FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship

To achieve our mission and vision, FSC developed a set of 10 principles and 70 criteria that apply to FSC-certified forests all over the world.

These Principles and Criteria are globally applicable, and locally adaptable.


Principles, criteria & indicators

There are ten principles that any forest operation must adhere to before it can receive FSC forest management certification. These principles cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

FSC also provides a number of criteria relating to each principle to provide practical ways of working out whether they are being followed.

Our principles have been developed to be applicable worldwide and relevant to all kinds of forest ecosystems, as well as a wide range of cultural, political and legal settings.

FSC's Principles and Criteria set out the global requirements for responsible forest management. Chamber-balanced standard development groups (SDG) adapt the International Generic Indicators at the regional or national level to reflect the diverse legal, social and geographical conditions of forests in different parts of the world. The resulting adjustment is incorporated into a National Forest Stewardship Standard.

FSC-STD-01-001 V5-2 FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are designed to serve as a common starting point for developing National Forest Stewardship Standards.

FSC-STD-60-004-20 V2-0 International Generic Indicators.

FSC Ten Principles

Principle 1: Compliance with Laws

The Organisation shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and nationally-ratified international treaties, conventions, and agreements.

Principle 2: Workers' Rights and Employment Conditions

The Organisation shall maintain or enhance the social and economic wellbeing of workers.

Principle 3: Indigenous Peoples' Rights

The Organisation shall identify and uphold Indigenous Peoples legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories, and resources affected by management activities.

Principle 4: Community Relations

The Organisation shall contribute to maintaining or enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.

Principle 5: Benefits from the Forest

The Organisation shall efficiently manage the range of multiple products and services of the Management Unit to maintain or enhance long-term economic viability and the range of social and environmental benefits.

Principle 6: Environmental Values and Impacts

The Organisation shall maintain, conserve, and/or restore ecosystem services and environmental values of the Management Unit, and shall avoid, repair or mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Principle 7: Management Planning

The Organisation shall have a management plan consistent with its policies and objectives and proportionate to scale, intensity, and risks of its management activities. the management plan shall be implemented and kept up to date based on monitoring information in order to promote adaptive management. The associated planning and procedural documentation shall be sufficient to guide staff, inform affected stakeholders and interested stakeholders, and to justify management decisions.

Principle 8: Monitoring and Assessment

The Organisation shall demonstrate that progress towards achieving the management objectives, the impacts of management activities, and the condition of the Management Unit are monitored and evaluated proportionate to the scale, intensity, and risk of management activities in order to implement adaptive management.

Principle 9: High Conservation Values

The Organisation shall maintain and/or enhance the High Conservation Values in the Management Unit through applying the precautionary approach.

Principle 10: Implementation of Management Activities

Management activities conducted by or for The Organisation for the Management Unit shall be selected and implemented consistent with The Organisation's economic, environmental, and social policies and objectives and in compliance with the Principles and Criteria collectively.