Certification within a group scheme has the potential to lower costs and certification requirements. Please note that we recommend that you contact more than one group scheme as prices and the terms of group membership vary.
2. Through a certification body. Please note that we recommend that you contact more than one certification body, as prices vary.
Whichever route you choose, and whatever the size of your woodland or intensity of your management, you will need to meet the requirements of the UK National Forest Stewardship Standard, familiar to most forest managers as UKWAS.