UKWAS Steering Group to hold discussion on small woods certification ——————————————————————————–

The UKWAS Steering Group is to hold a discussion session to review small woods issues following its Annual Meeting in Edinburgh on 15th November.

UKWAS Executive Chair, Peter Wilson, said: Those charged with drawing up the UK Woodland Assurance Standard have always been conscious that certification presents a particular challenge for owners and managers of smaller woodlands. The measures already taken plus the changes to be introduced in the forthcoming Third Edition all help to make the standard more accessible for managers of smaller woodlands. Nonetheless, we want to have another look at the latest developments elsewhere and keep the issue under the closest review.

Almost half of the UK forest area and around 85% of the wood produced is now certified. However, a large proportion of small, privately owned woodlands is not certified and this continues to be a major concern for the UKWAS Steering Group. The Steering Group continues to recommend that smaller owners should consider joining a group scheme rather than undertaking certification as a single entity.

The discussion meeting will consider the Forestry Regulation Task Forces recent recommendation on improving alignment of the UK Forestry Standard and the UKWAS and a similar recommendation in the ProForest Report on small woods issues commissioned by the Steering Group.

Peter Feilburg of NEPCON will provide an update on what is happening on the small-woods certification in continental Europe including an insight into the dynamic of large companies working with micro/family producers. His main focus will be on the attempt to combine forest management certification with forest contractor certification  including the work that he is doing under the EU Eco innovation program.

Note to editors

The UK Woodland Assurance Standard was first launched in 1999 and a revised second edition was released in 2006 and further amended in 2008 following a review which tried to make greater provision for smaller woodland owners.

A draft Third Edition is currently being assessed for conformance by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).