Working Group on Forest Certification

Simple Guide on Forest Certification

Since the past four decades, there has been a growing concern worldwide about deforestation and biodiversity loss in the tropical forests. There was pressure from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Governments and Industries to halt deforestation.

Consequently, the idea of forest certification came into being in the 1990’s to help protect forests from destructive logging practices. Forest Certification is to serve as a means of testifying to consumers that a forest product originates from a well managed forest.

Ghana has adopted forest certification to ensure that the forests are managed well. The Working Group in charge for promoting forest certification in Ghana has received accreditation from Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s leading certification scheme.
The Ghana Forest Management Certification Standard (GFMCS) is also under review for FSC accreditation. Forest Certification is a technical process; this simple guide is intended to simplify forest certification for easier understanding of all persons who have interest in the forest and its management in Ghana.

This simple guide would be very useful for communities, NGOs, forest workers, timber companies, plantation developers and the general public to acquire basic knowledge about forest certification.

Definitions on Forest Certification


Forest Certification is simply the process of independent verification that the management of a particular Forest Management Unit has reached the level required by a given standard. When combined with a chain of custody certificate, Forest Certification allows products, from a certified forest area to carry an eco-label.


Forest Management Unit is an area of forest which is under single or common system of forest management. This could be a single forest concession or aggregate of concessions operated by different people but under a common management system.


This is the channel through which products are distributed from their origin in the forest to their end-uses. It is usually used to imply a traceable route and it provides ultimate link between the producer and the consumer.


This is a label identifying manufactured products that satisfy certain environmental conditions.

Types of FSC Certifications

1. FSC Forest Management Certification

Forest managers or owners who want to prove that their forest operation is socially beneficial and managed in an environmentally appropriate and economically viable manner can apply for Forest Management (FM) certification.
Special options for small and low intensity forest management

2. FSC Chain of Custody certification

FSC Chain of Custody traces FSC certified timber through the production chain.
FSC Chain of Custody is for companies that manufacture, process or trade in timber or non-timber forest products and want to demonstrate to their customers that they use responsibly produced raw materials. FSC Chain of Custody helps companies to strengthen their sourcing policies and comply with public or private procurement policies where FSC is the preferred option.

3. FSC Controlled Wood

Forest Management companies that comply with the five FSC Controlled Wood criteria will be able to supply FSC Controlled Wood to FSC Chain of Custody operations. FSC Controlled Wood supports the production of FSC Mixed Sources by providing FSC certified companies with tools to control the non-FSC certified wood in their product groups to avoid the wood produced in socially and environmentally most damaging ways.
FSC Controlled Wood on-line toolkit