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Forest and Forest Product Certification Schemes in North America: A Review and Analysis

Forest certification programs respond to environmental concerns by: defining, implementing, and certifying sustainable forest management systems that have been created and have evolved into sets of rigorous standards that include formal certification processes and a number of other provisions. This paper briefly describes and compares the features of major forest certification systems operating in North America as well as related product-level (labeling) schemes and programs.

Two major international organizations certify large-scale forests: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC).

• FSC has national working groups in 40 countries with nearly 300 members. FSC’s program for U.S. forests (FSC-US) has developed a set of standards that apply to all of the forested regions of the country.

• PEFC has certified two pre-existing programs in North America, one for Canada that was developed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the other, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), for use in both the U.S. and Canada.

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