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Forest certification has several goals – to increase consumer confidence in wood products, to provide an endorsed standard that can be used as a basis for evaluating forest management practices, to establish a market-based mechanism to recognize responsible forestry, and to offer an incentive for constant improvement in the industry.

When forest certification programs were first developing their standards, some of the leading forestry issues and concerns included chemical use, genetically modified organisms, endangered species, and clear cutting. In recognition of these issues, each program made a concerted effort to ensure their standard offered guidance on addressing these concerns. Many of these issues continue to be important, but over the years, new issues have also arisen. So, how well do the certification standards address the leading forestry issues land managers currently face in the United States?

In 2003, the USDA Forest Service identified the “Four threats to the health of the nation’s forests and grasslands.” This Dovetail Report reviews the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Regional Standard for the Lake States-Central Hardwoods, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) 2005-2009 Standard in relation to these forest management priorities identified by the Forest Service for the forestlands of the United States.

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