The Model Forest is pleased to offer private and community forest owners, throughout Ontario, an affordable, efficient and supportive system to achieve forest certification.
In January 2003, the Model Forest received a Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Group Forest Management Certificate (FSC® C018800). This certificate is managed by the Model Forest on behalf of private and community forest members. It allows for many forest owners to share in the benefits and costs of FSC® certification, under one umbrella.
The FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. The FSC® has developed a set of Standards, based on 10 core principles and criteria, that ensure sustainable forest management. Forest owners interested joining the Program must indicate their commitment to managing their forest within the FSC® Standards and the Model Forest Policies and Procedures.
Today, the Model Forest manages a successful and growing Forest Certification Program. The area now certified under the Program totals over 74,000 hectares. This consists of:
- Private forest owners;
- Community forests;
- Commercial forest owners; and
- Maple syrup producers.
The annual summary of Community Forest monitoring activities can be found Here.
Why Forest Certification
Since 2003, a diverse group of private and community forest owners have joined the Program. Over this time, our members have shared why certification is important to them. Here is a sample of what we have heard:
- Provides a framework for forest owners to achieve sustainable forest management that is internationally recognized;
- Provides a supportive and cost-effective approach to achieving forest certification;
- Provides for a high level of public acceptance, through third party verification;
- Provides a credible tool to implement active management, while enhancing the environmental, social and economic benefits from the forest;
- Provides a framework for market ready carbon offset initiatives for community forests;
- Provides for meaningful and respectful Aboriginal engagement and cultural awareness opportunities;
- Protects forest ecosystems and helps fight climate change;
- Raises industry standards.
Your Pathway to Forest Certification
Steps to achieving forest certification for:
Information on Forest Management
For information on how FSC-certified private woodlot owners in our program are managing their forests, including management planning documents and the protection of high conservation values, please contact the Program Coordinator (contact information below). To access this information for Community Forests in our program, please contact the Community Forest directly. Environmental and Social Risk Assessments for chemical pesticides used withing the group can be found here.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
For information on forest certification in Canada visit Certification Canada.
Forest Certification Program - FAQs
What is the role of the Model Forest in the Program?
The Model Forest is the organizational body behind the Program and is termed the Group Manager. It is the organization that holds the Forest Stewardship Council® Group Forest Management Certificate on behalf of all program participants. In brief, the Model Forest is responsible to recruit forest owners, hire an accredited certifier, and oversee the organizational and reporting aspects of maintaining FSC® certification.
What are the fees to participate in the Program?
For private woodlot owners (<1,000 hectares) the fees are: an annual Program Fee ($75) and a Forest Management Fee. The Forest Management Fee is a payment of 4% on the total standing timber sale for commercial harvest operations on the private forest owner property.
Prior to entry into the Program the Model Forest or a designated Resource Manager will visit the forest property with the Forest Owner. This will help determine the potential to meet the requirements of the Program. The fee charged by the Model Forest for this visit is usually $200. Larger forests or forests with complex operations may cost more. Note that Resource Managers are independent consultants and may have their own fee structure. Contact the Program Coordinator for more information on fees.
For community and large forest owners the annual Program Fee is based on the size of the forest area. Contact the Program Coordinator for the current fee structure.
Who sets the annual Program Fee?
The annual Program Fee is set by the Model Forest in consultation with the members of the Certification Working Groups. These fees are put towards payment for annual audits and covering expenses related to operating the Program.
Why do I have to hire a member of the Ontario Professional Forester Association to prepare a prescription for my commercial harvest and have my woodlot marked by an Ontario Certified Tree Marker?
The commercial harvest of trees is an important management tool that can be used to enhance the health and biodiversity of a forest. However, for harvesting to be effective it must be done in a manner that is consistent with good forestry practices. This can be best achieved through the preparation of a good tree-marking plan (prescription) prepared by an experienced forest practitioner. To successfully meet your harvesting objectives, tree markers must make use of their expertise in accurately interpreting the prescription and applying it to the specific conditions found in your forest.
Can I cut firewood for my personal use?
Yes, the harvest of firewood for personal use (less than 10 bush cords per year) is allowed without a prescription or tree marking by an Ontario Certified Tree Marker however, good forestry practices still must be followed. Periodic workshops occur to educate Forest Owners who cut firewood on the basic principles of tree marking.
What is all this talk about auditors and audits?
The Model Forest has selected Preferred by Nature as the third-party auditor. Preferred by Nature is accredited by FSC® and has the authority to certify forests as well-managed in accordance with the FSC® Certification Standard for the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region. To maintain the certificate, the Model Forest must successfully pass an annual audit.
How do I exit the Program?
There may be reasons a participant will need to voluntarily leave the Program (e.g., the sale of the certified property or for other personal reasons). Exiting participants will be required to formally notify the Model Forest 30 days in advance of the planned leaving date. Exiting participants acknowledges that their forest certification status is then forfeited.
Can a participant be removed from the program?
Yes, maintaining an FSC® Certificate depends on all the participants meeting the FSC® Standards and the Model Forest Policies and Procedures. If one member does not meet the standards and/or policies and procedures and is not willing to act in meeting them, this could jeopardize the Certificate for all participants. In these cases, it will be necessary for that participant to be expelled from the Program. Participants will also be removed if they fail to pay their annual Program Fee.
Can I sell maple products as FSC-Certified?
Yes, the Model Forest has a separate program for maple producers. The Model Forest is the only organization currently offering FSC® certification services to maple producers in Ontario. To sell maple syrup as “certified”, producers must meet and follow several the forest management and maple syrup production requirements. This means that your sugar bush management, sap collection, and processing operations are subject to evaluation by third-party auditors against a set of criteria – if you meet the standard, your woodlot is “certified” and you will be able to market your products as having come from a “well-managed” source. For more information read Certifying Maple Products.