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Shining a Light on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Approach

In the last fifteen years, a number of approaches have arisen to address concerns about global deforestation. Independent evaluation of forest management practices and the certification of forestland have come to the forefront of these approaches in recent years. Today over three hundred million acres are certified globally. Two organizations, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) of the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) dominate certification activities in the United States. 

Although forest certification has become increasingly common, discussions suggest that there is little understanding of the operations of the two organizations, and that a number of misperceptions exist. This article is meant to act as a primer on the FSC and as an aid to those contemplating certification or looking to buy certified products. Additional information is available at www.fsc.org andwww.fscus.org. The operations of the SFI will be discussed in detail in a future article.

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