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FSC has developed a set of Principles and Criteria for forest management that are applicable to all FSC-certified forests throughout the world. There are 10 Principles and 57 Criteria that address legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts surrounding forest management.
PRINCIPLE #1: COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND FSC PRINCIPLES
Forest management shall respect all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and international treaties and agreements to which the country is a signatory, and comply with all FSC Principles and Criteria.
PRINCIPLE #2: TENURE AND USE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Long-term tenure and use rights to the land and forest resources shall be clearly defined, documented and legally established.
PRINCIPLE #3: INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS
The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories, and resources shall be recognized and respected.
PRINCIPLE #4: COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND WORKER’S RIGHTS
Forest management operations shall maintain or enhance the long-term social and economic well being of forest workers and local communities.
PRINCIPLE # 5: BENEFITS FROM THE FOREST
Forest management operations shall encourage the efficient use of the forest’s multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.
PRINCIPLE #6: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.
PRINCIPLE #7: MANAGEMENT PLAN
A management plan — appropriate to the scale and intensity of the operations — shall be written, implemented, and kept up to date. The long-term objectives of management, and the means of achieving them, shall be clearly stated.
PRINCIPLE #8: MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT
Monitoring shall be conducted — appropriate to the scale and intensity of forest management — to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.
PRINCIPLE # 9: MAINTENANCE OF HIGH CONSERVATION VALUE FORESTS
Management activities in high conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes which define such forests. Decisions regarding high conservation value forests shall always be considered in the context of a precautionary approach.
PRINCIPLE # 10: PLANTATIONS
Plantations shall be planned and managed in accordance with Principles and Criteria 1-9, and Principle 10 and its Criteria. While plantations can provide an array of social and economic benefits, and can contribute to satisfying the world’s needs for forest products, they should complement the management of, reduce pressures on, and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.