Pacific Coast Regional Standards
Forest Stewardship
1 November 1999











These regional forest stewardship standards have been made possible by generous support from the Bullitt Foundation, Ford Foundation, Harwood Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Surdna Foundation, World Wildlife Fund – US and the Forest Stewardship Council – US Initiative. We also acknowledge the contributions of time and resources by many individuals and institutions that participated in the Working Group, particularly of Pacific Forest Trust, which coordinated and facilitated standards development from 1996 through 1998. Nick Brown, Manager for Forest Conservation for World Wildlife Fund – US currently coordinates the Working Group. We also acknowledge contributions from stakeholders who commented on drafts of this document. Jamison Ervin, former Executive Director of the Forest Stewardship Council - US Initiative, provided valuable intellectual and fundraising support.







Working Group Participants
American Lands Alliance 

Applied Forest Management 

Big Creek Lumber Co. 

Collins Pine Company 

Columbia Forest Products 

Dominique Irvine 

Ecoforestry Institute 


Environmental Defense Fund 

Experience International 

Forest Soil and Water 


Harwood Products 

Headwaters, Inc. 

Hoopa Valley Tribe 

Humboldt State University, Department of Natural Resources, Interpretation & Planning 

Institute for Sustainable Forestry 

National Wildlife Federation 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

Northwest Natural Resource Group (formerly Olympic Peninsula Foundation) 

Pacific Environment and Resources Center 

Pacific Forest Trust 

Rainforest Action Network 

Robert Hrubes and Associates 

Rogue Institute for Ecology and Economics 

Scientific Certification Systems 

Tracy Katelman 

United Methodist Church 

Watershed Research and Training Center 

Wilderness Society 

World Wildlife Fund – US 

Yakama Nation






































Purpose of these standards

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest and forest products certification is a voluntary market driven process, through which forest managers can gain recognition for ecologically, socially, and economically exemplary forestry. In return for proven excellence in forest management, markets and consumers provide enhanced market share, market stability, and/or market premiums to certified forest managers and processors. In this way, the consuming public voluntarily pays forest owners, forest managers and forest products processors for carrying out excellent forest conservation practices.

The FSC's Principles and Criteria for Forest Management provide broad, internationally applicable certification standards. In addition to the Principles and Criteria, the FSC intends that evaluations by FSC-accredited certifiers be based upon regionally specific indicators and verifiers. This document contains detailed provisions for the Pacific Coast region of the U.S., which is generally defined as the states of Washington, Oregon and California. Landowners and managers who own forests near the boundaries of these states or in multiple regions should contact the FSC-US and FSC-accredited certifiers to determine the applicability of these and other regional standards.

The Pacific Coast region is distinguished by the most commercially productive forest sites in the US, and also includes some of the nation’s most highly valued scenic and biological resources. The region's coastal coniferous forests grow taller and larger diameter trees than dominant tree species in the eastern U.S., and consequently often have a very high economic value. Very high economic values (e.g., in coastal redwood and Douglas fir forests) and high ecological values (e.g., in the threatened Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion) often conflict in the region, leading to clashes between environmental and economic interests. These standards seek to protect core environmental values, while respecting the economic importance of forest products to the region's forest-based communities.

In contrast to other regions of the U.S., significant remnants of primary old growth redwood and fir forests remain standing, both as reserves and as managed forests. These standards intend to protect the irreplaceable values of old growth forests in the region, while respecting the autonomy of American Indians to manage according to their traditional authority. Large relatively unfragmented landscapes now occur in the Pacific Coast region much less frequently then under historical conditions. The remaining relatively unbroken forests play a critical role in maintaining ecosystem processes such as refugia for fish (especially salmonids) and wildlife, and in maintaining the integrity of landscapes and species that are vulnerable to habitat disturbances that now dominate the region’s landscapes. Thus, remaining intact forests larger than 500 acres should be given special consideration in management decisions, given their unique role in the maintenance of ecological integrity at the landscape and watershed scales. Management activities in such areas should not degrade the quality or integrity of such roadless landscapes.

The Pacific Coast region is also distinguished by a high diversity of forest types, due to its latitudinal range (~ 30°  N - 50°  N), its altitude range (sea level to 1500 m or higher), and because of marked differences in coastal and inland biophysical conditions. The standards are written with flexibility, to be useful under the wide range of conditions across the region.

The Pacific Coast forest stewardship standards require management to maintain and restore forest structures, functions, and processes; and to maintain biodiversity at many levels, natural soil characteristics, and hydrological characteristics, at both stand and landscape levels. Management and protection of old growth stands is an important issue in the region.

Guidance for Certifiers

The regional standards provide guidance to certifiers on how to apply FSC criteria in the region. Where it was possible, very specific standards have been developed. In other aspects of management, geographic, biological and edaphic variability within the region permits only general and flexible provisions. On these issues, certifiers are expected to exercise discretion, which, properly applied, will help encourage excellent, yet viable, forest management practices.

The standards are intended to be scale sensitive, with stricter requirements for large forest owners than for small landowners for some characteristics. The Working Group recognized that smaller forests require a less intensive level of data collection and maintenance, less professional staffing, and less financial investment than larger forests. Rather than define "smaller" and "larger" forest ownerships and write two distinct sets of standards, the Working Group opted to incorporate flexibility into a single set of standards, with the understanding that certifiers will take ownership size into account in determining appropriate levels of performance.


Eligibility to seek certification

These standards are for application on private forests and American Indian lands.

If state, county, or municipally owned lands are to be certified, certification standards must be appropriately modified for the respective ownership types. The full range of local and regional stakeholders must be consulted during the refinement of certification standards to address state and local conditions. These standards must address issues and goals that are specific to the ownership type, including the unique ecological and social goals for state and local lands. Certification of state and local public lands bears special responsibilities to include public input into planning and management decisions, and to address local community well-being and ecosystem conservation and restoration, at stand, forest and landscape levels.

These standards do not address federal lands. Certification of federal lands will be discussed by FSC at the national level and in this region.




How these regional standards were developed

The process for developing these standards was initiated by the regional members of the FSC and by the FSC - US Initiative in October 1995. The Working Group is comprised of FSC members from Washington, Oregon, and California, who represent a broad spectrum of economic, social, and environmental interests. The Pacific Forest Trust (PO Box 879, Boonville, CA 95415) was selected by regional FSC members to coordinate and facilitate initial standards development. In December 1998, Working Group facilitation and coordination was transferred to Nick Brown, who worked for four months under contract to the FSC-US Initiative, and is currently Manager for Forest Conservation for World Wildlife Fund - US.

Development of the standards began with a review of FSC's Principles and Criteria, existing local standards in the region, and other standards developed by FSC-accredited certifiers. The Working Group also consulted with regional experts and collected regulations relevant to forestry in the three states. The standards have gone through several major revisions over the course of four years. Comments on drafts of the standards have been sought from over 350 groups and individuals who have a diversity of interests in forestry, forest management, and forest ecology. More than 100 of these stakeholders have actively participated in the shaping of the document. Some of the participants listed above are not current Working Group members.

Document structure

In this document, the regionally developed standards are shown in bold type, and provide specific detail that describes how the FSC Principles and Criteria should be interpreted in the region.


Principle 1: FSC approved Principle (globally applicable)

Criterion 1.1.: FSC approved Criterion (globally applicable)

a. regional indicator (applicable to the Pacific Coast region)

b. regional indicator (applicable to the Pacific Coast region)

Section 6.3B was initially negotiated as FSC-approved Principle 9, Maintenance of Natural Forests. FSC issued a new Principle 9 in January 1999, which replaced the older version. The provisions articulated in the original version of Principle 9 are important to the assurance of the maintenance of forest ecological structures and functions. They were negotiated by much hard work and compromise, so the group decided to maintain those criteria under Criterion 6.3, which specifies requirements for maintenance of ecological values and functions in the forest.

A glossary of terms is provided, which includes some terms that were written by FSC A.C. committees, and some that were written by the Pacific Coast Working Group. A series of appendices reference relevant treaties, laws, and other relevant policies; cite existing certification standards; cite sources of information on Native American land tenure and archeological sites; cite sources of information on old-growth definitions; and provide an illustrative monitoring framework.

Guidance to certifiers on plantations

It is the policy of the Pacific Coast Working Group that forest management units (FMUs) that are managed to create or maintain forest conditions that meet the FSC A.C.’s definition of "plantation" (as further elaborated by these guidelines) are not certifiable. However, the determination of whether or not forest management results in the maintenance of "plantations" must be made at the spatial scale of the FMU, rather than at the scale of individual stands.

It is, therefore, the intention of the Pacific Coast Working Group to certify only forest management regimes that maintain or restore natural forest conditions at the FMU level. FMU’s containing plantations that do not currently meet the FSC’s definition of ‘natural forest’ must have the management goal of restoration of natural forest attributes to those plantations that will permit their categorization as natural forests within a reasonable time period.

The assessment of a FMU and the management system applied to it cannot be accomplished at the stand level alone. Rather, certifiers must determine certifiability at the scale of the entire FMU, by considering forest attributes and interactions across the FMU. With this approach, it is possible that limited portions of the FMU may not by themselves meet the definition of natural forest, although the FMU as a whole may meet the definition.

Certifiers and forest managers should also recognize that natural forests are represented by a range of conditions of varying ‘naturalness’ at the FMU level. Not all natural forests are pristine, nor are they maintained by a single management strategy. In fact, the FSC definition of "natural forest" can be compatible with a range of forest management conditions in the Pacific Coast region. Depending upon the natural disturbances and other ecological processes that occur in the ecosystem in which the FMU is located, natural forests can be maintained or restored with uneven-aged or even-aged silvicultural management. Accordingly, managed forests may be categorized as natural forests where management practices maintain a sufficient level of natural characteristics, attributes and functions.

This policy guidance does not require certifiable forest management to maintain or restore FMUs to a single, uniform degree of naturalness. Instead, it requires a transition over a reasonable time frame away from plantation conditions and toward natural forest conditions at the FMU level. Where more natural conditions result from plantation forest management practices, fewer modifications will be necessary at the FMU level to attain certification.




Pacific Coast Working Group continuing processes

The Pacific Coast Working Group (PCWG) will maintain its structure after submission of these standards to the FSC-US Working Group, to oversee a 2-year process of testing and evaluation of the regional guidelines. This follow up is intended to accomplish the following:

  1. Identify issues of continued concern to PCWG members and attempt to resolve them through peer review and other methods.
  2. Test the adequacy of the guidelines for use in different geographic areas of our region;
  3. Increase representation of social stakeholders, grassroots environmental groups, and members from Washington and Oregon who have been under-represented in the PCWG to date;
  4. Carry out an outreach to the social sectors in the region designed to secure their participation.
To carry out these objectives the PCWG should:
  1. seek out and mutually agree on an institutional home that can serve as a Working Group facilitator and support to this process;
  2. ask FSC US to help on securing an ongoing institutional home, and to secure funding for the PCWG Facilitator and for carrying out this follow-up process;
  3. form subcommittees as need to identify concerns, and make recommendations to resolve them;
  4. meet at least yearly to evaluate progress and make decisions regarding process and wording for guideline revisions;
  5. establish, as needed, appropriate forums for communication including facilitated email discussion groups.

