Updated standard for forest management

The governments of the UK have today published their updated standard for sustainable forest management.

The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) - the reference standard for forest management in the UK - sets out requirements and details the conditions that must be met when felling trees, carrying out woodland operations, and receiving grants.

It applies to all woodland, irrespective of who owns or manages it.

The Standard ensures that international agreements and conventions on areas such as sustainable forest management, climate change, biodiversity and the protection of water resources are robustly applied across the UK.

This fourth edition, which now incorporates the previously separate supporting series of UKFS Guidelines, has been produced to:

  • update relevant legislation and other regulatory requirements;
  • update organisational details and mandates of the forestry authorities;
  • reflect key policy changes arising from the increased devolution of forestry;
  • incorporate recent developments in international agreements, and the way forestry activity is monitored and reported;
  • incorporate recent advances in the scientific understanding of forestry;
  • further strengthen the role of forest planning.

The new edition has been approved by Minsters in all four countries and its production has been overseen by the Forestry Commission in England and Scotland, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Forest Service. Guidance and advice has been provided by an external Reference Group of forestry sector representatives.

No new regulations or burdens have been introduced by the revised Standard. 

The publication can be downloaded free and further details of the UKFS, as well as updates and links to supporting information are available online.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. The UK Forestry Standard was first published in 1998 to set out the UK’s approach to sustainable forest management in response to commitments made at the Rio Earth summit. It was revised in 2004 and again in 2011.
  4. This updated 4th edition incorporates the previously separate series of Guidelines on biodiversity, climate change, historic environment, landscape, people, soil, and water in a new digital format. The ePub is optimised for use on tablets and other mobile platforms but it can also be read and printed from desktop computers.
  5. The UK Forestry Standard plays an important role for independent forest certification in the UK. By defining UK forestry practice, it underpins the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. This is endorsed by both certification schemes operating in the UK: FSC (the Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (The Programme for the endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes)
  6. The UKFS applies to England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. The Forestry Commission in England and Scotland, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Forest Service will be the main bodies responsible for its implementation. These bodies will assess forestry proposals against the UKFS before giving approval and carry out checks to ensure the UKFS is being complied with. The precise arrangements for its implementation and monitoring will vary between the four countries. 
  7. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  8. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.