Why is FSC certification so important?

Our work protecting native woods for people and wildlife includes managing trees to enhance the health of the woodland ecosystem, and to ensure safe public access. As a result, we generate around 40,000 tonnes of FSC-certified timber each year – a certification granted only where woodland conservation work meets the highest standards of sustainability.

Our FSC certification offers independent assurance to local communities, our visitors and our supporters that we’re committed to environmental, social and economic sustainability in our woods.

How we manage our woods sustainably

When we talk about sustainable environmental woodland management, we’re referring to conservation practices that benefit wildlife and the woodland as a whole. In our woods, this often means combining traditional management with natural processes and innovative new ideas, including:

We also look to ensure that our people engagement, such as working with Forest Schools and volunteers, and access works are undertaken in such a way to protect the values of our woodland whilst ensuring that people can enjoy and participate in our work.

These high standards are how we earn, and maintain, our certification from FSC and UKWAS.

What is the FSC?

The FSC is the world-leader in sustainable forest management, awarded only to forest and woodland owners that can actively demonstrate their commitment to fostering healthy, resilient forests.

FSC certification is based around a set of principles and criteria that make sure our woods are:

  • environmentally appropriate
  • socially beneficial
  • economically viable.

What is the UKWAS?

The UKWAS is an independent certification standard, approved by FSC, that verifies sustainably managed woods in the UK. It’s awarded based on a site meeting a range of requirements – from environmental to socio-economic value – and, alongside an independent third-party audit, shows that our woods are being managed responsibly.

We’re a founding member of the steering group that oversees the UKWAS, which is the audit standard for all FSC certificates in the UK. We’re also a member of FSC itself, which helps to set forest management standards for the UK by inputting into the UKWAS and provides an information service covering FSC work and certificate holders.

We’re proud that more than 800 of our precious woods are certified by FSC against the UKWAS standard – that covers more than 23,000 hectares. In fact, we were the first large landowner in the UK to have its estate certified to FSC standards back in 1998. Happily, other major landowners like the Forestry Commission, National Trust and RSPB followed, creating a network of healthy and resilient woods right across the UK.

Our current FSC Certificate – Registration Code: SA-FM/COC-001270 – runs for a period of five years, until July 2028, and its renewal is subject to us meeting independent third-party compliance audits every year.

If you’d like to know more, our management approach is publicly available, along with our management plans for individual woods. To see them, choose a wood using our wood finder, then scroll to the bottom of the wood page to find its management plan.

Policy paper

The Woodland Trust's approach to managing its estate

PDF  (1.21 MB)

The Woodland Trust owns more than 1,000 woods across the UK. This is how we manage them for people and wildlife in the face of climate change and other threats.

How we manage our estate