Forest certification is a voluntary process used by forestry owners to reassure consumers that the wood and wood products they buy comes from sustainably managed forests. The two main recognised standards are FSC and PEFC.
In order to help forest owners to certify their forests, my Department funded a pilot Certification Scheme which was completed successfully in 2018.
Two groups were funded under this pilot Certification Scheme and both received certification at the time.
A wide range of standard templates and information was developed by the grant funded pilot which is available to download from the publicly accessible web page at the following link: www.groupcertification.ie/resources
My Department has also approved funding to PEFC Ireland to part-fund the establishment of a working group comprised of industry stakeholders, in order to review the PEFC Irish Forest Certification Standard and the PEFC Ireland Scheme for sustainable Forest Management.
In addition, COFORD, via my Department has commissioned a study on private forest certification in Ireland which is currently in the process of being carried out. The study involves engagement with stakeholders. This study will be made available once published later this year.
All these initiatives carried out by my Department recognise the importance of forest certification and complement other licensing requirements which demonstrate sustainable forest management. It is important to note that all stakeholders have a role to play in developing a workable model for certification in Ireland.
The soon-to-be published report from the COFORD Wood Mobilisation Working Group on certification, mentioned earlier, will make recommendations that will help achieve this objective.
While certification is a voluntary matter, I encourage all private forest owners to get actively involved in the certification process.