Forward steps on the Congo Basin NFSS front

FSC National Standards revision processes were initiated in 2015 in the Congo Basin, in the Republic of CONGO, Cameroon and Gabon.

The revised national forest management standards of Cameroon and Gabon apply to all types and scales of forests (FMUs, Communal Forests, Community Forests) including forest plantations. These standards do not apply to non-timber forest products. The revision process has mainly consisted in adapting the FSC Principles and Criteria version 5 and including important indicators related to Intact Forest Landscapes, timber monitoring, ILO fundamental conventions, promotion of women, as well as strengthening indicators related to workers' rights, rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, among others.

This process began with the establishment of Standards Development Groups (SDG) in each of the countries involved. The approval and publication of the revised standards of the different countries takes place according to the following publication schedule:


Cameroon's revised national standard was approved and published by FSC on September 28, 2020. It came into force on December 29, 2020.


As for the Republic of Congo, its standard was approved and published on October 6, 2020 and came into force on January 6, 2021.


Launched within the framework of the policy of generalizing the certification of responsible forest management, the national standard FSC Gabon was approved and published on December 15, 2020 and its entry into force is scheduled for March 15, 2021.

It is important to note that these new national standards have also been simplified and better adapted to the specific context of each country to facilitate not only their use by forest concession managers but also understanding by auditors. These standards have also been aligned with the legality requirements of the VPA-FLEGT agreements for the countries where these agreements have been signed (Cameroon and the Republic of Congo).

FSC welcomes the completion of its draft standards and encourages forest concessions to comply with them for the valuation of their forest products on the national and international markets.

FSC would particularly like to thank its various partners involved in promoting responsible forest management in the Congo Basin and more specifically the members and experts of the FSC Standards Development Groups in the countries concerned for their availability during the long period of revision of national FSC standards.

If you have any questions about the new standards, please contact:

For Cameroon: Professor Roger Ngoufo, Chair of the FSC standard development group:

For the Republic of Congo: Inès Gady Strarov Cabare Mvoukani, Chair of the FSC standard development group:

For Gabon: Mr. Emmanuel Bayani, Chairman of the FSC standard development group: /                           


George Akwah
mist over the tropical rain forest

Principles, criteria & indicators

There are ten principles that any forest operation must adhere to before it can receive FSC forest management certification. These principles cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

FSC also provides a number of criteria relating to each principle to provide practical ways of working out whether they are being followed.

Our principles have been developed to be applicable worldwide and relevant to all kinds of forest ecosystems, as well as a wide range of cultural, political and legal settings.

The two relevant documents below are available to download in the document centre:

FSC-STD-01-001 V5-2 FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship are designed to serve as a common starting point for developing National Forest Stewardship Standards.

FSC-STD-60-004-20 V2-0 International Generic Indicators.

National & interim national standards

FSC's Principles and Criteria set out the global requirements for responsible forest management. Chamber-balanced standard development groups (SDG) adapt the International Generic Indicators at the regional or national level to reflect the diverse legal, social and geographical conditions of forests in different parts of the world. The resulting adjustment is incorporated into a National Forest Stewardship Standard.

The following relevant document is available in the document centre:

FSC-STD-60-002 Structure and Content of National Forest Stewardship Standards.

In countries lacking a National Forest Stewardship Standard, a technical working group can form and develop an interim national forest standard. More information about this process is available in the following document which can be accessed in the document centre:

FSC-PRO-60-007 Structure, Content and Development of Interim National Standards.

Group & SLIMF certification

FSC certificate holders can also join together to form a group certification scheme and share their efforts for forest management planning, harvesting, monitoring and marketing their products. Group certification makes it easier, particularly for smallholders, to become FSC certified, as it enables group members to share costs and workload for applying and maintaining an FSC certificate.

Small or low-intensity managed forests (SLIMF) are eligible for streamlined requirements and auditing procedures that reduce the costs and efforts of the certification.

Many countries have developed specific forest management requirements for SLIMF in their national standards, to facilitate the certification process for smallholders. Check your national standard, or talk to your national or regional office to find out if this is the case in your country.

Similarly, the auditing process can be relaxed for SLIMF operations.

The following relevant document can be downloaded from the document centre:

FSC-STD-01-003 V1-0 SLIMF Eligibility Criteria.

FSC-STD-30-005 FSC Standard for Group Entities in Forest Management Groups

FSC-STD-20-007 Forest Management Evaluations

Controlled wood

Controlled wood is material from acceptable sources that can be mixed with FSC-certified material in products that carry the FSC Mix label. The controlled wood requirements identify five categories of unacceptable sources for wood, which is not allowed to be mixed with FSC-certified material. These are:

  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional and human rights
  • Wood harvested in forests in which high conservation values (HCVs) are threatened by management activities
  • Wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • Wood from forests in which genetically-modified trees are planted

The controlled wood standards

Controlled wood meets the requirements of the two main FSC controlled wood standards. ·

FSC-STD-40-005 V3-1 FSC Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood - This standard directs businesses to avoid sourcing material from unacceptable sources. You can find our written summary of the important dates and deadlines introduced by V3-1 of the standard here.

FSC-STD-30-010 V2-0 FSC Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises - This standard specifies requirements for forest management enterprises to show that their management practices result in material from acceptable sources.

Document Centre

From policies, to national standards, to controlled wood risk assessments, the most up-to-date versions of documents from our normative framework can be found here in the FSC document centre. 


IPARD Reference Documents
PDF, Size: 6.56MB
PDF, Size: 6.56MB
PDF, Size: 2.96KB
UNKNOWN, Size: unknown
Your Selections Download All


Responsible for the content: FSC International Center gGmbH

Legally represented by: Managing Directors, Dr. Hans-Joachim Droste and Mr. Stefan Salvador

Registered Office:
Adenauerallee 134
53115 Bonn
Phone: +49 (0)228 367 66-0
Fax: +49 (0)228 367 66-65
Handelsregister / Commercial register: Bonn HRB12589