Social Sector Outreach

Social equity, community involvement and participation, and incorporation of social concerns and interests into the regional standards are important to the long-term success of these standards. The Pacific Coast Working Group (PCWG) therefore proposes development of a targeted outreach process to social stakeholders in the region. Outreach will be based on the following objectives:

  1. to test the adequacy of the social components of the existing guidelines;
  2. to identify gaps in the social aspects of the guidelines;
  3. to agree to propose wording for revision of the regional guidelines based on conclusions from these studies;
  4. to identify barriers to social representation in the PCWG and make recommendations to overcome them.


In order to carry out these objectives, the outreach should:

  1. identify social stakeholders in the region including tribal groups, workers, community forestry enterprises, NTFP workers, and small landholders;
  2. develop an appropriate methodology or methodologies, subject to approval by the PCWG, to accomplish the stated outreach objectives;
  3. identify social NGO(s) and/or researchers respected in the region to help design and carry out this outreach, and to make specific recommendations to the PCWG regarding revisions to the existing social guidelines;
  4. ask the FSC US and/or the new institutional home for the PCWG to secure funding for this outreach;

Principle 1. Forest management shall respect all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and international treaties and agreements to which the country is a signatory, and comply with all FSC Principles and Criteria.

1.1. Forest management shall respect all national and local laws and administrative requirements.

a. Forest management plans and operations shall comply with all relevant laws, regulations, and other policies, including relevant court decisions. Such compliance shall have been complete across the entire ownership for five years preceding the initial evaluation. Certifiers should use discretion in determining whether any noncompliance is serious enough to preclude certification.

1.2. All applicable and legally prescribed fees, royalties, taxes and other charges shall be paid.

1.3. In signatory countries, the provisions of all binding international agreements such as CITES, ILO Conventions, ITTA, and Convention on Biological Diversity, shall be respected.

a. Forest management operations shall comply with all relevant treaties or other binding agreements to which the U.S. is a signatory, including any relevant treaties with American Indian Tribes, across the entire ownership for five years preceding the initial evaluation. Certifiers should use discretion in determining whether any noncompliance is serious enough to preclude certification.

1.4. Conflicts between laws, regulations and the FSC Principles and Criteria shall be evaluated for the purposes of certification, on a case by case basis, by the certifiers and the involved or affected parties.

1.5. Forest management areas should be protected from illegal harvesting, settlement and other unauthorized activities.

1.6. Forest managers shall demonstrate a long-term commitment to adhere to the FSC Principles and Criteria.

a. Forest managers shall provide adequate assurances to the certifier that they will continue to follow their management plans over time.

b. Compliance with the Principles, Criteria and these standards will be judged according to FSC-approved scoring systems employed by certifiers.

c. Forest owners seeking certification shall pursue it on all of their production forests in California, Oregon and Washington over some reasonable period of time, not to exceed five years.


Principle 2. Long-term tenure and use rights to the land and forest resources shall be clearly defined, documented and legally established.

2.1. Clear evidence of long-term forest use rights to the land (e.g. land title, customary rights, or lease agreements) shall be demonstrated.

a. Evidence should be provided of legal title, customary rights or other assured rights of ownership, management or use.

b. The landowner should acknowledge and address in the management plan any customary use rights or lease agreements to forest resources within the ownership. These may include tribal claims to customary use, firewood collection, non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvesting, fishing, hunting, or recreation.

2.2. Local communities with legal or customary tenure or use rights shall maintain control, to the extent necessary to protect their rights or resources, over forest operations unless they delegate control with free and informed consent to other agencies.

a. All legally recognized rights of local people or the wider public to use the forest should be honored through compliance with relevant legislation and dispute resolution procedures. Examples of such rights include:

b. Customary and lawful uses of the forest (by local people or the wider public) that are well established, but are not legal rights, should be allowed on a permissive basis when feasible and when liability problems are not posed. Typical examples include: c. If customary uses have led to forest conversion or ecological simplification, or have had significant negative environmental impacts on the forest, users should be included in management planning to mitigate these impacts.

2.3. Appropriate mechanisms shall be employed to resolve disputes over tenure claims and use rights. The circumstances and status of any outstanding disputes will be explicitly considered in the certification evaluation. Disputes of substantial magnitude involving a significant number of interests will normally disqualify an operation from being certified.


Principle 3. The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources shall be recognized and respected.

3.1. Indigenous peoples shall control forest management on their lands and territories unless they delegate control with free and informed consent to other agencies.

Relations with indigenous peoples

a. Tribal peoples, when they so desire, shall take a lead role in forest management planning operations on their land ownerships.

b. Openness and a spirit of cooperation shall be demonstrated in the planning and implementation of forestry activities in areas of importance to Native American tribal groups.

c. Tribal experience, knowledge, practices and insights shall be given full consideration in relevant forest management planning and operations.

d. Where rights are in dispute, a mutually agreed upon arbitration process will be developed for addressing and resolving grievances.

Consent from indigenous peoples

e. Forest management shall take place only after securing the informed consent of tribes or individual tribal members whose forest ownership is being considered for certification.

f. Forestry projects under non-tribal management operating on tribal land ownerships must provide documentary evidence of the agreements with the tribe(s) under which non-tribal management is entitled to implement management within the forests.

g. Restricted access areas on tribal land ownerships shall be defined with the full control and consent of affected tribal people and in accordance with their laws and customs. Restricted access areas in forests customarily used by indigenous peoples shall be identified through consultation with those communities.

3.2. Forest management shall not threaten or diminish, either directly or indirectly, the resources or tenure rights of indigenous peoples.

a. Forest managers seeking certification shall reasonably document the identity, location, and population of those Native American tribal groups that currently use, originally held title to, or traditionally had use of the ownership. Forest managers should consult with certifiers and Appendix C for sources of information on indigenous land tenure.

b. Forest managers shall attempt to contact those tribes and groups with current legal or customary use rights to the management area (identified in keeping with 3.2.a), and request that tribes or groups identify their selected contact person. Groups that are no longer locally resident should be given the same opportunity as resident tribes to provide information. Unsuccessful attempts to contact tribal representatives shall be documented. The priority for identifying tribal contact persons shall be:

1) Tribal government such as tribal chairpersons of federally recognized tribes and traditional cultural and religious leaders.

2) Tribal contact persons identified by tribal governments.

3) Representatives of non-recognized tribes or tribal groups with no formal governments.

4) Lineal descendants of deceased Native Americans with ties to the land.

c. Forest managers shall invite the participation of tribal governments and representatives (contacted in keeping with 3.2.b) in planning forestry operations.

3.3. Sites of special cultural, ecological, economic or religious significance to indigenous peoples shall be clearly identified in cooperation with such peoples, and recognized and protected by forest managers.

a. Forest managers shall request the participation and input of tribal representatives in identification of sites of current or traditional use within the property proposed for certification, including:

Any legally recognized use rights to the property granted by treaty with Federal or State governments, including ceremonial or religious use, hunting, fishing, gathering, etc.

Any traditional or contemporary uses of the land by Native persons, not legally binding on the landowner by treaty, ceded rights, etc., including:

b. The recommendations of tribal representatives shall be considered during planning and implementation of land management practices that could affect sites and uses as described above in 3.3.a, so that such sites or uses may be protected during, or enhanced by, land management operations.

c. Confidentiality of disclosures shall be maintained in keeping with applicable laws and the requirements of tribal representatives.

3.4. Indigenous peoples shall be compensated for the application of their traditional knowledge regarding the use of forest species or management systems in forest operations. This compensation shall be formally agreed upon with their free and informed consent before forest operations commence.

a. Indigenous peoples shall be fairly compensated for commercial exploitation of their intellectual property and forest products.


Principle 4. Forest management operations shall maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and local communities.

4.1. The communities within, or adjacent to, the forest management area should be given opportunities for employment, training, and other services.

a. Forest managers and contractors are encouraged to hire qualified local workers for as long as possible to support economic stability in forest communities.

b. Employee compensation and hiring practices should meet or exceed standards for comparable forest workers within the region. Forest managers and contractors are encouraged to pay a family wage rate.

c. Forest managers should establish safeguards to ensure that their contractors or leasees comply with applicable labor laws.

d. Forest workers shall be appropriately trained.

e. Where feasible, forest managers are encouraged to use forests as a training and educational resource for local people. Forest managers are encouraged to further public education about forest ecosystems and forest management.

4.2. Forest management should meet or exceed all applicable laws and/or regulations covering health and safety of employees and their families.

4.3. The rights of workers to organize and voluntarily negotiate with their employers shall be guaranteed as outlined in Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

4.4. Management planning and operations shall incorporate the results of evaluations of social impact. Consultations shall be maintained with people and groups directly affected by management operations.

a. Forest managers shall provide certifiers with information necessary to conduct social impact analyses. Social impact analysis should show, for example:

b. People and groups affected by management operations may include employees and contractors of the landowner, people involved in processing products from the forest, people legally using the land for subsistence or recreation, people who use water supplies affected by forest management, neighboring property owners, people benefiting from fish and wildlife in the area, and people concerned with the management of public trust resources.

c. Forest management shall not negatively impact human health within the surrounding watersheds and communities.

4.5. Appropriate mechanisms shall be employed for resolving grievances and for providing fair compensation in the case of loss or damage affecting the legal or customary rights, property, resources, or livelihoods of local peoples. Measures shall be taken to avoid such loss or damage.

a. See indicator 2.2.b for examples of customary rights.


Principle 5. Forest management operations shall encourage the efficient use of the forest's multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

5.1. Forest management should strive toward economic viability, while taking into account the full environmental, social, and operational costs of production, and ensuring the investments necessary to maintain the ecological productivity of the forest.

a. Appropriate to the scale of operations, certifiers should be satisfied that the forest management operation is financially viable.

b. Landowners are encouraged to engage in long-term financial planning (e.g., conservation easements).

5.2. Forest management and marketing operations should encourage the optimal use and local processing of the forest's diversity of products.

a. Optimal use is understood as the level and manner of forest management and product processing that provides an acceptable economic return to the landowner while maintaining or enhancing ecological, community and social values. On forests that have been adversely affected by past management practices, optimal use should also entail restoring the land toward its former level of productivity.

b. Where feasible, forest managers are encouraged to make use of local processors, forest managers, foresters, loggers, and other contractors.

5.3. Forest management should minimize waste associated with harvesting and on-site processing operations and avoid damage to other forest resources.

a. Basic components of forest structure shall not be interpreted as waste. These components include tree limbs and tops, and other standing, dead, or down vegetation and other biomass, which should be retained on site in adequate quantities and quality for ecosystem function, wildlife habitat, and future forest productivity.

5.4. Forest management should strive to strengthen and diversify the local economy, avoiding dependence on a single forest product.

5.5. Forest management operations shall recognize, maintain, and, where appropriate, enhance the value of forest services and resources such as watersheds and fisheries.

a. Forest management practices shall not cause long-term significant negative impacts on timber stocking, age/size class distribution (especially in larger size classes), soil productivity, the native diversity and distribution of forest vegetation and habitats, watershed functions, stream integrity, and other resources identified in Principle 6 of these standards.

