2.1 Long-term policy and objectives



a) The owner/manager shall have a long-term policy and management objectives which are environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically viable.

b) The policy and objectives, or summaries thereof, shall be proactively communicated to workers consistent with their roles and responsibilities.

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The long-term policy should articulate the overall vision for woodland management. Management objectives should set out tangible, shorter-term steps towards achieving that vision.

The owner/manager should be aware that long-term forest resilience will underpin environmental, social and economic objectives.

Economic viability need not be based on, or solely on, the sale of products from woodland. Income from other sources, such as membership subscriptions, government funding or private investment, may be sufficient to achieve the policy and objectives of management.

The level of detail required in the policy and objectives should be proportionate to the scale and intensity of management. While a formal, written policy and detailed objectives may be appropriate for a large organisation, it may be appropriate for the owner of a small woodland managed at a low intensity to be able to communicate their vision and some simple objectives verbally.

Workers should be aware of the policy and objectives to the extent necessary for them to contribute to achieving the aims of management; they should understand how their actions might have positive or negative effects on meeting those aims.

Means of communicating the policy and objectives to workers should always be proportionate to the extent of their influence on the outcomes of management, and might range from detailed notes or staff meetings to a simple verbal briefing. Where contractors are used, the emphasis should be on ensuring that those responsible for supervising them are appropriately briefed and can instruct them accordingly.

  • Discussion with the owner/manager and workers
  • Management planning documentation
  • Toolbox talks.


Woodland management planning shall take fully into account the long-term positive and negative economic, environmental and social impacts of proposed operations, including potential impacts outside the WMU.

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Management planning should be proportionate to the scale and intensity of woodland management, and to the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of management activities.

  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Management planning documentation.


a) Woodland management planning shall demonstrate a commitment to long-term economic viability.

b) The owner/manager shall aim to secure the necessary investment to implement the management plan in order to meet this standard and to ensure long-term economic viability.

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Management planning should be proportionate to the scale and intensity of woodland management.

Management planning should show how the stated policy and objectives of management can be achieved and sustained economically in the long term, for example from future timber production or other sources of income. Detailed projections are not required but there should be evidence that the longer-term resourcing of essential forest operations has been considered. For example, management planning documentation may show how silvicultural systems, species choice and tree densities and other woodland management are designed to achieve long-term economic viability.

  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Management planning documentation
  • Financial records relating to the woodland resource
  • Budget forecasting, expenditure and potential sources of funding.

2.2 Documentation



All areas in the WMU shall be covered by management planning documentation which shall be retained for at least ten years and shall incorporate:

a) A long-term policy for the woodland.

b) Assessment of relevant components of the woodland resource, including potential products and services which are consistent with the management objectives.

c) Assessment of environmental values, including those outside the WMU potentially affected by management, sufficient to determine appropriate conservation measures and to provide a baseline for detecting possible negative impacts.

d) Identification of special characteristics and sensitivities of the woodland and appropriate treatments.

e) Specific measures to maintain and where possible enhance those areas identified under sections 4.1-4.5 and 4.8, considering areas where either the extent of these areas or their sensitivity to operations may be unknown.

f) Identification of community and social needs and sensitivities.

g) Prioritised objectives, with verifiable targets to measure progress.

h) Rationale for management prescriptions.

i) Outline planned felling and regeneration over the next 20 years.

j) Where applicable, annual allowable harvest of non-timber woodland products (NTWPs).

k) Rationale for the operational techniques to be used.

l) Plans for implementation, first five years in detail.

m) Appropriate maps.

n) Plans to monitor at least those elements identified under section 2.15.1 against the objectives.

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The subsequent sections of this standard provide additional guidance and information on how to meet this requirement.

There should be a link between features and sensitivities identified in (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) and the setting of management objectives. Equally, monitoring should be linked to potential positive and negative impacts of management on these features and sensitivities and to the delivery of management objectives.

The documentation and level of detail associated with the planning process should be appropriate to scale, intensity and risk.

