What is a certified forest?

The term "independently certified forest products" refers to those products originating in a forest that an independent third party has certified as well-managed and sustainable. Forest certification validates on-the-ground operations employing the best management practices at a specific forest to ensure the long-term health of the total forest ecosystem. Today, the only ratings available that meet the criteria established by the Certified Forest Products Council are those of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC standards were developed by representatives of conservation groups, the timber industry, economic development organizations and the general public. A forestry operation that meets FSC standards protects forest ecosystems, water quality, wildlife habitats and local communities. To ensure the integrity of the certification, the wood and fiber from certified forests are tracked through the commercial chain from logging sites to retailers and to the end user.