Certification Print E-mail
Certification of timber and wood products is a relatively new tool. The certification process is most easily explained by discussing the certification of forests and products.

Forest certification

Timber and wood products come from forests which are not only wood suppliers, but also as a provider of a multitude of environmental and social services. Such services include the production of oxygen, sequestration of CO2 which reduces global warming, water quality and soil protection, beauty and scenery, conservation of biodiversity and others.

Forest certification serves to formally verify that a forest is being managed and harvested satisfying the social and environmental standards of stakeholders. Forest certification systems in place around the world can be split into three endorsement systems or brands:
Most timber production forests in Australia, plantation and native, are certified to the Australian Standards of the Australian Forestry Certification Scheme. Some forests and plantations are certified against a Forest Stewardship Council interim standard. Some Australian forests and plantations are certified to both standards.

Timber Certification

Product certification is the link between the certified forest, the timber or wood product and the end user (the consumer). This certification is often termed Chain of Custody certification (CoC).

Each party in the supply chain needs to be certified. This includes the forest manager, sawmill, secondary processors, distributors and sellers. Even the installer (ie tradesmen) may require CoC certification.

This is a long supply chain and this process incurs substantial extra costs. In some cases, it may be sufficient to know that a plantation or timber production forest is certified (for example the vast majority of pine used in Australia is sourced from certified plantations in Australia or New Zealand). However, if there is doubt that timber or wood product is from non-certified sources or from forests or plantations that are not well-managed or contribute to deforestation, Chain of Custody certification may be appropriate. Information about Chain of Custody Certification for forest managers, processors and sellers is available from the certification section of the timber.org.au website.

A Review of Forest Certification in Australia
(PDF, 0.9 MB)
An examination of the forest certification standards currently operational in Australia (the FSC accredited Woodmark and SmartWood standards and the Australian Forestry Standard offered by the Australian Forestry Certification Scheme).
The Australian Forestry Standard Summary
(PDF, 0.8 MB)
Australian Forestry Standard
Australian Forestry Certification Scheme (AFCS): Australian Forestry Standard
This Standard has been developed to provide a basis for voluntary, independent third-party certification against auditable forest management performance criteria that support sustainable management of forests for wood production.
Advisory guides to assist supply chain members in understanding the benefits and processes of Chain of Custody.
Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international network to promote responsible management of the world's forests.
Forests NSW
The Forests NSW web site has a wealth of information about the New South Wales forest industry. This includes a section for schoolchildren and their teachers.
National Forest Inventory Australia
The National Forest Inventory (NFI) collects and communicates information on Australia's forests. It aims to provide a single authoritative source of data at the national level.
Plantation Information Network
A comprehensive list of reports and maps supplying quantitative information about Australia's plantations.
Plantations 2020
Plantations for Australia: The 2020 Vision is a strategic partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and the plantation timber growing and processing industry.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC)
An independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainable managed forests through independent third party certification.