The documentation might include:

  • For low-intensity managed woodlands: a brief statement of intent and an annotated map
  • For other woodlands: a plan covering a 20-year period and incorporating an assessment at the landscape level
  • For a WMU consisting of multiple areas: an overarching plan.

The management planning documentation should cover all elements of the requirement but may refer to other documents as appropriate; these may include:

  • A fire plan
  • A deer management plan
  • An integrated pest management strategy
  • A research policy
  • Project plans
  • Necessary permissions from applicable regulatory and licensing authorities.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Appropriate maps and records.


While respecting the confidentiality of information, the owner/manager shall, upon request, make publicly available either:

  • Management planning documentation, or
  • A summary of the management planning documentation.
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This requirement deliberately gives the owner/manager discretion as to how they make management planning documentation available to allow for situations where they are happy to provide documentation in full and where producing a summary may be an unnecessary administrative burden. This may often be the case for owners/managers of smaller woodlands or woodlands managed at a low intensity. However, owners/managers of woodlands with lengthy, complex management planning documentation should note that a summary may be more useful for non-specialist stakeholders.

Owners/managers may demonstrate that they are receptive for requests to make documentation available by providing details of a public contact point, for example in the form of a dedicated e-mail address.

Examples of confidential information include data and content:

  • Related to investment decisions
  • About intellectual property rights
  • Which is client-confidential
  • Which is, by law, confidential
  • Whose dissemination could put at risk the protection of wildlife species and habitats
  • About sites which are of special cultural and historical importance to local people, where they have requested confidentiality.
  • Evidence of fulfilling requests for management planning documentation or summaries
  • A public contact point
  • Summary management planning documentation.


The management planning documentation shall be reviewed periodically (at least every ten years), taking into account:

  • Monitoring results
  • Results of certification audits
  • Results of stakeholder engagement
  • New research and technical information, and
  • Changed environmental, social, or economic circumstances.
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Examples of changed circumstances include:

  • Major windthrow
  • Pest or disease outbreaks
  • Changes in markets.
  • Management planning documentation.

2.3 Consultation and co-operation



a) Local people, relevant organisations and interested parties shall be identified and made aware that:

  • New or revised management planning documentation, as specified under section 2.2.1, is being produced
  • High impact operations are planned
  • The woodland is being evaluated for certification.

b) The owner/manager shall ensure that there is full co-operation with the relevant forestry authority’s consultation processes.

c) The owner/manager shall consult appropriately with local people, relevant organisations and other interested parties, and provide opportunities for their engagement in planning and monitoring processes.

d) Methods of consultation and engagement shall be designed to ensure that local people, relevant organisations and other interested parties have reasonable opportunities to participate equitably and without discrimination.

e) The owner/manager shall respond to issues raised or requests for ongoing dialogue and engagement and shall demonstrate how the results of the consultation including community and social impacts have been taken into account in management planning and operations.

f) At least 30 days shall be allowed for people to respond to notices, letters or meetings before certification.

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The owner should be able to justify the frequency and level of consultation and the certification body will look for corroborating evidence. Examples of methods for identifying and making local people and relevant organisations aware include:

  • Statutory consultations by the relevant forestry authority or voluntary consultation with statutory bodies
  • Letters to individuals or groups
  • Temporary or permanent signs in or near the affected woodland
  • Information in local newspapers or other publications
  • Meetings and dialogue
  • Internet
  • Consultation with the relevant archaeology service.

Consultation and engagement with local people should be sufficient to identify:

  • their permissive or traditional uses of the woodland
  • sites or features of special cultural or historical significance.

For social and economic issues, include those who derive their income from the forest or are dependent on the supply of forest products such as forest workers, hauliers and timber processors.

For access issues, owners/managers should seek to identify and consult local representative groups or bodies which can represent users, including the statutory Local Access Forum where relevant.

