hectares of certified forests in Canada


of the world’s certified forests are in Canada


hectares of certified forests in BC


of the world’s certified forests are in BC
Two types of forest certification

What is forest certification?

Forest certification is a voluntary process conducted by an independent third party that assesses the sustainability and quality of a company’s forest management against a set of defined standards. Certification and related product labelling inform customers and the public about wood products that come from certified forests. Certification of forest management examines whether an operation meets a specified set of standards, while certification of the chain of custody (sometimes called CoC certification) verifies that certified material is identified or kept separate from non-certified or non-controlled material throughout production, from the forest to the end-user. To label a product as certified, both forest management certification and chain-of-custody certification are required.

Global leader

76% of BC's forests are certified

Canada, and the province of British Columbia, were quick to adopt forest certification, from its inception nearly two decades ago. Canada accounts for almost 35 percent of all certified forests globally—the largest of any country worldwide. More than 41 million hectares (76 percent) of British Columbia’s Crown forestland have been certified by one of three bodies. That’s the same amount of certified forests as Norway, Germany, and Sweden combined. 


Meeting the demand for certified forest products

More and more, businesses and governments have rising expectations when it comes to the environmental reputation of the paper and wood products they purchase. The BC forest sector is meeting this demand through its broad participation in voluntary forest certification programs complemented by the province’s stringent laws and regulations. BC accounts for nine percent of all certified forests in the world. Third-party certification provides additional documented verification that a BC forestry company is operating legally, sustainably and meets internationally recognized standards for sustainable forest management. 

Certification programs

What forest certification programs are used in British Columbia?

In Canada, there are three third-party certification systems for sustainable forest management: Canadian Standards Association’s Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA)Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) 

Certification programs are endorsed and overseen by one of two independent non-profit organizations: Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which oversees both endorsement and certification programs. CSA and SFI are recognized by PEFC. 

While there are some differences between each certification program, the three used in BC—CSA, FSC and SFI—all promote principles, criteria and objectives based on sustainable forest management, including reforestation, reasonable harvesting quotas and protection of wildlife habitat, soils, water and surrounding ecosystems. 


Comparing British Columbia to the World: Forest Regulation and Certification

BC’s world-leading sustainable forest management is backed by rigorous laws and independent third-party forest certification. This was confirmed in a study by Indufor, an international forestry consulting company that examined forest legislation and certification standards in 14 jurisdictions around the world. It shows that BC’s laws and legislation cover all of the 16 elements of sustainable forest management that are generally part of voluntary certification standards.

Chain of custody

BC provides added assurance through certified product labelling

Increasingly, customers want to know if the wood products they buy come from certified forests. And they can in BC through chain of custody certification. It is a way to track wood and raw materials that come from BC’s certified forests at each stage of a products’ lifecycle—from forest operations and factory fabrication to the end-user or retail floor. It also can be used to track things like the amount of recycled or certified content. The three certification programs used in the province—CSA, FSC and SFI—all offer chain-of-custody certification. The FSC and SFI programs have their own chain-of-custody standards and CSA has adopted the PEFC chain-of-custody standard and PEFC labelling. 


See first-hand which forests in BC are certified

This interactive certification map lets you drill down to learn more about which forests are certified, by which company and program.  

Bednar 20190428 01268 13940 1201x800 5b2df79

Carbon + climate

Learn More
Silviculture technician kneeling near reforested Douglas fir saplings while recording findings in notebook

Forest management

Learn More