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The UK Forestry Standard

The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) is the reference standard for sustainable forest management in the UK. The UKFS, supported by its series of Guidelines, outlines the context for forestry in the UK, sets out the approach of the UK governments to sustainable forest management, defines standards and requirements, and provides a basis for regulation and monitoring.

Practising sustainable forestry means managing our forests in a way that meets our needs at present but that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. They will rightly expect that their forests and woodlands offer at least the same benefits and opportunities as we enjoy today. At the heart of the UKFS approach is the importance of balancing the environmental, economic and social benefits of forests and the recognition that our forests serve a wide range of objectives. The Guidelines publications define sustainable forest management in the UK under a series of subject areas. The UKFS requirements have been set out in each and guidance given on how to achieve them.

The UK Forestry Standard
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The UKFS Guidelines series covers the following subject areas:

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Historic environment
  • Landscape
  • People
  • Soil
  • Water

General Forestry Practice is covered by the UKFS itself as it is common to all elements of sustainable forest management.

The UKFS and Guidelines have been developed by the Forestry Commission in Great Britain and the Forest Service, an agency within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (see background). The UKFS and Guidelines have been endorsed by the UK and country governments and apply to all UK forests and woodlands. Together with the national forestry policies and strategies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UKFS provides a framework for the delivery of international agreements on sustainable forest management, alongside policies on implementation.

Further reading and useful sources of information are available via the links in the right hand column – on this page for general forestry practice and on the individual Guidelines pages for each element of sustainable forest management. Note that information on individual tree preservation procedures is available in this web-based planning guidance produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Printed copies of the UKFS and Guidelines can be ordered from FC Publications.


Last updated: 1st March 2017