For biodiversity issues, owners/ managers should seek to identify and consult local representative groups or bodies which can represent biodiversity interests, including the Local Biodiversity Partnership (or equivalent) where relevant.

Consultation and engagement should be appropriate to the scale and intensity of woodland management and to the risk of potential impacts on the interests of stakeholders. For smaller woodlands, engagement may be informal and largely verbal. For larger woodlands with many potentially affected local people, it may be more appropriate to engage with representatives of local communities rather than with individuals.

Whether an operation is high impact depends very much on circumstances and must be assessed on a case by case basis. A proportionate, risk-based assessment of social impacts might be carried out in a similar way to the assessment of environmental impacts required in section 2.5. The owner/manager should be able to demonstrate that they have considered how many interests will be affected, to what degree and over what timescale.

See also section 4.8.1 which covers sites and features of special cultural or historical significance and section 5.1.1 which covers permissive or traditional uses.

  • Consultation with the relevant forestry authority
  • Evidence that users of the WMU are informed about high impact operations (e.g. signs, letters or other appropriate means).
  • A list of interested parties
  • Established means of proactive communication
  • A public contact point.


a) Where appropriate, contact shall be made with the owners of adjoining woodlands to try to ensure that restructuring of one woodland complements and does not unreasonably compromise the management of adjoining ones.

b) Management of invasive plants and of wild mammals shall be undertaken where relevant in co-operation with statutory bodies and where possible and practicable in co-ordination with neighbours (see also section 2.12.1 in relation to deer).

c) Where appropriate and possible, the owner/manager shall consider opportunities for co-operating with neighbours in landscape-scale conservation initiatives.

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If management cannot maintain populations of wild mammals at a level that ensures they are not causing ecological damage, then sensitive areas – including regeneration sites, coppice coupes and areas with vulnerable flora – should be protected from browsing and other damage.

An example of a wildlife management group might be a Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) control group, in which landowners and managers co-ordinated their control efforts in the context of a landscape-level plan.

  • Awareness of potential problems and verbal description of appropriate action
  • Felling plan
  • Membership of a wildlife management group
  • Where there is a significant problem caused by wildlife, a documented plan (which may take the form of a contract or licence) for control.

2.4 Productive potential of the woodland management unit (WMU)



The owner/manager shall plan and implement measures to maintain and/or enhance long-term soil and hydrological functions.

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Protection of basic ecosystem functions in terms of soils and hydrology is fundamental to sustainable forest management. The owner/manager should refer to relevant guidelines on soils and water.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Field observation.


a) Timber shall normally be harvested from the WMU at or below a level which can be permanently sustained.

b) Selective harvesting shall not be to the long-term detriment of the quality and value of stands.

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Timber harvesting in excess of increment may be justified:

  • During restructuring of even-aged woodlands
  • During habitat management or restoration for biodiversity
  • In response to pests, diseases or storm damage.

Examples of growth and yield estimates include:

  • Average growth rates or yield class for major species on different site types
  • Predictions of thinning and felling yields for different crop types
  • Forecasts of areas to be subject to harvesting operations in future years.

Accuracy of growth and yield estimates should be appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operation.

The resilience of the woodland and different species to climate change should be considered.

In low-intensity managed woodlands, or in woodlands being restructured in areas of high windthrow risk, area rather than volume predictions are acceptable in planning and monitoring.

Timber crops should not be creamed or high graded (b). However, selective harvesting of high quality stems may be entirely appropriate in stands which have been managed to promote regeneration from the most promising individuals, for example.

  • Compartment records
  • Growth and yield estimates
  • Production records or appropriate standing sale volume assessments and reconciliation with estimates
  • Demonstrated control of thinning intensity
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Field observation.


Harvesting of non-timber woodland products (NTWPs) or use of ecosystem services from the WMU shall be at or below a level which can be permanently sustained.

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Non-timber woodland products include foliage, moss, fungi, berries, seed, venison and other animal products.