5.6. The rate of harvest of forest products shall not exceed levels that can be permanently sustained.

a. The rate and manner of harvest shall not result in progressive reductions of forest resource inventories below ecologically appropriate levels, based on an appropriate reference ecosystem type. Under-stocked stands shall be returned to ecologically appropriate stocking levels at the earliest practicable time. The quality and quantity of the forest resource inventory should be concerned with enhanced and/or maintained, over time, as indicated by factors such as standing volume per acre, average diameter, and age-class distribution. Inventory measurements shall be made at least every ten years, or the harvest frequency on the ownership, whichever is longer.

b. Adequate steps shall be taken to avoid over harvesting at the species level and of size classes, especially larger and older size classes. Timber management should not result in species dominance shifts, unless stands are being restored based on the species composition of appropriate reference ecosystem types.

c. Timber management should not result in genetic erosion (genotypic or phenotypic) as a result of preferential harvesting of the most desirable health and form classes.

d. Annual allowable harvesting areas shall be designated based on well-documented and conservative growth estimates. Boundaries of harvest areas should be respected, and multiple re-entry adequately controlled between cutting cycles, so as to minimize disturbance to regeneration.

e. Sufficient actions shall be taken to ensure the high quantity and quality of timber in the future stand (e.g., adequate natural regeneration or planting, leaving seed trees, protecting residual trees).


Principle 6. Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.

6.1. Assessment of environmental impacts shall be completed -- appropriate to the scale, intensity of forest management and the uniqueness of the affected resources -- and adequately integrated into management systems. Assessments shall include landscape level considerations as well as the impacts of on-site processing facilities. Environmental impacts shall be assessed prior to commencement of site-disturbing operations.

a. Elements generally appropriate for environmental assessments include: a description and analysis of likely environmental impacts and alternatives to avoid and minimize them; identification of measurable biological goals; adaptive management provisions; monitoring plans; and other items deemed relevant on a site-specific basis. On larger ownerships, cumulative environmental impacts should be assessed.

b. Assessments of environmental impact shall take into account the distinctiveness and relative vulnerability of forest types to be managed. More thorough assessments should be conducted where forest types are more distinctive and vulnerable. Appropriate references for such information include the Nature Conservancy's natural heritage databases, a national assessment of endangered ecosystems published by the National Biological Service, and Appendix D (see also Criteria 6.3 and 6.4 and Principle 9).

c. Actions needed to avoid and minimize negative environmental impacts shall be identified. All unavoidable negative impacts shall be mitigated to the full extent possible, using proven methods for achieving the relevant biological goals.

d. Results of environmental assessments shall be included in the standard public summaries of certification reports.

6.2. Safeguards shall exist which protect rare, threatened and endangered species and their habitats (e.g., nesting and feeding areas). Conservation zones and protection areas shall be established, appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management and the uniqueness of the affected resources. Inappropriate hunting, fishing, trapping and collecting shall be controlled.

a. Forest management shall maintain and, where technically and financially feasible, restore the diversity, integrity and connectivity of habitat components that may contribute to the recovery of species populations and species that are native to an appropriate reference ecosystem, including threatened, endangered and other listed species. Protection measures shall provide for continued survival of vulnerable species: federal and state threatened and endangered species, species listed on the Nature Conservancy's natural heritage databases, plants listed by native plant societies, and species that are candidates for listing. Protection should be provided both to species found on the ownership and species that use the ownership occasionally for dispersal or other functions. Forest managers should consult recovery plans, as well as qualified biologists or ecologists to determine species' habitat needs.

b. Protection measures may include:

• Appropriately scaled, configured and demarcated conservation zones, set aside from timber harvest. Conservation zones should be designed in keeping with sound ecological principles (e.g., providing interior habitat).

• Application of more conservative management practices (e.g., selection harvesting only, greater levels of retention).

• Limiting forest management in certain areas to ecological restoration activities.

• Avoiding harvest of especially sensitive timber species.

• Controlling livestock grazing.

c. Appropriate to the scale of the operation, when financially feasible, and when recognized protocols are available, surveys should be carried out for rare, threatened and endangered species, to determine their presence and locations.

6.3. Ecological functions and values shall be maintained intact, enhanced, or restored, including: a) Forest regeneration and succession. b) Genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. c) Natural cycles that affect the productivity of the forest ecosystem.

Primary and late successional forests

This section uses the following definitions:

Type 1 stands are defined as primary stands of at least 20 contiguous acres that display late successional/old-growth characteristics. Primary stands smaller then 20 acres shall be assessed for their ecological significance, and such areas may also be classified as Type 1 stands. Areas containing a low density of existing roads may still be considered Type 1 if the roads have not caused significant negative ecological impacts.

Type 2 stands are defined as primary stands smaller than 20 acres that are not classified as Type 1, and other stands of at least 3 contiguous acres that have been logged, but which retain significant late-successional/old-growth structure and components.

Type 3 forests/stands are defined as managed forests or stands that have residual old-growth trees and/or other late-successional/old-growth characteristics, but do not meet the definition of a Type 2 forest.

Type 4 forests/stands are defined as forests or stands where late-successional/old-growth remnants or characteristics are absent or virtually absent.

  1. A moratorium shall be placed on certification of timber harvesting in Type 1 stands. Timber harvests may be certifiable on Type 1 American Indian lands, in recognition of their sovereignty and unique ownership. Characteristics that support certifiability of Type 1 harvest on American Indian lands may include:
b. Management activities adjacent to Type 1 stands shall be conducted to minimize edge effects and other negative impacts on the ecological integrity of these areas.

c. Timber harvest in Type 2 stands shall maintain late-successional/old-growth structure, functions and components. There shall be no net decline, due to human intervention, in the area of Type 2 stands existing on an ownership at the time of certification. Furthermore, management activities should result in no significant reduction in the quality of Type 2 stands.

d. Timber harvest in Type 3 forest or stands shall maintain or enhance late-successional/ old-growth forest structure, function and components. There shall be no net decline in the area of Type 3 forest or stands existing on an ownership at the time of certification, unless the decline results from Type 3 forest or stands improving to Type 2. Furthermore, management activities should result in no significant reduction in the quality of Type 3 stands.

e. An ecologically significant portion of old growth and late successional trees, such as trees that host epiphytes, bryophytes and other symbionts, shall be retained in Type 2 and Type 3 stands.

f. An ecologically appropriate area of Type 4 forest or stands should be managed in such a way that they progressively attain late-successional/old-growth characteristics. In this context, ecological appropriateness is determined by comparing the representation of successional stages in the present landscape to that on an ecologically appropriate reference landscape, ensuring representation of different successional stages across different site productivity classes.

g. Forest managers are encouraged to maximize interior habitat by grouping any new late-successional/old growth stands in such a way that they are contiguous.

h. When identifying late successional/old growth forest areas, certifiers shall utilize detailed, scientific definitions and indicators of late-successional or old-growth forest, including locally-specific definitions, where such definitions exist (See Appendix E for sources of information).

Retention of other vegetation (Please refer to section 6.3B for live tree retention requirements)

i. Forest managers shall retain (or, if absent, recruit) sufficient woody debris to protect and sustain associated populations of native plant, fungus and animal species, as well as overall ecosystem function. Appropriate quantities and quality of debris will vary depending on the region and site. In many dry regions, debris in the range of 10 tons per acre will be appropriate. In wetter regions, debris should be in the range of 20 tons per acre. Debris should be well distributed spatially and by size and decay class, with a goal of 4 to 12 large pieces (approximately 20" diameter X 15' length) per acre. Precise goals will vary by region, though any significant departure from the goals put forward here should be based on scientific information appropriate to the region and site, including comparison with an appropriate reference ecosystem.

j. Forest managers shall retain sufficient snags and/or granary trees that are large enough and of adequate quality to protect native snag-dependent plant, fungus and animal species and populations, as well as overall ecosystem functions. The appropriate number and quality of snags for achieving these goals will vary depending on the region and site. In general, a range of 3-10 snags per acre (averaged over 10 acres) may be appropriate. Snags should be well distributed spatially (recognizing any natural tendency for clumping), by size, species and by decay class. Where insufficient snags exist, trees to be recruited as snags shall be identified and protected. Precise goals will vary by region, though any significant departure from the goals put forward here should be based on science appropriate to the region and site, including comparison with an appropriate reference ecosystem.

k. Green trees and other vegetation should be retained around snags, down woody debris, and other retention components, to ensure that the retention components provide viable habitats, and to protect the snags from wind throw.

l. Native hardwoods and understory vegetation should be retained, as needed, to maintain and/or restore the natural species mix and forest structure over time.

6.3B. Primary forests, well-developed secondary forests, and sites of major environmental, social or cultural significance shall be maintained, conserved and/or restored. Management activities shall not significantly modify the character and function of the forest, nor significantly degrade the structure or ecological complexity of the forest ecosystem.

1. Natural regeneration is the preferred method of forest regeneration where it is possible. Tree planting is allowed to supplement natural regeneration, fill gaps, or contribute to the conservation of genetic resources. Tree planting shall not significantly alter the structure, composition, or biological diversity of the forest ecosystem except for the purpose of restoring more natural forest conditions.

a. Forest management units that include planted stands may be certified as natural forests (non-plantation forests -- see Plantations in Glossary), where the character and composition of forests native to that area will eventually be achieved, and where chemical inputs and environmentally damaging site preparation techniques are not required for successful regeneration and growth.

b. Where planting occurs, native seed stock should be used. At maturity, species diversity and spacing should be consistent with an appropriate reference ecosystem.

2. Management activities in natural and well-developed secondary forests that cause temporary and/or slight modifications must retain the character and functions of the forest, be consistent with historic, non-catastrophic, natural disturbance regimes, and preserve species mix, biological diversity, age classes, and forest structure within both the landscape and stand levels.

a. Uneven-aged management (see glossary) is generally preferable, particularly where it results in less adverse environmental impact than even-aged management, and where it permits satisfactory regeneration.

b. Even-aged management (see glossary) is permitted where it is appropriate to non-catastrophic natural disturbance and regeneration processes; where management interventions occur at sufficiently long temporal and dispersed spatial scales to avoid environmental impacts, and where forest type maintenance and enhancement indicators 6.3.a. through 6.3.e are complied with.

c. Harvest openings should be no larger than necessary to achieve regeneration of the species being managed. Openings should be spaced a distance at least equal to length of the opening. A regeneration harvest should only take place when adjacent trees on all sides have attained an average height of 20 or 30 feet.

d. Regeneration harvest openings larger than 2.5 acres shall retain sufficient live trees in individual harvest units at minimum levels described in Table 1, to maintain ecological functions and elements of forest structure and diversity (see Table 1). Larger regeneration units should retain a progressively higher proportion of their pre-harvest basal area, such that the largest openings are effectively uneven-aged. Retained trees should represent an appropriate diversity of species, emphasize larger size classes and be distributed in an ecologically appropriate combination of dispersed and clumped retention. The appropriate level of green tree retention will vary by region and site, but should adhere to the general principles set forth here.

