Forest certification involves the use of a standard to evaluate forest management practices. A common element of forest certification programs is the requirement to provide adequate documentation and monitoring or control practices to demonstrate compliance with the agreed-upon standard. For many business owners and forest managers it is often the case that forest management practices are very good or even exemplary, but their documentation and control procedures are inadequate to meet the standard. One benefit of the certification process can be the implementation of documentation and control procedures that not only meet the needs of certification but also help improve the overall operational performance of the organization. The International Standards Organization (ISO) provides a model of documentation and control procedures for an organization, and ISO compliance and/or certification is an excellent complement to forest certification systems.
It is not accurate to call any of the ISO standards, including ISO 9000 or 14000, “forest certification systems.” However, most forest certification systems have relied on ISO standards for the design, application and maintenance of at least part of their programs.