FSC Forest Management Best Practices

National Forest Stewardship Standards

FSC’s forest management certification confirms that forests are managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring that these forests remain economically viable. 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 value to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

To allow industry players to adopt practical, actionable and responsible forest management practices that allow them to fulfil growing market demand for certified forest products. FSC develops National Forest Stewardship Standards (NFSS) for individual countries based on our globally-consistent International Principles and Criteria.

FSC standards are developed through a collaborative and consultative process, owned and managed by six to nine in-country representatives who hold a mix of economic, social and environmental perspectives and are supported by FSC staff members. These individuals form a country’s Standard Development Group (SDG) and ensure FSC’s  principles and criteria are enacted through country-specific and relevant indicators and verifiers. These indicators and verifiers ensure bottom-up, grassroots input at the country level while also maintaining globally consistent standards.

Currently, there are 12 SDGs in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, China (Chinese only), India, Indonesia, Japan (Japanese only), Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam; with Laos in the preparation stages of forming an SDG. Before a country’s National Standard is put in place, interim standards provide a vehicle for forest managers to enter the FSC system and join ethical and responsible forest trade.

As of early 2020, Australia, China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam have their NFSSs in place, while Indonesia has the National Standard for natural plantation and small or low-intensity managed forests.

To find out how you can get involved with the NFSS for your country, please contact FSC APAC staff or your local FSC representative.

Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Smallholders

Smallholders in the Asia-Pacific region typically manage a very small portion of land, typically below one or two hectares, which serves as one of their main sources of income. Small portions include agricultural land interspersed with some trees and forest areas. A high rate of poverty combined with low levels of education make it very complex for these smallholders to access the FSC system.

To support them, FSC is developing a regional forest management standard to implement in the Asia-Pacific region. This standard has been devised to focus on the requirements that are most relevant to address the risks in the region. An easy-to-read version of the standard will also be developed, to facilitate its understanding. Other supporting tools are also under development, like a self-assessment checklist.

The regional simplified standard and the self-assessment check list will be field tested in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, with the support of certification bodies working in these countries. Participating auditors must know the local language, culture, and forestry context. The field test results will help improve the regional standard, and verify its comprehensibility.

The field tests were completed in September and October 2019. In November 2019 the project team launched a public consultation to gather worldwide stakeholder input on the regional standard, aiming to submit a finalised version of the standard and associated tools to the FSC policy and standards committee in early 2020.

To read more about the regional standard, please click here. For more information on the project in the Asia Pacific region, please contact Loy Jones, FSC Asia Pacific Policy Manager and topic lead for the regional simplified standard, at