Using the certification standard

In using the certification standard, owners/managers and certification bodies shall also take full account of the introduction, glossary and appendix.

The certification standard is set out as follows:


These are the compulsory elements of the certification standard and are stated as ‘shall’. Woodland management must meet all relevant requirements and certification bodies will check that each requirement is being met.

Example verifiers

These are examples of objective evidence – documents, actions or discussions – that owners/managers may present to the certification body for their consideration in order to demonstrate that the requirement is being met. Certification bodies are required to undertake audits and owners/managers should be able to present sufficient evidence to allow the auditor to report conformance. It will not always be necessary to use any or all of the verifiers suggested, and conformance to requirements may be demonstrated in other ways. The selected verifiers should be appropriate to the scale and intensity of management of the WMU and the risk of negative impacts.

The three most common example verifiers are:

  • Discussion with the owner/manager.

The owner/manager may explain in conversation with the auditor their understanding of the standard, their knowledge of the WMU or the rationale for management decisions, or they may describe actions they have taken to conform to the standard.

  • Field observation.

The auditor may look for tangible evidence in the WMU of conformance to the standard.

The owner/manager may demonstrate through written documents, records or maps their knowledge of the WMU, the rationale for management decisions, or the actions they have taken to conform to the standard. Note that if specific management planning documentation is expected to be produced it will be described in the requirements of the standard. Documentation may include that produced by third parties, for example a felling licence.

Guidance notes

These aim to help both the woodland owner/manager and the certification body to understand how requirements should be applied in practice. More information is provided to elaborate some requirements, the meaning of certain terms or phrases is explained, and examples of appropriate action are given. Where guidance is stated as ‘should’ it indicates a recommendation. Where it is stated as ‘may’ it indicates an option or a list of options.

Note: The guidance note can include ‘Advice to owners/managers’ on related matters which are beyond the direct scope of a forest management certification standard e.g. owners/managers are advised to check the specific requirements of certification schemes in relation to chain-of-custody certification matters. Such information is clearly marked and is provided as an advisory note only: it shall not be considered by certification bodies when assessing conformance with the certification standard.

Key to icons and formatting


Check the appendix for references providing further guidance.

Glossary terms


Highlighted terms are explained in the glossary of terms. Generally, a glossary term is only highlighted on its first occurrence in a particular section or sub-division of the text. The following glossary terms which are used frequently throughout the text are not generally highlighted:

  • Management planning documentation
  • Owner/manager
  • Woodland management unit (WMU).


The following abbreviations are used frequently in the text:

  • ASNW – Ancient semi-natural woodland
  • FISA – Forest Industry Safety Accord
  • LISS – Lower-impact silvicultural systems
  • NTWP – Non-timber woodland products
  • PAWS – Plantation on ancient woodland site
  • UKFS – UK Forestry Standard
  • WMU – Woodland management unit