It is recognised that objective information on sustainable harvesting levels for NTWPs is limited, and also that in the case of venison it may be desirable to harvest at a level that reduces the deer population in the long term. However, in all cases the owner/manager should give careful thought to the annual allowable harvest and should be able to justify harvest levels on the basis of their objectives and best practice.

See also section 2.3.2 in relation to protection from wild mammals, and section 4.9 in relation to game management.

  • Evidence from records and discussion with the owner/manager that quantities harvested are in line with sustainable growth rates and that there are no significant adverse environmental impacts.


Priority species shall not be harvested or controlled without the consent of the relevant statutory nature conservation and countryside agency.

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  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Monitoring records
  • Species inventories.

2.5 Assessment of environmental impacts



a) The impacts of new planting and other woodland plans on environmental values shall be assessed before operations are implemented, in a manner appropriate to the scale of the operations and the sensitivity of the site.

b) The results of the environmental assessments shall be incorporated into planning and implementation in order to avoid, minimise or repair adverse environmental impacts of management activities.

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The owner/manager should be aware of relevant legal requirements for environmental impact assessment.

Depending on scale and sensitivity the assessment of environmental impacts may be:

It may be appropriate to seek specialist advice on the potential impacts of operations, for example in relation to:

  • Priority habitats and species
  • Historic environment sites and landscapes
  • Flood risk and mitigation potential in accordance with local flood risk management plans or strategies.



The impacts of woodland plans shall be considered at a landscape level, taking due account of the interaction with adjoining land and other nearby habitats.

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In particular, planning including layout and design of woodland should take into account the following factors and action should be taken if required:

  • The character of other woodland in the area
  • Needs or impacts of animals (both wild and domestic) which use both woodland and surrounding land
  • Impacts on flora in the woodland and on surrounding land
  • Scale and pattern of open land
  • Habitats which are continuous from inside to outside the woodland (e.g. water courses)
  • Buffering of water courses and water bodies, and connectivity of riparian habitats
  • Woodland margins as transitional habitats
  • Linking open space within the woodland with similar habitats outside
  • The spread of invasive species into or out of the woodland
  • Impacts on natural features (e.g. wetlands, rock exposures, drainage patterns)
  • Catchment level impacts on water flows and flood risk
  • Nature of historic landscapes and relationships between historic environment sites inside and outside the woodland
  • Priority habitats and species.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Maps
  • Discussion with the owner/manager.


a) The owner/manager shall assess the potential negative impacts of natural hazards on the WMU, including drought, floods, wind, fire, invasive plant and animal species, and other pests and diseases.

b) Planting and restructuring plans shall be designed to mitigate the risk of damage from natural hazards.

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Evaluation should consider:

  • Robust planting design
  • Long-term forest resilience
  • Diversity of species, ages and distribution of open ground
  • Flood hazard maps.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager.

2.6 Woodland creation



New woodlands shall be located and designed in ways that will:

  • Deliver economic goods and/or ecosystem services,
  • Maintain or enhance the visual, cultural and ecological value and character of the wider landscape, and
  • Ensure the creation of a diverse woodland over time.
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Economic goods should be understood in the widest sense and may include:

New woodlands should contribute to the conservation of neighbouring semi-natural woodland and other habitats.

Priority habitats and species should be protected and, where possible, enhanced.

Historic environment features should be identified and protected.

The general aim should be to create a woodland that is sufficiently diverse to ensure long-term forest resilience.

A diverse woodland may be achieved through one or more of the following:

  • Use of a diversity of species, clones and provenances
  • Planting mixed stands
  • Variation in site types and growth rates
  • Phased planting
  • Retention of open ground
  • Design and creation of wind firm edges.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Field surveys
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Maps
  • Field observation.

2.7 Woodland restructuring



Even-aged woodlands shall be gradually restructured to achieve an appropriately diverse mosaic of species, sizes, ages, spatial scales, and regeneration cycles. This structural diversity shall be maintained or enhanced.

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Restructuring should be planned and implemented in conformance with good forest design practice.

