What is woodland certification?
Certification is a voluntary standard for the independent certification of forest management in the United Kingdom; the UK woodland Assurance Standard.
The standard was originally developed in response to an increasing demand for products from certified forests by a broad partnership of environmental, social and forestry organisations who wanted to ensure that woodland products were being sourced from forest which were being managed sustainable and for the benefit of the environment and biodiversity. The standard was originally developed for commercial timber woodlands, but it has now been extended to all woodlands, including those which are managed for recreation, access and biodiversity.
The standard identifies the requirements for woodland management and how they are verified. It has been designed to apply to all woodlands in the UK regardless of their size and complexity.
Why certify woodlands?
The principle advantages to certifying woodland are:
- Recognition of good management practice. Certification is a green badge of sustainability that is internationally recognised and shows commitment to sustainable management of the woodland resource. Certification is only awarded to woodlands which meet the internationally agreed standard, which applies management of existing woodland, woodland planning and monitoring.
- Access to more grant aid and support for woodland management. This applies in particular to grants available through the English Woodland Grant Scheme.
- Demonstrates to funders, neighbours and business partners that woodland is being managed to internationally agreed principles. It is a mark of excellence.
- Values woodland for biodiversity, recreation and access and the importance of managing for these, and other non timber related benefits such as health, landscape value and carbon storage.
For woodland owners who also market their timber, certification ensures access to markets as buyers are now actively looking for sustainable managed timber resources.
Pennine Edge Forest is working with its local authority to partners as they look towards gaining certification for their woodland assets. Both Rochdale and Oldham council’s have successfully applied for certification on their countryside service managed woodland.