Forestry Commission Scotland has recently been re-audited against the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Standard – and passed with flying colours.
The certification process is one of continuous improvement. Whilst the Commission continues to work on Corrective Actions, they were also commended for exemplary practice in many areas.
The UKWAS standard is developed and managed by an independent multi-stakeholder partnership of economic, environmental and social organisations. It provides a certification standard to assess sustainable forest management in the UK and is used by the two leading global certification schemes, the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC ®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), in their UK certification programmes.
Certification provides an assurance to buyers of forest products – such as timber – that the products come from sustainable, well managed forests.
This means that wood sold from Scotland’s entire National Forest Estate can continue to claim to be certified under the international FSC ® and PEFC standards. Construction timber, signs, garden furniture and fencing, panel boards, paper and venison are among the certified goods produced from timber and venison sold from the Forestry Commission Scotland forests.
Andrew Jarrott, an Environment Officer with the Forestry Commission, said: “This is great news for the whole team. Several forests within different Districts were audited – with little notice given ahead of time – and found to be well managed, sustainable forests operating at the highest standard.
It is a tremendous accolade for our local teams all across the country that are working hard to deliver a range of benefits to people, communities, biodiversity and the economy.
Although at times it can be very challenging, we are well practiced at meeting the various demands of visitors, biodiversity and timber production.
To have that expertise officially recognised is great – a real testament to the hard work that goes on around the country to maintain the high standards we set ourselves in managing Scotland’s National Forest Estate.”
Gaining certification means being assessed against criteria that include management planning, consultation, woodland design, operations, conservation and enhancement of biodiversity. Woodland access and recreation for local communities is also a factor that is audited.
Further information is available from www.ukwas.org.uk and www.fsc-uk.org and www.pefc.co.uk
The Commission has held FSC certification since 1999, the Forestry Commission became one of the first state forest services in the world to be awarded FSC certification.