A greater degree of uniformity may be appropriate in very small woodlands.

In larger even-aged plantations, the age structure may be improved through:

  • Phased felling
  • Prescribing restocking, which will provide options for further diversification and reduction in coupe size at the end of the next rotation
  • Designing future coupes with windfirm edges.

Smaller coupe sizes should be favoured for economic, environmental and social reasons.

Site factors favouring larger coupe sizes might include:

  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Maps
  • Field observation.

2.8 Tree species selection



a) The range of species selected for new woodlands, and natural or artificial regeneration of existing woodlands shall be suited to the site and shall take into consideration:

  • Improvement of long-term forest resilience
  • Management objectives
  • Requirements for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity (see section 4)
  • Requirements for enhancement and restoration of habitats (see section 4)
  • Landscape character.

b) Regeneration (natural or planted) shall restore stand composition in a timely manner to pre-harvesting or more natural conditions.

c) Native species shall be preferred to non-native. If non-native species are used it shall be shown that they will clearly outperform native species in meeting the owner’s objectives or in achieving long-term forest resilience.

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As a general princile, management should at least maintain and where possible enhance species diversity of the woodland.

Larger WMUs will generally present more opportunities for species diversification.

In semi-natural woodlands, regeneration should restore the pre-harvesting stand composition or should create a greater range of species and structural variation appropriate to the woodland type. In ancient semi-natural woodland, regeneration should be in accordance with section 4.2.1. In other semi-natural woodland, regeneration should be in accordance with section 4.4.1.

In plantations on ancient woodland sites, regeneration should be in accordance with section 4.3.1.

Owners/managers should also be aware of the guidelines on species proportions and open ground in the UK Forestry Standard.

Results of research into site suitability of different species’ origins and provenances and their resilience to climate change should be used to assist species choice.  Because of the uncertain effects of climate change, selecting a range of genotypes may be prudent.

Soil analyses and use of Forest Research’s Ecological Site Classification (ESC) tool may be helpful when considering economic and ecological resilience to climate change. It may also be appropriate to consider specialist advice for semi-natural woodlands, especially ancient semi-natural woodlands.

See also section 2.9.1 in relation to non-native species and section 4.7.1 in relation to natural regeneration and planting stock in semi-natural woodland and plantations on ancient woodland sites.

  • Discussion with the owner/manager demonstrates that consideration has been given to a range of species, including native species
  • Evidence of Ecological Site Classification analysis
  • Management planning documentation
  • Field observation.

2.9 Non-native species



a) Non-native tree species shall only be introduced to the WMU when evidence or experience shows that any invasive impacts can be controlled effectively.

b) Other non-native plant and animal species shall only be introduced if they are non-invasive and bring environmental benefits.

c) All new introductions shall be carefully monitored, and effective mitigation measures shall be implemented to control negative impacts outside the area in which they are established.

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Introductions refer to species not currently present in WMU.

The requirement includes the re-introduction of once-native animals not currently present within the United Kingdom.

Owners/managers should be aware that introduced species may exhibit differing degrees of invasiveness in different habitats or parts of the country.

Use of non-native biological control agents such as Rhizophagus grandis may be desirable to control non-native pests.

Game species may be introduced if managed in accordance with section 4.9.

  • Documented impact assessment of any introductions made after the first certification
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Field observation.

2.10 Silvicultural systems



a) Appropriate silvicultural systems shall be adopted which are suited to species, sites, wind risk, tree health risks and management objectives and which stipulate soundly-based planting, establishment, thinning, felling and regeneration

b) Where species, sites, wind risk, tree health risk and management objectives allow, a range of silvicultural approaches, and in particular lower-impact silvicultural systems, shall be adopted with the aim of diversifying ages, species and stand structures.

