New edition UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)
A new (5th) edition of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS), agreed by all four countries, has now been published following a comprehensive review process.
The UKFS is the technical standard for forestry across the UK, which provides the foundations for sustainable forest management. It has been updated to reflect improvements in scientific knowledge, developments in international approaches to forestry, new or amended legislation, and new information about best forestry practice. It is endorsed by all governments of the UK.
The UKFS has been developed specifically for forestry in the UK and is based on applying internationally agreed criteria which support the delivery of sustainable forest management, and recognises the need to balance environmental, economic and social objectives.
Importantly, the new edition aims to make forests more resilient to a changing climate and the increased risk of pests and diseases so they can continue to deliver multiple benefits.
A 12-month transition period is in place to allow guidance to be updated, users to become familiar with the new edition, and draft woodland plans to be finalised. To support a smooth transition, work will continue with the sector to minimise disruption to businesses, particularly on future plant supply and the range of alternative productive species.
The 5th edition will be applied after 1st October 2024. After that date, updated Good Forestry Practice Requirements will be applied to existing forest plans at the time of renewal. Until then, the 4th edition of the UK Forestry Standard (2017) should be used.
The UKFS review process
The review project that began in February 2021 has now finished. You can read a summary of the review process to produce the 5th edition of the UK Forestry Standard (October 2023), including how stakeholders were consulted.
Please refer to the relevant advice and information on implementing the UKFS in each country as follows:
- Advice and information on implementing the UKFS in England (Forestry Commission)
- Advice and information on implementing the UKFS in Northern Ireland (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs)
- Advice and information on implementing the UKFS in Scotland (Scottish Forestry / Coilltearachd na h-Alba)
- Advice and information on implementing the UKFS in Wales (Natural Resources Wales / Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru)