Principles, criteria & indicators

There are ten principles that any forest operation must adhere to before it can receive FSC forest management certification. These principles cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

FSC also provides a number of criteria relating to each principle to provide practical ways of working out whether they are being followed.

Our principles have been developed to be applicable worldwide and relevant to all kinds of forest ecosystems, as well as a wide range of cultural, political and legal settings.

The two relevant documents below are available to download in the document centre:

FSC-STD-01-001 V5-2 FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are designed to serve as a common starting point for developing National Forest Stewardship Standards.

FSC-STD-60-004-20 V2-0 International Generic Indicators.

Group & SLIMF certification

FSC certificate holders can also join together to form a group certification scheme and share their efforts for forest management planning, harvesting, monitoring and marketing their products. Group certification makes it easier, particularly for smallholders, to become FSC certified, as it enables group members to share costs and workload for applying and maintaining an FSC certificate.

Small or low-intensity managed forests (SLIMF) are eligible for streamlined requirements and auditing procedures that reduce the costs and efforts of the certification.

Many countries have developed specific forest management requirements for SLIMF in their national standards, to facilitate the certification process for smallholders. Check your national standard, or talk to your national or regional office to find out if this is the case in your country.

Similarly, the auditing process can be relaxed for SLIMF operations.

The following relevant document can be downloaded from the document centre:

FSC-STD-01-003 V1-0 SLIMF Eligibility Criteria.

FSC-STD-30-005 FSC Standard for Group Entities in Forest Management Groups

FSC-STD-20-007 Forest Management Evaluations