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The choice of silvicultural system should take into account:

  • Long-term forest resilience
  • Silvicultural characteristics of the species
  • Management objectives
  • Site limitations including potential growth rates and wind firmness
  • Intended stem size and quality
  • Current and future markets for timber products
  • Impacts on the landscape and wildlife
  • Age-structure and felling plan of nearby woodlands
  • Ecological processes and natural disturbance regime for that woodland type
  • Historical management practices
  • Views of local people.

Use of lower-impact silvicultural systems may not be appropriate where there is evidence that clearfelling is necessary for the conservation of priority habitats or species.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Field observation.


a) In semi-natural woodland, lower-impact silvicultural systems shall be adopted. All felling shall be in accordance with the specific guidance for that type of woodland in the relevant Forestry Commission Practice Guide.

b) In semi-natural woodlands over 10 ha, no more than 10% shall be felled in any five-year period unless justified in terms of biodiversity enhancement or lower impact.

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For areas with priority habitats and species, consider consulting with relevant species and habitat experts in statutory nature conservation and countryside agencies or NGOs.

There may be practical or biodiversity enhancement reasons for clearfelling in some semi-natural woodlands, but owners/managers should be aware that best practice guidance for semi-natural woodlands managed as high forest generally advises small coupe fellings which, depending on the type of woodland, may be up to around 2 ha in size.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Field observation.

2.11 Conservation



a) Management planning shall identify a minimum of 15% of the WMU where management for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity is the primary objective.

b) This shall include conservation areas and features identified in the following sections:

Long-term retentions and/or areas managed under lower-impact silvicultural systems (LISS) (section 4.6.2).

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Where areas and features identified in (b) comprise less than 15% of the WMU, additional areas should be identified.

The balance of areas managed with conservation and enhancement of biodiversity as a major objective may include:

  • Natural reserves
  • Long-term retentions
  • Riparian zones integral to the WMU
  • Lower-impact silvicultural systems
  • Existing open habitats integral to the WMU.

In larger and more dispersed woodland management units, this requirement may be fulfilled across the WMU as a whole rather than reserving specified areas in each and every wood.

Aim for a balance between the dispersal of sites across the WMU and a concentration of sites in important locations with benefits for conservation and/or enhancement of biodiversity.

The conservation areas and features identified under (b) may fall into more than one category but can only be counted once towards the 15% of the WMU managed with conservation and enhancement of biodiversity as the major objective.

  • Management planning documentation including maps
  • Field observation.


a) Management strategies and actions shall be developed to maintain and, where possible, enhance the areas and features of high conservation value identified in the following sections:

b) Management strategies and actions shall be developed in consultation with statutory bodies, interested parties and experts.

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Areas and features of high conservation value may not always be well mapped. The owner/manager should therefore consider the need for specialist surveys to confirm the presence of areas and features of high conservation value in order to apply the precautionary approach when developing management strategies and actions.

  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Specialist surveys.

2.12 Protection



Management of wild deer shall be based on a strategy that identifies the management objectives, and aims to regulate the impact of deer.

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For larger organisations and WMUs, the strategy should be in writing.

This requirement may involve the setting of cull targets and should involve the membership of a Deer Management Group where appropriate.

  • Awareness of potential problems
  • Awareness of actual damage
  • Description of appropriate action in the management planning documentation
  • Membership of a deer management group
  • Evidence of cull targets and achievements
  • Where there is a significant problem caused by deer, a documented plan for control; this may take the form of a contract or licence.


There shall be an emergency response plan appropriate to the level of risk.

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Incidents may include:

  • Fire
  • Extreme weather events
  • Outbreaks of pests, diseases or invasive species
  • Accidents
  • Chemical spills and other pollution.

Where appropriate, plans may be as simple as a reference card, but as a minimum should include:

  • Responsibilities for action
  • Contact details
  • Emergency procedures.

Plans should take into account FISA best practice guidance and issues such as the remoteness of some WMUs, which may affect both communication and the ability of emergency services to reach sites in a timely manner.

  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Emergency response plans
  • In sites with high risk of fire, evidence of contact with the fire and rescue service and that their advice has been taken into consideration.

