What is the FSC Controlled Wood Standard

As consumers become more conscious of the origins of the products they are purchasing, it is becoming even important to know where the hardwood lumber you buy comes from.

If you have spent a considerable amount of time in the hardwood lumber industry you have undoubtedly heard of the FSC. If not, here is a brief background.  In the 1980’s and early 90’s tropical rainforest deforestation was a major issue that needed to be addressed. So in 1992 a group of businesses, industry leaders, and environmentalists formed the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) with the ultimate goal of encouraging responsible and sustainable forest management around the globe.

FSC Controlled Wood Hardwood LumberFSC works in conjunction with landowners, timber harvesters, hardwood manufacturers, and distributors to certify that certain lumber products originate from FSC certified forests that meet the standards of responsible forest management set by FSC which provide environmental and social benefits.

So, what is FSC Controlled Wood exactly? It is wood of known origin with a minimum risk that it is harvested in an unacceptable way. The controlled wood system meets the requirements of the two main FSC controlled wood standards and defines the minimum standards for wood that can be mixed with FSC wood. Products made from these materials can then use the FSC Mix label- which may contain lumber that originated from a certified forest as well as lumber that came from a controlled forest.

The FSC system has 5 categories of unacceptable material:

  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
  • Wood harvested in forests where High Conservation Values are threatened by management activities
  • Wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • Wood from genetically modified trees

The primary purpose of introducing the Controlled Wood standard into the FSC system is to help meet the demand for FSC materials in the marketplace while also avoiding unacceptable sources of wood. Since introducing the controlled wood standard there has been significant interest and demands for FSC labeled materials, especially hardwoods.

The Baillie Group has several mills and yards that are both Controlled Wood and FSC Chain of Custody certified. This certification verifies that the lumber we label as FSC certified originated from a certified or controlled source. Most of the lumber originating from hardwood forests throughout the United States and Canada can qualify as controlled. These certifications are commonly sought after by architects, designers, and contractors working on environmentally friendly projects.

We are fortunate enough to be able to provide FSC lumber from several of our facilities. Our inventory of FSC hardwood lumber varies day to day based on our current inventory levels and order requests.

However, if you have a hardwood lumber question related to FSC or even about hardwood lumber in general, let us know.  We will do our best to help in any way we can.

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
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Link to FSC website.