Size of Regeneration Harvest Unit
Minimum Basal Area Retention (%)
< 2.5
2.51 – 5
5.1 – 10
10.1 – 20
20.1 – 30
30.1 – 40
40.1 – 50
50.1 – 60
e. Any substantial departure below these targets for retention within even-aged harvest units should be justified with ecological science information that is relevant to the region and site.

f. Because uneven-aged systems are designed to continuously maintain trees throughout the managed forest, the need for permanent retention within harvest units is reduced, but not eliminated. Generally, a portion of the standing trees (e.g., 5-10 trees per acre) within uneven-aged harvest units should be permanently reserved from harvest.

g. The within-harvest unit retention requirements (6.3B.2.d., Table 1, and/or 6.3B.2.f.) shall be combined with permanent set-aside requirements, so that at least 15% of the FMU is permanently retained in an ecologically appropriate combination of aggregate and dispersed retention, in a design that fully represents all ecological conditions, site productivity classes and watershed management units. The retention will be designed in buffers, islands, clumps, and dispersed trees that will be allowed to mature and senesce, in order to maintain forest functions, wildlife habitat, biological legacies, biodiversity, and watershed quality characteristics. This provision shall not replace the forest type maintenance and enhancement requirements specified under indicators 6.3.a.-e.

h. Permanent retention required under 6.3B.c. through 6.3B.g. should be appropriately distributed in conservation zones and harvest areas and should emphasize large trees, especially heritage (residual old growth) trees, where present.

i. Following catastrophic disturbance events (e.g., windstorm, crown fire, pest epidemics) even-aged harvest units may be considered which are larger and in a different configuration than the limits specified in 6.3B.2.c and d, provided that such openings are created in keeping with a restoration plan that conforms to Principles 1-9 and places particular emphasis on minimizing adverse soil disturbance.

j. Forest managers should favor the use of longer (biological and ecological) even-aged rotations and uneven-aged target ages over the use of shorter (economic) even-aged rotations or uneven-aged target areas (See Glossary for definitions of rotation/target age types). Under even-aged systems, growing stands to biological maturity (i.e., CMAI) or longer is preferred. However, forest managers and certifiers may apply this standard flexibly, employing shorter rotations accompanied by greater levels of retention or other measures designed to maintain natural forest structure and composition. To achieve a regulated forest structure with desirable stand and landscape characteristics over time, average annual harvest levels should ideally not exceed 2 percent of inventory (averaged over rolling 10-year periods). For ownerships with infrequent harvesting patterns, periodic harvests should not exceed periodic increment so as to maintain or build standing inventories.

3. Management activities in natural and semi-natural forests may result in significant modifications of the species mix, biological diversity, age classes, and forest structures only if such activities are expected to restore the forest toward more natural forest conditions within a reasonable time frame.

a. Restoring forests may sometimes require removing flora that has become dominant due to past management practices. Removals shall be accompanied by management practices that will prevent the problem from recurring. The scope and timing of removals shall be limited to protect overall habitat values and other resources.

b. Forest managers should identify appropriate, site-specific fuels management practices, based on natural fire regimes, risk of wildfire and potential economic, public safety, environmental and ecological consequences of wildfire.

6.4. Representative samples of existing ecosystems within the landscape shall be protected in their natural state and recorded on maps, appropriate to the scale and intensity of operations and the uniqueness of the affected resources.

a. Forest management shall minimize cumulative negative impacts to the ecosystem and landscape, and should take into account the distinctiveness and conservation status of the forest type (See Appendix D).

b. Forest management, especially on larger ownerships, shall contribute toward the implementation of scientifically credible regional and local landscape-level biodiversity plans that provide for the conservation and recovery of specific species and entire ecosystems. Managers of smaller ownerships should participate in any appropriate watershed-based conservation initiatives.

c. Forested ownerships and evaluation units, especially larger holdings, shall strive to help maintain and restore representative samples of regional forest ecosystems. If relatively undisturbed examples of local forest types and ecosystems are lacking within the local region, including on public land, but are present on the certified ownership, then the most natural stand(s) of the missing forest type/ecosystem in the evaluation should be protected and restored. Stand shapes and locations should be designed to maximize their habitat value for species preferring forest interiors.

d. Priority components of a protected areas system include: large reserves that protect ecologically sensitive sites; riparian buffer zones; culturally significant areas; rare habitats; habitats for rare species; ecologically viable, and representative areas of all forest types and successional phases. The appropriate combination of these elements will be determined by the characteristics of each site.

6.5. Written guidelines shall be prepared and implemented to: control erosion; minimize forest damage during harvesting; road construction; and all other mechanical disturbances; and protect water resources.

Stream protection

a. The purpose of this section, on stream protection, is to guide forest managers in protecting and restoring streams, vernal pools, lakes, wetlands, seeps, springs, and other bodies of water and their associated species. Riparian areas should be managed to maintain water quality and temperature, hydrologic processes, clean spawning gravel and the integrity of stream structure, such as pools favored by anadromous fish. To achieve these goals, management in stream zones (as described in 6.5.b.1-2) needs to retain enough large green trees, snags, understory vegetation, down logs and woody debris to provide shade, erosion control and structure (See, for example, NMFS 1996, for indicators of stream habitat condition).

b. The appropriate set of protective measures will depend on factors such as slope, soil stability, upslope silvicultural practices, tree species, stream hydrology and native biotic communities. At a minimum the following provisions shall be adopted by forest managers, except where local conditions indicate that alternative measures would be more ecologically appropriate and/or cost-effective in achieving stream protection goals.

1. Forest managers shall exercise maximum caution within an inner buffer zone of 50-75 feet on both sides of the active high-flow stream channel (unless another width is scientifically justified for the site), particularly on perennial, fish bearing and domestic water supply streams and in open-water/perennial wetlands. In this inner buffer, forest managers should:

• Restrict logging to cases where the primary goal is ecological restoration, or the characteristics of the forest type, site and silvicultural system employed ensure that stream protection goals will not be compromised.

• Use single-tree selection silviculture where logging does occur, in order to advance the growth, retention, and recruitment of large trees in these zones.

• Retain and recruit large live and dead trees for shade and stream structure.

• Maintain 70-85 percent post-harvest canopy closure over permanent, fish-bearing and domestic water supply streams. Avoid canopy opening where pre-harvest cover is less than 70-85 percent.

• Exclude heavy equipment, except to access designated stream crossings, or to minimize overall environmental damage by avoiding sensitive areas outside the inner buffer.

• Avoid mineral soil disturbance where such disturbance will lead to sedimentation of streams, and mulch and seed any exposed mineral soil patches where necessary to protect water quality, well before the rainy season.

• Avoid activities that have potential to spread pathogens and noxious weeds.

2. Forest managers shall exercise caution, but may operate more freely, within an outer buffer zone with a width in the range of 150 feet on both sides of the active high-flow stream channel of perennial, fish bearing and domestic water supply streams (unless another width is scientifically justified for the site), and in open-water/perennial wetlands. The buffer shall be in the range of 75 feet for intermittent streams and wetlands smaller than 1 acre. (In other words, lesser streams and small wetlands generally have only the outer buffer, not the maximum-protection inner zone.) In this outer buffer, forest managers should:

• Use single-tree or group selection silviculture.

• Maintain post harvest canopy closure of at least 50 percent. Avoid canopy opening where pre-harvest cover is less than 50 percent.

• Avoid constructing or reconstructing roads.

• Avoid mineral soil disturbance where such disturbance will lead to sedimentation of streams, and mulch and seed any exposed mineral soil patches, where necessary to protect water quality, well before the rainy season.

c. Forest managers shall exercise caution within the broader flood plain, as a defined by 200-year flood levels, in order to maintain the full range of flood plain functions.

d. Domestic animal grazing in stream channels and sensitive forested wetlands, which is under the legal control of forest landowners, shall not result in channel bank erosion and removal of riparian vegetation. Logs shall not be dragged through or across watercourses, except at established well-designed, designated crossings that avoid sedimentation and other adverse impacts on the watercourse. No road fill shall be deposited in streams as a result of construction or maintenance activities. Similar protection should be given to sensitive forested wetlands.

e. Old road crossings, dams, and other man-made structures, which impede fish passage shall be removed or modified to enable passage, taking any legal or environmental constraints into account.


Roads and operations

f. The purpose of this section, on roads and operations, is to guide forest managers in minimizing habitat fragmentation, damage to the residual stand and erosion that can occur in the process of falling and transporting trees. These goals overlap with the stream protection goals, but also extend to protection of a broader set of environmental elements, both inside and outside of stream zones. As with the stream protection provisions, the quantitative and qualitative targets presented here are broadly applicable indicators. Forests managers may need to adapt these standards based on region- or site-specific factors, though any significant deviation shall be based on science appropriate to the region and site.

g. Appropriate to the scale of operations, topographic maps should be prepared showing roads, skid and cable trails, landings, stream crossings and drainage structures.

h. Roads, landings, and skid and cable trails shall be planned, constructed, maintained and, if necessary reworked so as to minimize adverse soil disturbance and habitat fragmentation. This infrastructure should occupy a target of 10 percent or less of the forested area under management. Road networks should avoid unstable slopes, riparian buffers, and other inappropriate areas. Roads and skid and cable trails shall have the minimum width that is both safe and technically practicable.

i. Roads used only one year out of many, which are not needed for fire emergency access, should be temporarily decommissioned before the rainy season by restricting access, removing cross drains, outsloping the road bed (where necessary) and seeding and mulching exposed soil. Roads no longer to be used should be permanently decommissioned by removing bridges and cross drains, recontouring and revegetating slopes, and re-establishing former drainage patterns. Permanent roads should include year-round erosion control structures, and, in non-snow areas, be managed under a winter maintenance plan.

j. Forest managers should avoid construction of new roads, especially on steep and/or unstable slopes, unless they will reduce overall environmental impacts. Roads constructed across slopes in excess of 60 percent should be full bench cuts with minimal non-structural sidecast, unless alternate construction techniques result in reduced risk of road failure.

k. Skid trails should be pre-planned, identified and, where appropriate, clearly marked in the forest, especially on slopes greater than 40 percent. Pre-construction of any skid trails is encouraged on slopes in excess of 60 percent.

l. Cable or helicopter yarding should be used on slopes greater than 50 percent, unless such methods are technically unfeasible or lead to greater overall environmental impacts. Forest managers should adjust this 50 percent slope limit downward on very unstable ground.

m. Areas of high landslide risk (considering factors such as slope, soil and convexity), where logging will appreciably increase that risk, should not be logged.

n. Trees should be felled in the direction of skid/cable trails so as to minimize damage associated with log extraction.

o. Log landings shall be limited to the smallest practicable and safe area. Natural landings should be used where possible. Landings should be sloped so as to divert runoff to non-erosive areas. After use, landings should be seeded and mulched or covered with slash to avoid erosion.

p. The amount of land affected by forest product processing facilities shall also be limited as much as is feasible, with facilities placed in less environmentally sensitive portions of the ownership.

q. Non-forest land uses, including residential and commercial development, shall be limited to the smallest possible percentage of the forested ownership.