2.13 Conversion



a) Woodland identified in sections 4.1-4.3 shall not be converted to plantation or non-forested land.

b) Areas converted from ancient semi-natural and other semi-natural woodlands after 1994 shall not normally qualify for certification.

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Certification of converted ancient and other semi-natural woodlands may be allowed in circumstances where sufficient evidence is submitted to the certification body that the owner/manager is not responsible directly or indirectly for such conversion.

Woodland removal to facilitate infrastructure or built development which is not integral to the management of the rest of the woodland cannot meet this requirement.

  • No evidence of conversion
  • Field observation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Management planning documentation.


a) Conversion to non-forested land shall take place only in certain limited circumstances as set out in this requirement.

b) The new land use shall be more valuable than any type of practicably achievable woodland cover in terms of its biodiversity, landscape or historic environment benefits, and all of the following conditions shall be met:

  • The woodland is not identified as of high conservation value in sections 4.1-4.3 and 4.5, nor identified as contributing to the cultural and historical values in section 4.8
  • There is no evidence of unresolved substantial dispute
  • The conversion and subsequent site management protect and substantially enhance at least one of the following:
    • The status and condition of priority habitats and species
    • Important landscape features and character
    • Important historic environment features and character
    • Important carbon stores
  • The subsequent management of the converted area shall be integrated with the rest of the WMU.
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Conversion to non-forested land should be planned and implemented in accordance with the UKFS guidelines on biodiversity, landscape and historic environment.

A transition plan should set out as a minimum the justification for conversion and a strategy for implementation, subsequent management and monitoring.

Under current regulations an environmental impact assessment may be required before such conversions are implemented.

Planning consent or an approved Environmental Statement can provide sufficient evidence that there is no unresolved substantial dispute.

Deforestation to facilitate infrastructure or built development which is not integral to the management of the rest of the woodland cannot meet this requirement.

See also section 4.4.2 in relation to restoration of small-scale habitats within a woodland matrix.

Advice to owners/managers

Only timber felled in accordance with this requirement can be certified.

Owners/managers are advised to seek guidance from their certification body or group scheme manager.



a) Woodland areas shall be converted to areas used solely for Christmas tree production only where conversion is consistent with other requirements of this certification standard, including the need to leave open space, and in accordance with any approved management plan from the relevant forestry authority, or when clearance is required for non-forestry reasons such as a wayleave agreement.

b) Christmas trees shall be grown using traditional, non-intensive techniques.

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The requirement restricting conversion relates to use for growing Christmas trees of less than 4 metres in height.

The chemicals regime for Christmas trees must meet all the requirements of section 3.4.

Examples of Christmas trees which may be covered by a certificate are:

  • Trees (<4 m in height) grown on areas within the woodland matrix used solely for Christmas tree production
  • Trees (<4 m in height) grown on areas used solely for Christmas tree production which, although outwith the woodland, form part of the woodland management unit
  • Thinnings from forest tree crops
  • Tops from harvested forest tree crops
  • Trees grown by interplanting of forest tree crops
  • Mature trees (>4 m height)
  • Trees which have regenerated onto, and have been harvested from, adjacent open land in the interest of maintaining its biodiversity or landscape value, and provided that the adjacent area is managed as part of the woodland management unit.

Christmas trees grown as a horticultural or nursery crop are outside the scope of this certification standard.

  • Field observation
  • Management records.

2.14 Implementation, amendment and revision of the plan



The implementation of the work programme shall be in close agreement with the details included in the management planning documentation. Any deviation from prescription or planned rate of progress shall be justified, overall objectives shall still be achieved and the ecological integrity of the woodland maintained.

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Changes in planned timing of operations should be such that they do not jeopardise the ecological integrity of the woodland in the long term.

Changes in planned timing may be justified on economic grounds if overall management practices continue to conform to the other requirements of this certification standard.

