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In 2010, the Forest Stewardship Council – US Initiative (FSC-US)1 introduced a revised forest management standard that applies to FSC certification audits throughout the United States. Within the new FSC-US Forest Management Standard, one of the most significant changes is the inclusion of specific indicators and guidance that uniquely apply to the auditing of family forestlands. The FSC-US policies define family forestlands eligible to be audited under these new indicators as ownerships that are up to 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) in size or where harvest intensity is low (Table 1). It is estimated that at least a half-million woodland owners in the United States own between 100 and 2,500 acres for a total of approximately 115 million acres of forestland.2 By qualifying to be audited under these new “Family Forest Indicators”, owners of small properties may see a more streamlined FSC auditing process and reduced auditing costs. This report reviews the new FSC-US Forest Management Standard3 and the new indicators and guidance that apply to family forestlands. An evaluation of the scope and scale of change is included as well as a discussion of the impacts and benefits.

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