6.6. Management systems shall promote the development and adoption of environmentally friendly non-chemical methods of pest management and strive to avoid the use of chemical pesticides. World Health Organization Type 1A and 1B and chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides; pesticides that are persistent, toxic or whose derivatives remain biologically active and accumulate in the food chain beyond their intended use; as well as any pesticides banned by international agreement, shall be prohibited. If chemicals are used, proper equipment and training shall be provided to minimize health and environmental risks.

a. Chemical pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides shall not be used, except where non-chemical pest/disease management practices that are less environmentally hazardous have proven ineffective. Exceptions shall not be made for routine chemical use, but only for restoration purposes (e.g., control of exotic pests), and shall be subject to on-going monitoring and adaptive management. The management plan should provide for the eventual elimination of chemicals.

b. Where chemicals are used, those that are least environmentally hazardous shall be employed. Chemicals shall not be used which cannot be targeted at specific species, are likely to change natural species composition, are persistent in the soils or the environment in general, or are likely to accumulate in the food chain.

c. Use of chemicals for any purpose shall be limited over time and space to the minimum necessary. Any application of chemicals shall minimize contact with non-target species. Employees shall receive proper equipment and training for handling, applying and storing chemicals. Chemicals shall not be used where they pose a risk to domestic water supplies or aquatic habitats, or where they would impact sensitive native plant, animal, or fungus species.

d. Fertilizers should not be used, except where it is determined that overall goals of ecosystem restoration and environmental quality will be furthered by their use.

6.7. Chemicals, chemical containers, liquid and solid non-organic wastes, including fuel and oil, shall be disposed of in an environmentally appropriate manner at off-site locations.

a. If disposal of chemicals or washing of chemical containers is necessary, it shall be done at officially designated hazardous waste dumping or recycling stations. Employees shall receive proper equipment for disposing of chemicals.

6.8. Use of biological control agents shall be documented, minimized, monitored and strictly controlled in accordance with national laws and internationally accepted scientific protocols. Use of genetically modified organisms shall be prohibited.

a. Exotic pest predators or natural control agents may be used as part of an integrated pest management strategy for exotic plant, animal, insect or pathogen pests, where more other, non-chemical silvicultural or pest management approaches have proven, or can reasonably be expected to prove, ineffective. Such use shall be based on peer-reviewed scientific validation that it is safe.

6.9. The use of exotic species shall be carefully controlled and actively monitored to avoid adverse ecological impacts.

a. Use of invasive exotic plants shall not be permitted. Forest managers should take steps to control invasive exotic species that have become established on the evaluation unit. Non-invasive exotics may be used for erosion control and other purposes under limited circumstances, where alternative methods have proven ineffective. Before using exotics, forest managers shall clearly document their non-invasiveness, based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence.

6.10. Forest conversion to plantations or non-forest land uses shall not occur, except in circumstances where conversion:
a) entails a very limited portion of the forest management unit; and

b) does not occur on high conservation value forest areas; and
c) will enable clear, substantial, additional, secure, long term
conservation benefits across the forest management unit.



Principle 7. A management plan -- appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations -- shall be written, implemented, and kept up to date. The long-term objectives of management, and the means of achieving them, shall be clearly stated.

a. A written management plan, at least in preliminary form, shall be a precondition for certification. Adequate preliminary plans should contain basic, reliable estimates of forest growth and yield. Fully developed management plans shall be completed within a reasonable period of time.

7.1. The management plan and supporting documents shall provide:

(A) Management objectives.

(B) Description of the forest resources to be managed, environmental limitations, land use and ownership status, socio-economic conditions, and a profile of adjacent lands.

(C) Description of silvicultural and/or other management system, based on the ecology of the forest in question and information gathered through resource inventories.

(D) Rationale for rate of annual harvest and species selection.

(E) Provisions for monitoring of forest growth and dynamics.

(F) Environmental safeguards based on environmental assessments.

(G) Plans for the identification and protection of rare, threatened and endangered species.

(H) Maps describing the forest resource base including protected areas, planned management activities and land ownership.

(I) Description and justification of harvesting techniques and equipment to be used.

a. Management plans shall be sufficiently comprehensive and specific to meet and address the goals and requirements of these regional standards.

b. Common management plans for group certification may be developed for multiple evaluation units, provided that the plans adequately address site-specific concerns.

c. Appropriate to the scale of the operation, management plans shall address the full range of forest resources currently found in the unit, shall identify how these resources compare with those that would be found in an ecologically appropriate reference ecosystem and shall guide management towards those reference conditions over time.

d. Appropriate to the scale of the operation, management plans shall identify resource values and sites that need restoration, and develop a restoration schedule.

e. Management plans shall discuss forest resource conditions that can be expected to result from the proposed management practices at 10, 50 and 100-year time horizons.

f. If not adequately addressed in the management plan, written harvesting plans should be prepared. Such plans may cover topics such as pre-harvest inventory, tree marking, skid trail planning and marking, pre-harvest silvicultural activities, seed tree designation, tree planting, impact assessments and closure of harvest areas.

7.2. The management plan shall be periodically revised to incorporate the results of monitoring or new scientific and technical information, as well as to respond to changing environmental, social and economic circumstances.

a. Management plans shall be updated every 10 years, or the harvest entry frequency on the ownership, whichever is longer.

7.3. Forest workers shall receive adequate training and supervision to ensure proper implementation of the management plan.

7.4. While respecting the confidentiality of information, forest managers shall make publicly available a summary of the primary elements of the management plan, including those listed in Criterion 7.1.


Principle 8. Monitoring shall be conducted -- appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management -- to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.

8.1. The frequency and intensity of monitoring should be determined by the scale and intensity of forest management operations as well as the relative complexity and fragility of the affected environment. Monitoring procedures should be consistent and replicable over time to allow comparison of results and assessment of change.

a. Potential environmental changes to be monitored include impacts on water supply and quality, terrestrial and aquatic habitats, species populations, ecosystem function, soil quality and the resistance of forest stands to natural disturbances, including fire and pests. A more thorough list of monitoring indicators and methods is included in Appendix G. That list is not intended to be applied in its entirety to all ownerships, but is indicative of the types of measurements that could be used to assess changes in forest conditions.

b. Potential social impacts to be monitored include the distribution of benefits and harm among particular groups and individuals as a result of forest management activities. This monitoring should consider both short- and long-term impacts. In particular, the influence of forest management on the sustainability of forest-based livelihoods in the area should be monitored, especially in the case of large forest holdings. Monitoring of social impacts should consider past, as well as projected social changes related to forest management.

c. Inventories noted under section 8.2, below, shall be updated over periods not to exceed ten years, or the harvest frequency on the ownership, whichever is longer. Key natural indicators should be monitored and data collected prior to and during the first few years after natural or human-caused disturbance takes place on 10% or more of the management unit. Attention will be directed toward those locations that contain significant natural indicators and/or species (See Appendix G).

8.2. Forest management should include the research and data collection needed to monitor, at a minimum, the following indicators:

(A) Yield of all forest products harvested.

(B) Growth rates, regeneration and condition of the forest.

(C) Composition and observed changes in the flora and fauna.

(D) Environmental and social impacts of harvesting and other operations.

(E) Costs, productivity, and efficiency of forest management.

a. Data collected shall be made available to the certifier who is assessing the given forest evaluation unit.

b. Data collected in keeping with subcriterion 8.2(B) shall include basic inventories of a full range of forest vegetation, including commercial and noncommercial species, as well as information on forest structure and soils. Technical and financial constraints to data collection maybe taken into consideration in applying this provision, particularly on smaller ownerships.

c. Data collected in keeping with subcriteria 8.2(C) and (D) should be appropriate to the scale and intensity of operations. Emphasis may be placed on monitoring vertebrates, flowering plants, and other species groups that are relatively practical to survey. Forest managers should collect information on vulnerable species: federal and state threatened and endangered species, species listed on the Nature Conservancy's natural heritage databases, plants listed by native plant societies, and species which are candidates for listing. Non-listed species scientifically recognized to be indicators of overall ecosystem integrity, or to be especially sensitive to forest management, should also be assessed. Technical and financial constraints to data collection may be taken into consideration in applying this standard, particularly on smaller ownerships.

d. Data collected in keeping with Criterion 8.2(D) should include information on water quality, stream structure, sources of sedimentation (including upslope erosion), and the effectiveness of riparian buffer zones. Permanent and periodically used roads should be subject to a year-round monitoring and maintenance program.

8.3. Documentation shall be provided by the forest manager to enable monitoring and certifying organizations to trace each forest product from its origin, a process known as the "chain of custody."

8.4. The results of monitoring shall be incorporated into the implementation and revision of the management plan.

a. Forest managers shall consider how conditions at the time of monitoring compare both with natural conditions and with conditions when the evaluation unit was first certified, and shall adapt their management and subsequent monitoring accordingly.

8.5. While respecting the confidentiality of information, forest managers shall make publicly available a summary of the results of monitoring indicators, including those listed in Criterion 8.2.


Principle 9. Management activities in high conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes that define such forests. Decisions regarding high conservation value forests shall always be considered in the context of a precautionary approach.

Classification of a forest as a high conservation value forest (HCVF) may or may not preclude active management of the forest. In addition to the forest types listed in sections a) through d) of the HCVF definition, HCVFs in the Pacific Coast region include:

• forest types listed in Appendix D (i.e., critically endangered, endangered, and threatened ecosystems in the region), unless further refined by consultations with heritage programs, local native plant societies, local experts and NGOs; primary, old-growth and late successional forests (see Criterion 6.3);

• roadless areas (areas that have never had logging roads, skid trails, etc.) larger than 500 acres or that have unique attributes;

• habitat areas and restoration areas for rare, threatened or endangered species;

• catchment areas that provide water supplies to municipalities;

• buffers and corridors within landscape level plans that are critical to the maintenance of processes and functions of high conservation value areas (see also criteria 6.3 - 6.5); and

• forests that contain native grasslands, wetlands and other ecologically important non-forested sites within the forest.

Note: The status of HCVFs on American Indian lands will require special consultation between certifying teams and the affected tribe or nation.

9.1. Assessment to determine the presence of the attributes consistent with High Conservation Value Forests will be completed, appropriate to scale and intensity of forest management.

a. HCVFs in and adjacent to the forest management unit shall be identified and documented.

9.2. The consultative portion of the certification process must place emphasis on the identified conservation attributes, and options for the maintenance thereof.

9.3. The management plan shall include and implement specific measures that ensure the maintenance and/or enhancement of the applicable conservation attributes consistent with the precautionary approach. These measures shall be specifically included in the publicly available management plan summary.

9.4. Annual monitoring shall be conducted to assess the effectiveness of the measures employed to maintain or enhance the applicable conservation attributes.



Principle 10. Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1 - 9, and Principle 10 and its Criteria. While plantations can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute to satisfying the world's needs for forest products, they should complement the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.

a. In the Pacific Coast region, plantations are certifiable only when: 1) they are being restored to natural forest conditions, that they meet the requirements of Principles 1 – 9 for managed natural forests over time; or 2) they comprise a small percent of the landscape, contribute to the landowner’s economic diversification, and meet the standards below for modified plantations.

b. The determination of whether forest stands are plantations or not should be made on the basis of stand-level conditions, as well as management intentions, FMU-level patterns, and landscape level patterns.

c. FMUs that contain plantations shall meet the following provisions:

i) Management actions work towards the development of complex forest structures and restore natural forest functions at stand and landscape levels;

ii) The forest management unit is being managed such that natural forest attributes exist or will be restored across no less than 90% of the FMU within a reasonable time period (i.e., one rotation length). For small-scale forest ownerships (e.g., <40 acres) with plantations where landscape scale impacts are not a significant issue, some flexibility may be permitted with respect to management goals and techniques.

iii) At the time of certification, operations with more than 10% of the FMU in plantations shall demonstrate that there has been progress toward meeting restoration goals as evidenced by factors including:

d. The restoration of non-forest land to forest cover is encouraged where forests existed historically, provided such lands are not part of a locally threatened ecosystem. Planting of native species is especially encouraged as a first step towards restoring natural forests.

e. All of the following provisions (10.1-10.9 and their indicators) apply to the portion of the FMU that is allowed to be managed as modified plantations, within limitations stated in (a. through d.) above.

