Forest certification systems maintain their own independent standards, developed through transparent public review and comment processes. Forest certification standards cover topics such as:
Certificate holders must successfully undergo annual audits to assure compliance with the standards. Recertification assessments are required every five years for FSC® and three years for SFI®. With annual surveillance audits during each nonreassessment year. Audits must be performed by accredited auditing firms.
During a forest certification audit, external accredited auditors conduct on-the-ground evaluations of DNR-managed lands. This includes:
Auditors consider ecological, economic, and social aspects of resource management. Activities that contribute to improving ecological diversity or broader natural resource goals, such as retention of snags and down woody debris, are encouraged.
After each audit, corrective action requests are assigned for compliance gaps. The organization seeking or striving to maintain forest certification must correct each compliance gap within the time frame allowed, generally three months to one year.
If you see specific timber harvesting or forest management activities that concern you, call 888-234-3702 or online at Minnesota Forest Resources Council Public Concerns Registration form (MFRC). MFRC staff will confirm the exact location of the property and contact everyone involved—the landowner, logger, forest manager, and others as needed to respond to your concern.