Catastrophic events such as wind damage or pest and disease outbreaks may necessitate amendment of the work programme and management planning documentation.

See also section 2.10.1 in relation to thinning, felling and regeneration plans.

  • Cross-correlation between the management planning documentation, annual work programmes and operations seen on the ground
  • Owner’s/manager’s familiarity with the management planning documentation and woodland
  • Documentation or owner’s/manager’s explanation of any deviation.

2.15 Monitoring



a) The owner/manager shall devise and implement a monitoring programme appropriate to the scale and intensity of management.

b) The monitoring programme shall be:

  • Part of the management planning documentation
  • Consistent and replicable over time to allow comparison of results and assessment of change
  • Kept in a form that ensures that results are of use over the long term.

c) The owner/manager shall where applicable monitor and record:

  • The implementation of policies and objectives and the achievement of verifiable targets
  • Implementation of woodland operations
  • Harvesting yields
  • Social impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • Changes in environmental condition
  • Usage of pesticides, biological control agents and fertilisers and any adverse impacts
  • Environmentally appropriate disposal of waste materials.

d) Monitoring targets shall fully consider any special features of the WMU.

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The primary purpose of monitoring is to help the owner/manager to implement and adapt the management of the WMU to meet the management objectives.

Monitoring should be linked to potential and actual positive and negative impacts of management on the condition of features and sensitivities of the WMU identified in section 2.2.1, and to the delivery of management objectives.

Monitoring may include:

  • Supervision during woodland operations
  • Regular management visits and systematic collection of information
  • Longer-term studies on changes to the woodland ecosystem, particularly for special environmental features.

Examples of appropriate monitoring include:

  • Implementation of woodland operations
    • Health and safety
    • Compliance with Forest and Water guidelines
    • Worksite supervision
  • Harvesting yields
    • Information from sales invoices or weight tickets compared to predicted yields from production forecasts or timber inventories
  • Social impacts
    • Condition and accessibility of public access facilities
    • Impacts of timber haulage
  • Environmental impacts
  • Changes in environmental condition
    • Tree health
    • Woodland composition and structure
    • Areas and features of conservation value
    • Ancient woodland features and remnants, including responses to management and any threats
    • Condition of cultural heritage features.

When monitoring environmental impacts and changes in environmental condition, particular attention should be paid to the features of high conservation value identified in sections 4.1-4.3 and 4.5 and to the cultural and historical values identified in section 4.8.

Detail of information collected should be appropriate to the:

  • Size of the enterprise
  • Intensity of operations
  • Objectives of management
  • Sensitivity of the site.

The owner/manager may consider:

  • Formal written records
  • A less formal site diary
  • Photographic records
  • Verbally communicated records.

Note that there may be legal requirements for record-keeping in some cases, for example pesticide usage.

Owners/managers should be aware of the potential usefulness of information gathered for other purposes, for example to fulfil statutory requirements, which may meet or supplement monitoring needs. It may also be possible to make use of freely available information from sources such as statutory bodies or local interest groups.

  • A monitoring programme as part of management planning documentation
  • Evidence of a consistent approach to recording site visits
  • Discussion with the owner/manager
  • Monitoring records.


The owner/manager shall take monitoring findings into account, particularly during revision of the management planning documentation, and if necessary shall revise management objectives, verifiable targets and/or management activities.

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Expert advice should be sought where necessary and taken into account.

  • Monitoring records
  • Management planning documentation
  • Discussion with the owner/manager.


Monitoring findings, or summaries thereof, shall be made publicly available upon request.

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The monitoring findings or summaries may exclude confidential information.

The means of sharing monitoring findings should be appropriate to the nature of the records and to the needs of the interested parties.

Owners/managers of smaller management units, relying more on informal monitoring methods and records, may find it more appropriate to communicate results verbally.

Owners/managers of larger management units, relying more on formal surveys and reports, may find it more appropriate to produce a written summary.

See section 2.2.2 for examples of confidential information.

Written or verbal evidence of responses to requests.