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UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS)


Brief description of the instrument and its modus operandi

UKWAS is an independent certification standard which sets out the requirements which woodland owners and managers and certification bodies can use to certify woodland management in the United Kingdom.

Which problem the instrument is supposed to solve?

UKWAS sets out the requirements by woodlands can be sustainably managed in the UK, it interprets two international forest management standards (FSC and PEFC) for UK usage and upholds international standards of forest management best practice within the UK forestry sector.

Purpose or main objective / overall goal of the instrument?

The object of UKWAS is to “to own, interpret, develop and promote a certification standard for forest management in the United Kingdom on behalf of United Kingdom forestry and environmental communities, and bodies which represent the interests of people working in woods and forests or using them for the purpose of recreation, for the general benefit of people”.

Side objectives/goals of the instrument?

The standard is broad and makes recommendations about all aspects of forest management and the forestry sector. The main thematic areas of the standard are: Compliance and conformance, Management Planning, Woodland Design, Operations, Protection and Maint

Innovation content or potential of the instrument?

NWFP are mentioned in UKWAS under the “Community” theme, within Rural Economy, point 7.3.1.b “Management and marketing operations shall encourage making the best use of the woodland’s potential products and services consistent with other objectives.” In the guidance notes it is stated that, “The woodland’s potential products include non-timber forest products and recreational activities.”

Which laws and regulations support the implement of this instrument?

UKWAS is not enshrined in legislation although certification depends on forest managers complying with all UK forestry related legislation. The certification process in voluntary and the onus is on managers/owners to adopt. UKWAS is upheld by authorised certification bodies who audit woodlands against the standard and award certification.

The initiator/promoter of the instrument?

“The UK’s forestry, environmental and social communities chose to work together to develop an independent standard to reflect the requirements of the UK Government’s UK Forestry Standard and through this the guidelines adopted by European Forestry Ministers at Helsinki in 1993 and Lisbon in 1998.”

Which organizations are involved in the operationalization of the instrument?

Full member of UKWAS (from which it draws its steering group and interpretation panel) are: a) Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) b) Country Land & Business Association (CLA) c) Forest Service (FS) d) Forest Stewardship Council United Kingdom (FS

What roles do these organisation play in each of them?

UKWAS functions as a partnership of stakeholding organisations who are involved in the forestry and woodland sector in the UK. The company UKWAS is managed by these members on a not-for-profit basis. CONFOR is the confederation of forest industries they would advise UKWAS on matters relating to the timber industry, it helps to build the market for wood and forest products and create a better policy environment for forest related industries. The Forest Stewardship Council UK sets forest management standards in the UK, as an accrediting body for sustainable forestry in the UK, they work within the guidelines established by UKWAS. The National Trust is a large conservation organization in the UK. They own and manage a large national estate including a large area of forest and woodland. They are involved in the valorisation of the forest products from their estates including NWFP. Welsh Government owns and manages a large public forest estate. As a government they are committed to sustainable development and sustainable management of the public estate. Natural Resources Wales is a semi-autonomous body that manages the public forest estate on behalf of the Welsh Government.

How the monitoring is ensured?

UKWAS underpins the UK operation of two international forest management standards FSC and PEFC. Independent certification bodies audit woodlands on behalf of the two standards. FSC certification lasts for 5 years, PEFC lasts for 3, at the end of the certification duration a new audit must be performed. As stated above, NWFP only form a very small part of the UKWAS standard, however, every part of the standard must be adhered to by applicants, so it is hoped that this would promote the development of NWFP as a output of sustainable woodland management.

How the compliance is ensured?

Certification will not be awarded if the site does not achieive high enough levels within each theme. Certification will not be re-awarded if woodland fails to meet the standards.

How is the overall performance of the instrument?

Almost half the UK forest area is now managed under certification. The problem is how to reach small, privately owned woodlands to bring them into the standard. The latest figures show that 50% of the UK’s woodland area and an estimated 85% of harvested timber is certified through one or both of these schemes (FSC or PEFC)


The UKWAS website: http://ukwas.org.uk, FSC UK: http://www.fsc-uk.org, PEFC UK: http://www.pefc.co.uk

Brief description of the context for the emergence of the instrument

The UK’s forestry, environmental and social communities chose to work together to develop an independent standard to reflect the requirements of the UK Government’s UK Forestry Standard and through this the guidelines adopted by European Forestry Ministers at Helsinki in 1993 and Lisbon in 1998.

Have any of the items mentioned above changed since the instrument entered into force?



Yes. UKWAS is now in its 3rd iteration and the 4th is being worked on… Reiteration was planned into the project from the start, such a large and detailed instrument takes a great deal of shaping and developing over time

Is there any qualitative or quantitative study of the impacts of the instrument?

Yes, please specify


references: development of UKWAS has been informed by a three-year review process including international benchmarking and three rounds of stakeholder consultation

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Full reference
UK Woodland Assurance Standard 3.1 (UKWAS)

Year 2000
Policy area Forestry
Affected activity Marketing/trade, Harvesting/Production, Use/consumption
Affected actors Landowner/land manager, Picker/harvester/hunter, Processor
Products Mushrooms/truffles, Bark/cork, Game, Berries, Nuts, Fruits, All NWFP
Subject NWFP, Nature conservation, Forests, Access
Promoter/initiator Public/private
Zone North West Europe
Countries United Kingdom
Regions (NUTS 2) West Wales and The Valleys
Focus on NWFP Indirect
Document category
Instrument type Information
Legal status Non-binding
Geographical scope National
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