10.1. The management objectives of the plantation, including natural forest conservation and restoration objectives, shall be explicitly stated in the management plan, and clearly demonstrated in the implementation of the plan.

10.2. The design and layout of plantations should promote the protection, restoration and conservation of natural forests, and not increase pressures on natural forests. Wildlife corridors, streamside zones and a mosaic of stands of different ages and rotation periods, shall be used in the layout of the plantation, consistent with the scale of the operation. The scale and layout of plantation blocks shall be consistent with the patterns of forest stands found within the natural landscape.

a. The selection and layout of plantation management units within the FMU shall: 1) provide buffers for species with large habitat needs; 2) reduce forest fragmentation over a long term; 3) increase the proportion of late successional species in the forest over a long term; and 4) enhance water quality at the forest level. Plantations shall not adversely affect primary or late successional forests; habitat areas of rare, threatened, or endangered species; habitat areas needed for imperiled species recovery; or roadless areas.

10.3. Diversity in the composition of plantations is preferred, so as to enhance economic, ecological and social stability. Such diversity may include the size and spatial distribution of management units within the landscape, number and genetic composition of species, age classes and structures.

a. Where only a single commercial tree species is planted, the rationale for planting and managing the stand as a monoculture shall be justified by site conditions.

  1. Natural vegetation, natural regeneration, and structural complexity should be promoted in plantations.
10.4. The selection of species for planting shall be based on their overall suitability for the site and their appropriateness to the management objectives. In order to enhance the conservation of biological diversity, native species are preferred over exotic species in the establishment of plantations and the restoration of degraded ecosystems. Exotic species, which shall be used only when their performance is greater than that of native species, shall be carefully monitored to detect unusual mortality, disease, or insect outbreaks and adverse ecological impacts.

a. Species native to the site should be used in plantations, except where soil and vegetative conditions would prevent successful regeneration. Species not native to the site shall be non-invasive.

10.5. A proportion of the overall forest management area, appropriate to the scale of the plantation and to be determined in regional standards, shall be managed so as to restore the site to a natural forest cover.

a. Plantation stands shall demonstrate continuously higher biodiversity value, and continuously more natural conditions over time.

10.6. Measures shall be taken to maintain or improve soil structure, fertility, and biological activity. The techniques and rate of harvesting, road and trail construction and maintenance, and the choice of species shall not result in long term soil degradation or adverse impacts on water quality, quantity or substantial deviation from stream course drainage patterns.

a. Mechanical site preparation shall not be allowed where erosion, landslide, habitat degradation, or other adverse environmental impacts are likely.

10.7. Measures shall be taken to prevent and minimize outbreaks of pests, diseases, fire and invasive plant introductions. Integrated pest management shall form an essential part of the management plan, with primary reliance on prevention and biological control methods rather than chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Plantation management should make every effort to move away from chemical pesticides and fertilizers, including their use in nurseries. The use of chemicals is also covered in Criteria 6.6 and 6.7.

10.8. Appropriate to the scale and diversity of the operation, monitoring of plantations shall include regular assessment of potential on-site and off-site ecological and social impacts, (e.g. natural regeneration, effects on water resources and soil fertility, and impacts on local welfare and social well-being), in addition to those elements addressed in principles 8, 6 and 4. No species should be planted on a large scale until local trials and/or experience have shown that they are ecologically well adapted to the site, are not invasive, and do not have significant negative ecological impacts on other ecosystems.

10.9. Plantations established in areas converted from natural forests after November 1994 normally shall not qualify for certification. Certification may be allowed in circumstances where sufficient evidence is submitted to the certification body that the manager/owner is not responsible directly or indirectly of such conversion.




Given the importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the Pacific Coast regional economy, these standards provide the following guidance for assessing forest management on those lands where NTFPs will be harvested (with or without associated timber harvest). NTFPs in this region shall be managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1-10, and the following provisions.

Harvest of NTFPs usually have lower impacts on the forest ecosystem than timber harvesting, can provide an array of social and economic benefits, particularly to community operations, and can therefore be an important component of forest ecosystem management. NTFPs require special management and monitoring in order to ensure the long-term viability of species and to minimize adverse social and ecological impacts.

1. The management plan must identify and provide specific guidelines for each NTFP species or species group that is considered for commercial harvest, and identify the most important NTFPs for subsistence use.

a. If commercial and/or subsistence NTFP harvesting will occur, the management plan shall include an inventory and plan that considers the relationship between management plans for wood products and management for nontimber resources.

2. Management plans, operational activities and monitoring shall ensure long term ecological viability of NTFP populations harvested for commercial and/or subsistence use. Management systems should address the ecological processes of, and implement activities to minimize the ecological impacts of harvesting on, various types of NTFPs, including, but not limited to:

• products that require the removal of the individual

• products that affect the species' growth or productivity

• products that, when harvested, cause damage to trees or other forest products

• products critical to nutrient cycling

• products with high wildlife value

• products with very specific ecological interdependencies

• products harvested for subsistence use

a. Harvest of NTFPs shall not result in negative cumulative impacts on forest structure, function or components.

3. Management plans that prioritize timber production should include specific provisions to describe and minimize short and long-term impacts on NTFPs harvested for commercial and/or subsistence use.

4. The management plan shall address the social and economic impacts of NTFP management, including subsistence utilization and traditional harvesting practices, and shall respect the cultural and religious significance of NTFPs to local and indigenous communities.

5. NTFP harvesting methods and levels must be appropriate to the species or species group, and should reflect scientific, local and/or indigenous knowledge.

6. The monitoring of timber harvesting should evaluate impacts on non-timber resources harvested for commercial and/or subsistence use and the forest ecosystem. Monitoring should also include the impacts of non-timber forest products on timber resources.

7. In addition to Criterion 3.4, indigenous and local communities should receive fair and adequate benefits for any use of their name or image in marketing. Whenever local or indigenous knowledge is the basis of an NTFP-related patent, the affected community should receive fair and adequate benefits.

Definition: NTFPs: All biotic products other than timber harvested from forests for subsistence and/or for trade. NTFPs may come from primary and natural forests, secondary forests, and forest plantations, as defined by FSC regional working groups.


Biological rotation: The rotation length that approximates minimum biological maturity of trees and even-aged stands, and maximizes the physical volume of wood production over time (Culmination of mean annual increment is used as a rough proxy for biological rotation age here).

Conversion: Modifications of the physiognomy, species and biodiversity, structure, and dynamics of a forest, produced by management activities or non-forest land uses, which result in a significant reduction in the species, biodiversity, or other measures of forest complexity over time. Conversions include, but are not limited to, the creation of non-forested areas on forest sites. (Note: this is the definition that was most recently proposed by the FSC working group on conversions.)

Culmination of mean annual increment (CMAI): The peak average yearly growth in volume of trees or a forest stand, calculated by dividing the total volume by the age of the stand.

Down woody debris: Wood from fallen trees or branches that lie on the forest floor and may provide important microhabitat and perform nutrient cycling functions. Commonly categorized as large/coarse or fine woody debris.

Ecological rotation: The rotation length at which the stand begins to approximate the full ecological functions of a natural native stand. Definitions of old-growth ages are used here as indicators of ecological rotation length.

Economic rotation: The rotation length that maximizes the financial gain (net present value) associated with timber management. Economic rotations are shorter than either biological or ecological rotations.

Evaluation unit: The portion of an ownership where forest management planning and operations are being evaluated through third-party certification.

Even-aged management: A set of silvicultural systems oriented toward harvesting and regenerating new stands of trees of uniform age on a periodic basis, employing one or more harvest entry. Clear-cutting, seed-tree and shelterwood systems are even-aged management systems. Some modified forms of even-aged management are certifiable under these standards, while many traditional even-aged management practices are not.

Forest management unit (FMU): a unit of forest under a certificate, including areas used for timber harvest, for non-timber forest products harvest, and all non-extractive ‘set aside’ areas. In large forests, the FMU may be a district, which is part of the total ownership. In smaller forests, the FMU is usually the entire forest.

Heritage trees: Old-growth trees which are vestiges of an original, pre-management stand or forest. Protection of heritage trees may provide important ecological functions in a stand, forest or landscape that has been converted to secondary forest.

Indigenous peoples: Recognized members of American Indian tribes by those particular tribes. American Indian, or Native American, tribes are understood in this document as American Indian tribes, nations or bands, and may include groups that have not been officially recognized by the Federal government. Members may include persons who have married into, or been adopted by American Indian families.

Interior habitat: An area within a forest which is characterized by a micro-climate distinct from that outside the forest, and/or characterized by the relative absence of biophysical phenomena and biotic communities associated with forest edges and exteriors.

Invasive species: A species capable of rapid reproduction and spatial expansion, which may displace more specialized native species and/or is difficult to eradicate. Invasive species are of particular ecological concern if they are exotic to the area in question.

Late successional: Forest in old-growth or mature seral stages.

Management unit: A unit of forest land which has been defined, usually by the landowner, to facilitate forest management planning and operations. Management units are often subsets of individual ownerships and evaluation units.

Mature seral stage: Forest stands which have surpassed the culmination of mean annual increment, where height growth is slowing, crowns are expanding and stand diversity is increasing. Hiding cover, thermal cover, and some forage may be present.

Natural: Forest conditions, biological diversity, and ecosystem functions, both on a site-specific and landscape scale, as they could have been expected to occur prior to European settlement, including as indicated by remaining primary forests. Natural forests include most or all of their expected plant and animal species, forest structure, and ecosystem processes, given their location, site characteristics, and disturbance/successional history. This definition recognizes that forest conditions do not remain static over long periods of time and that American Indians often modified forest conditions prior to European settlement. Areas most heavily managed or impacted by American Indians should not be used as a baseline for determining natural conditions.

Natural forests (defined by FSC A.C.): Forest areas where most of the principal characteristics and key elements of native ecosystems such as complexity, structure and diversity are present, as defined by FSC-approved national and regional standards of forest management.

Old-growth: The seral stage after mature, which is the potential plant community capable of existing on a site, given the frequency of natural disturbance events. In forests of the Pacific region, old growth often begins around age 200 and continues until a stand replacing event takes place. Depending on the frequency and intensity of disturbances, and site conditions, old-growth forest will have different structures, species compositions, and age distributions.

Ownership: All forest lands held by an individual, business, or other entity, including subsidiaries or other closely held entities, as well as forest lands held by any parent companies and their closely held entities.

Percent of inventory: See "Volume control," below.

Plantation (defined by FSC A.C.): tree-dominated vegetated areas in which human intervention, through planting or intensive silvicultural treatments, has yielded conditions in which only a few of the characteristics of the indigenous natural forest ecosystem remain.

Plantation (defined by Pacific Coast Working Group): tree-dominated areas substantially lacking in natural forest attributes (e.g., structure and species composition native to the area) and that usually require regular human intervention. A "planted forest" is not necessarily a "plantation," since it may attain natural forest attributes. In the Pacific Coast region, any of the following characteristics may indicate that a forest is a conventional plantation (though not necessarily one that is certifiable):

• Cultivation of exotic species.

