Certification of private woodlands is likely to be required in Ireland in the coming years as timber processors source increasing quantities of roundwood from privately owned forests. Ireland exports approximately 80% of all our timber products, and our export markets for these products require them be certified. Under the two main international certification schemes, timber processors can take in a maximum of 30% of uncertified wood in their log supply to be permitted to label their output as certified. In the coming years, many timber processors will be taking in more than this proportion of wood from private forests and hence the need for certification, so as these products can be sold on international markets and both growers and processors will benefit.
The objective of this pilot project was to develop a template for group certification which could be employed by private forest owners. The pilot project achieved certification for two Knowledge Transfer Groups (KTGs) who have agreed to take part in the pilot project. The contract to undertake the pilot project was awarded to an international consortium led by Commercial Forestry Services Ltd, in partnership with The Forestry Company, UK Forest Certification Ltd and the Soil Association Certification Ltd (UK).
Forest Certification is a system that verifies forests are managed to a defined best practice and sustainable standard leading to a certificate issued by a recognised independent party. Certification works throughout the forest supply chain with the aim of promoting good practice in the forest and to ensure and verify that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect to ecological, social and ethical standards. A chain of custody system further ensures traceability of certified materials from the forest to the processors and ultimately to the consumer. Through labelling, customers and consumers are able to identify products from such sustainably managed forests.