• Use of even-aged silviculture for forest types that do not regenerate naturally through stand-replacing events.

• Use of even-aged silviculture with rotations of less than 60 years.

• Use of even-aged regeneration units larger than those specified under criterion 9.2.

• Systematic use of and reliance on chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.

• Single-species plantings on sites normally occupied by multiple-species forests.

• Regular, periodic stand treatments intended to eliminate natural in-growth of native trees and associated ground vegetation.

Primary forest (defined by FSC A.C.): an ecosystem characterized by an abundance of mature trees, relatively undisturbed by human activity. Human impacts in such forest areas have normally been limited to low levels of hunting, fishing and harvesting of forest products, and, in some cases, to low density, shifting agriculture with prolonged fallow periods. Such ecosystems are also referred to as "mature," "old-growth" or "virgin" forests. (further details will be addressed by FSC-approved national and regional standards of forest management)

Primary forest (defined by Pacific Coast Working Group): In addition to the FSC P&C's definition of primary forests, primary forests are defined as highly natural forests of any age, arising through natural regeneration after natural disturbance. Primary forests have not been commercially logged or otherwise significantly altered by industrial society. Should this definition conflict with the definition used by the FSC P&C, this definition shall rule.

Rotation length: The interval of time between one regeneration harvest and the next regeneration harvest. The stand age and the rotation length are the same if new trees are successfully established the same year that the existing stand is harvested. Rotations are associated with even-aged management.

Secondary forests (defined by FSC A.C.): the ecosystems that regenerate from a substantial disturbance (flood, fire, land clearing or extensive and intensive logging) characterized by a scarcity of mature trees and an abundance of pioneer species and a dense understory of saplings and herbaceous plants. Although secondary forests frequently peak in terms of biomass accumulation well within one felling cycle, the transition to primary forests usually requires several rotation lengths, depending upon the severity of the original disturbance. Irreversible transformation of the underlying soil and nutrient cycle brought about by chronic or intense use may render it impossible for the original, primary forest type to return. (further details will be addressed by FSC-approved national and regional standards of forest management)

Secondary forest (defined by the Pacific Coast Working Group): Secondary forests are defined as forests that regenerated naturally or with only minor artificial regeneration on sites which were significantly altered by human intervention, including through logging, farming, or grazing. Should this definition conflict with the definition used by the FSC P&C, this definition shall rule.

Snag: Generally, standing dead tree, which may provide important habitat for particular species (e.g., cavity-nesting birds).

Target age: The age of the oldest age-class of trees in uneven-aged management systems. The definitions of "economic," "biological," and "ecological" target ages are parallel to the rotation length definitions, above, though the time required to attain these target ages may differ from those for the parallel rotations lengths, due to the differences in management systems.

Uneven-aged management: A set of silvicultural systems oriented toward harvesting and regenerating a forest where tree ages vary at the stand level. Single-tree selection and some group selection systems are uneven-aged management systems.

Volume control: One of several methods of regulating harvest based on the volume and growth of the current or future forest inventory. The appropriate cut can be expressed as a percent of the standing inventory (POI), or in relation to the periodic volume increment.


The following list of laws, treaties, agreements, and other policies are provided to facilitate use of the regional standards, including in relation to FSC Principle 1. While a reasonable effort has been made to be inclusive, the following lists should not be assumed to be exhaustive. The status of these laws and other policies are also subject to change over time. Landowners, certifiers, and other parties who are concerned with these and other policies should consult with the appropriate public agencies and private counsel. These lists do not constitute legal advice, nor do they obviate the need for landowners and certifiers to conduct their normal due diligence.

The lists provided below also do not generally include regulations that have been written to implement these and other laws, nor do they include administrative orders, or court decisions and case law. While these regulations and decisions are as important as the treaties and laws listed below, it is not feasible to list them here. Local policies are also too numerous and varied to list here individually; landowners, forest managers, certifiers, and other interested parties should contact the county offices for the counties in which they operate. The following lists also do not include laws, regulations, and other policies that pertain specifically to the management of Federal lands, of other public lands, or of tribal lands held in trust by the Federal government.


International Treaties and Agreements to Which the U.S. is a Signatory:

• Agenda 21, United Nations Convention on Environment & Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro, 1992.

• Forest Principles, UNCED, 1992.

• Convention on Biological Diversity, UNCED, 1992. (The US has signed the Treaty, but Congress has not ratified the signature.)

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

• Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNCED, 1992.

• Various treaties with American Indian Nations, Tribes, and Bands in Washington, Oregon, and California, particularly those which established off-reservation treaty rights. Relevant treaties may include:

• The 1855 Stevens Treaties with the Yakama, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Cayuses, Warm Springs, Wasco, Paiute, and Nez Perce, and the 1854 Medicine Creek Treaty with the Nisqually and other Tribes in Washington and Oregon.

• The 1864 Treaties with the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin in Oregon and California.

• Treaties with the Squaxin Island, Puyallup, Jamestown S'Kallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Lower Elwha S'Klallam, Skokomish, Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattle, Upper Skagit, Tulalip, Makah, Stillaguamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Nooksack, Lummi, Quinalt, and Quilete Tribes in Washington.

• Treaties with the Greenville Maidu, the Mooretown Maidu, Grindstone Creek Nomalaki-Wintu-Wailaki-Nuimok, Jackson Miwok, Lookout Miwok, Pit River Tribe, Redding Wintu/Pit River Tribe, and Montgomery Creek Madesi in California.


Federal Laws and Policies:

• Endangered Species Act.

• Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

• Lacey Act (concerning trade in illegally taken fish, wildlife, or plants).

• Federal Plant Pest Act and the Plant Quarantine Act.

• Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, Office of Science & Technology, 19986.

• Federal Water Pollution Control Act/Clean Water Act.

• Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)/Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act (FEPCA).

• Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), in relation to hazardous chemicals.

• Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as "Superfund").

• Clean Air Act.

• National Historic Preservation Act, including in relation to American Indian sites.

• Occupational Safety & Health Act.

• Federal policy on income taxes, capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, reforestation tax credits, and other relevant taxes.

• Federal business practices law.


State Laws and Policies -- Washington:

• Washington Forest Practices Act.

• Washington fire practices policies.

• Washington Growth Management Act and other State land use policies.

• Washington wildlife law.

• Washington water quality protection policies, including policies and programs implementing the Federal Clean Water Act.

• Washington water resources law.

• Washington policies and programs implementing the Federal Clean Air Act.

• Washington policy on archaeological resources.

• State Environmental Quality Act.

• Washington tax policy, including policies for income taxes, forest land taxes (or, in some cases, open space land taxes), timber excise taxes (or, alternately, the real estate excise tax), and business and occupations taxes.

• Washington business practices law.


State Laws and Policies -- Oregon:

• Oregon Forest Practices Act.

• Oregon fire practices policies.

• Oregon wildlife law, including ORS chs. 496 and 498.

• Oregon land use law and policy, including ORS chs. 92 and 215 (including with regard to land partitions, subdivisions, and permitted land uses) and Oregon Statewide Planning Goals & Guidelines (including Goal 4, Forest Lands; Goal 5 Open Spaces, Scenic & Historic Areas, & Natural Resources; and Goal 6 Air, Water, & Land Resources Quality).

• Oregon water quality protection policies, including policies and programs implementing the Federal Clean Water Act.

• Oregon water resources law, including ORS ch. 537, the Oregon Water Rights Act.

• Oregon policies and programs implementing the Federal Clean Air Act.

• Oregon policy on archaeological resources and cultural sites, including Senate Bill 61, passed by the 1993 Legislature.

• Oregon tax policies, including policies for Income taxes, Personal Property taxes, the Forest Land and Severance Tax (or, alternately, the Western Oregon Small Tract Optional Tax), Timber Harvest taxes, Forest Protection District taxes, and Emergency Fire Protection Assessment.

• Oregon business practices law.


State Laws and Policies -- California:

• Z'berg - Nejedly Forest Practices Act.

• California fire practices policies.

• Timberland Productivity Act.

• California Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

• California Endangered Species Act and Fish & Game Code.

• Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act.

• Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act and other California water quality policies, including those implementing the Federal Clean Water Act.

• California water resources policy, including the Water Code.

• California policies and programs implementing the Federal Clean Air Act.

• California Environmental Quality Act.

• California policy on archaeological sites and cultural resources.

• California tax policies, including policies for income taxes, timberland taxes, and timber yield taxes.

• California business practices law.


Local Policies -- Washington, Oregon, and California:

• County rules or guidelines regarding oak woodlands (particularly applicable to California).

• County land use policies, including general plans (or their functional equivalents) and zoning ordinances (or their functional equivalents)

• Regional (multi-county) land use policies (particularly relevant in Oregon).

• County building codes.

• County tax policies, including policies for income taxes, property taxes, and special assessment districts.



Other standards applicable in the region:

Forest Stewardship Council. Principles and Criteria for Forest Management. March 1996, amended January 1999.

Pacific Certification Council. Certification Requirements/Region Specifications. April 1995 Draft.

Pacific Certification Council. Philosophy of PCC Certification Program. April 1995 Draft.

Pacific Certification Council. Standards for Ecologically Responsible Forest Use. Draft II, September 1996.

Pacific Certified Ecological Forest Products. Certification of Foresters for the PCEFP Process. Prepared by Fred Euphrat, Forest Soil Water, Inc. July 1995 Draft.

Pacific Certified Ecological Forest Products. Evaluation Checklist. 1994.

Pacific Certified Ecological Forest Products. Landowner and Forester Handbook. 1994.

Rainforest Alliance Smartwood Certification Program. Generic Guidelines for Assessing Natural Forest Management. October 1993 Revised Draft.

Rainforest Alliance Smartwood Certification Program. Generic Guidelines for Assessing Forest Plantations. October 1993 Revised Draft.

Rainforest Alliance Smartwood Certification Program. Guidelines for Assessing Forests in Washington.

Rogue Institute for Ecology & Economy. Philosophy of Community Forestry. October 1994.

Scientific Certification Systems. Forest Conservation Program Description & Operations Manual. October 1995.

Scientific Certification Systems. Regionalization of the Forest Conservation Program Evaluation Process: Criteria and Weights, Evaluators, and Peer Reviewers Used in the Evaluation of Big Creek Lumber Company, California. 1996.

Scientific Certification Systems. Standards of Exemplary Forest Management for Small Landowners. Prepared by Robert Hrubes & Associates. March 1996.





Other standards:

IMAFLORA. Standards for NonTimber Forest Products Certification, the Case of Castanha-Do-Brasil and Rubber. August 1995 Version 2.0.

Sigurd Olsen Institute & Smart Wood Certification Program. Lake States Regional Guidelines for Assessing Natural Forest Management. February 1994 Draft.

Silva Forest Foundation. Standards for Ecologically-Responsible Forest Use.




- Bureau of Indian Affairs Local and Regional Offices

- USFS and BLM Local and Regional Offices

- State Historical Preservation Offices

- Historical Records and other Literature

In California:

- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

- California Indian Assistance Program

- Dept. of Housing and Community Development

In Washington:

- Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation

- Department of Natural Resources, Forest Practices Division and Tribal Liaison

In Oregon:

- Oregon Department of Forestry

- State Office of Historic Preservation


The following list, drawn from Noss (1997), contains Pacific Coast region forest communities of high conservation concern, either because they have declined greatly in extent or quality since European settlement or because they are extremely rare for other reasons. Forest communities are grouped by ecoregion, as recognized by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF biological distinctiveness and conservation status ("snapshot assessment 1996, modified by threat") rankings are given for each ecoregion. Data on status of forest communities are from a review of endangered ecosystems in the U.S. published by the National Biological Service (NBS) (Noss et al. 1995 -- See footnote 2), a compilation of rare plant communities in the U.S. published by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) (Grossman et al. 1994), and other sources. Forest communities qualify for the list below if they have declined in area by at least 70% since European settlement, have been severely degraded in quality over at least 70% of their original area, or the community is ranked as critically imperiled (G1) or imperiled (G2) globally by TNC. The status of each community, according to TNC or NBS, is given. For NBS status, CE = critically endangered (>98% decline), E = endangered (85-98% decline), and T = threatened (70-84% decline).

This list is one resource to guide forest managers as they determine the conservation value of a forest. Other resources may include data and lists that have been generated by researchers, local native plant societies and experts, and other NGOs and governmental agencies.

California Montane Chaparral and Woodlands (#71)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Santa Lucia Fir Forest (G2Q)

California Walnut Forest (G2Q)

Bishop Pine Forest (G2Q)

Monterey Pine Forest (G1Q)

Bigcone Douglas-fir Forest (G2Q)

Tecate Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Gowen Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Monterey Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Piute Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

Sargent Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

All native riparian forests (T)

California Coastal Sage and Chaparral (#72)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: N/A

California Walnut Forest (G2Q)

Catalina Ironwood Forest (G2Q)

Bishop Pine Forest (G2Q)

Lyon Cherry Forest (G2Q)

Bigcone Douglas-fir Forest (G2Q)

Island Oak Forest (G1Q)

Tecate Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Cuyamaca Cypress Woodland (G1G2Q)

Torrey Pine Woodland (G1Q)

All woodland on Santa Catalina Island (T)

All native riparian forests (T)

Sierra Nevada Forests (#41)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Endangered

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Baker Cypress Forest (G2Q)

Giant Sequoia Forest (G2Q)

Piute Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

Washoe Pine Woodland (G1Q)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

California Interior Chaparral and Woodlands (#70)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Mature and old-growth Coastal Redwood stands (E)(this item has been modified from the original database)

McNab Cypress Forest (G2Q)

Bishop Pine Forest (G2Q)

Monterey Pine Forest (G1Q)

Valley Oak Forest (G2Q)

Santa Cruz Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Sargent Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

Hinds Walnut Woodland (G1Q)

All native riparian forests (T)

Northern California Coastal Forests (#40)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Critical

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Mature and old-growth Coastal Redwood stands (E)

Bishop Pine Forest (G2Q)

Santa Cruz Cypress Woodland (G1Q)

Pygmy Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

Sargent Cypress Woodland (G2Q)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Klamath-Siskiyou Forests (#39)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Endangered

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

White Fir-Port Orford Cedar/(Oregon Grape)/Vanillaleaf Forest (G2)

White Fir-Port Orford Cedar/Sadler Oak-Leucothe-Rhododendron Forest (G2)

Port Orford Cedar-Douglas-fir/Tanoak-Salal Forest (G2)

Port Orford Cedar-Douglas-fir/Rhododendron/Beargrass Forest (G2)

Port Orford Cedar-Western Hemlock/Salal-Rhododendron Forest (G2)

Port Orford Cedar-Western Hemlock/Swordfern Forest (G2)

White Fir-Port Orford Cedar-Brewer Spruce/Huckleberry Oak Forest (G1)

White Fir-Brewer Spruce/Pipsissewa Forest (G2)

White Fir-Brewer Spruce/Thin-leaved Huckleberry/Rattlesnake Plantain Forest


Oregon White Oak/Buckbrush/Idaho Fescue Woodland (G2)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Eastern Cascades Forests (#37)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Bioregionally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Endangered

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Grand Fir/Chinkapin Forest (G2)

Baker Cypress Forest (G2Q)

Mountain Alder-Black Cottonwood/Willow/Sedge Forest (G1)

Western Redcedar/Vanillaleaf Forest (G2)

Western Redcedar/Twinflower Forest (G2)

Ponderosa Pine/Pinegrass Woodland (G2)

Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir/Pinemat Manzanita Woodland (G2)

Ponderosa Pine-Oregon White Oak/Arrowleaf Balsamroot Woodland (G2)

Washoe Pine Woodland (G1Q)

Oregon White Oak/Idaho Fescue Woodland (G1?)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Central and Southern Cascades Forests (#36)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Bioregionally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Western Red cedar-Western Hemlock/Oregon Oxalis Forest (G2)

Western Hemlock/Skunk-Cabbage Forest (G2)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Blue Mountains Forests (#38)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Bioregionally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Endangered

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Grand Fir/Western Goldthread Forest (G2)

Grand Fir/Pacific Yew Forest (G2)

Grand Fir/Dwarf Huckleberry Forest (G2)

White Alder/River Birch Forest (G1)

White Alder/Mock Orange Forest (G1)

White Alder/Woods Rose Forest (G1)

Black Cottonwood/Douglas Hawthorn Forest (G1)

Ponderosa Pine/Pinegrass Woodland (G2)

Ponderosa Pine/Douglas Hawthorn Woodland (G1)

Western Juniper/Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany/Elk Sedge Sparse Woodland (G2)

Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir Riparian Sparse Woodland (G1)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Central Pacific Coastal Forests (#34)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Globally Outstanding

Conservation Status: Endangered

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Grand Fir-Sitka Spruce/Salal/Swordfern Forest (G2)

Douglas-fir/Baldhip Rose-Oceanspray Forest (G2)

Western Hemlock/Skunk-Cabbage Forest (G2)

Western Hemlock/Beargrass Forest (G2)

Shore Pine/Salal-Rhododendron-Evergreen Huckleberry Woodland (G1)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Willamette Valley Forests (#6)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Bioregionally Outstanding

Conservation Status: N/A

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Oregon White Oak/Fescue Sparse Woodland (G1)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Puget Lowland Forests (#35)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Nationally Important

Conservation Status: Critical

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (E)

Douglas-fir-Pacific Madrone/Creambush Oceanspray/Hairy Honeysuckle Forest (G1)

Douglas-fir/Salal-Creambush Oceanspray Forest (G2)

Douglas-fir/Common Snowberry-Creambush Oceanspray Forest (G1)

Western Redcedar-Grand Fir/Swordfern Forest (G1)

Western Redcedar/Salal Forest (G1)

Western Hemlock/Skunk-Cabbage Forest (G2)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)

Cascade Mountains Leeward Forests (#32)

Biological Distinctiveness Value: Nationally Important

Conservation Status: Relatively Stable

Old-growth and primary forests of all types (on U.S. side) (E)

Grand Fir/Pinemat Manzanita Forest (G2)

Ponderosa Pine/Podfern Woodland (G1)

Douglas-fir/Podfern Woodland (G2)

Oregon White Oak/Elk Sedge Woodland (G2)

Mature, native riparian forests of all types (T)




Bingham, B.B. and J.O. Sawyer, 1991. Distinctive Features and Definitions of Young, Mature, and Old-Growth Douglas-Fir/Hardwood Forests. In Wildlife and Vegetation of Unmanaged Douglas-Fir Forests, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-285. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service.

Franklin, J.F. and T.A. Spies, 1991. Ecological Definitions of Old-Growth Douglas-Fir Forests. In Wildlife and Vegetation of Unmanaged Douglas-Fir Forests, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-285. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service.

Franklin, J.F. and J. Fites-Kaufmann, 1996. Assessment of Late Successional Forests fo the Sierra Nevada. In Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final Report to Congress, Vol. II. Davis, CA: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources.

Marcot, B.G., R.S. Holthausen, J. Teply, and J. Carrier, 1991. In Wildlife and Vegetation of Unmanaged Douglas-Fir Forests, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-285. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service.

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station (J.F. Franklin, Task Group Chairman), 1986. Interim Definitions for Old-Growth Douglas-Fir and Mixed-Conifer Forests in the Pacific Northwest and California. Research Note PNW-447. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service.



The attached table, from the National Marine Fisheries Service (See footnote 4), is included for illustrative purposes only. It is not a checklist of measurements that must be taken to satisfy certification requirements, nor are its quantitative thresholds intended to trigger any particular management actions. It is included here as a resource for forest managers, which may be used to help assess stream habitat quality for anadromous fish.



Watershed Morphology Natural landscape processes; areas that have undergone substantial geomorphic change in the previous 200 yrs.; special climatic/geomorphic features. Historical and current compilation of maps, aerial and land-based photos. One time inventory.
  Water Condition Flow, temp, pH, DO, N and P nutrient loading. EPA-approved equipment and methods at selected areas; seasonal fluctuations. First year baseline; periodic re-sampling.
  Stream Morphology Cross-sections, riparian zone. Rosgen method; photo-point documentation.  
  Atmospheric Inputs Light intensity, temps, moisture. Historical climatic and weather data loggers placed at selected locations.  First year baseline;periodic re-sampling. 
  Soil Condition Soil type(s), moisture, compaction, displacement, erosion, puddling, heavy equipment (type/use). SCS maps; moisture meter; penetrometer; small soil pits; and fixed-transection. First year baseline; pre-and post stand treatment.
Biological Habitat Viability Species occurrence & sightings; Fragmentation and connectivity. Current condition baseline data compilation; field sampling. Ecotone mapping. First year baseline; seasonal field sampling.
  Plant Assemblages and Associations Plant association series; non-native, allelopathic plant communities; plant communities at risk. Ecotone mapping of current species and patterns. Mapping of plant communities associated with soil conditions. Photo-documentation. Field validation after first year baseline.
  Habitat Linkages and Fragmentation Level of heterogeneity at several scales (seral); road, trail, and homestead distribution; livestock effect on vegetation; pattern and location of habitat corridors; contiguous habitats within riparian areas. Historical and contemporary compilation of information from aerial photos to construct an ecotone map. Ground-level photo-documentation. Approx. every ten years after first year baseline.
  Historical Range and Variability Historical composition, range and density of significant plant and animal assemblages; historical population; native/exotic species at unstable pop. levels; dendrochronology study; significant events. (Same process as above for ecotone mapping.) Survey for root diseases, insect outbreaks, and effects from abiotic stressors. Approx. every three yrs. after first year baseline.
  Coarse Woody Material and Soil Organics Down wood quantity, quality and distribution; snag quantity, quality and distribution; litter and duff layers, thickness and composition; products of macro-invertebrates. Measurement of CWM, litter, duff layers on a fixed-line transect. Soil pits. Photo-documentation. Initially, then every 5 years pre- and post-treatment.
Human Dimension Cultural Influences and Land Use Pattern and extent of human uses (prehistoric to present). Prehistoric and historic data compilation and map generation for baseline. One time effort until new information is discovered.
  Human Values Types of current human uses related to forest commodities; impact of current human uses related to forest amenities. (Same as above.) (Same as above.)
  Demographics and Economics Location and numbers of human inhabitancy (current) land use patterns and property values; employment patterns and income base. (Same as above.) (Same as above.)
*This framework is intended as a resource for forest managers, not a checklist of mandatory activities.