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What is the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)?

The UKFS is endorsed by all national and devolved governments within the UK. It defines standards and requirements, is a basis for regulation and monitoring, and sets guidelines for sustainable forest management. It also recognises that forests have environmental, economic and social objectives. 

Read the UK Forestry Standard.

How often is the UKFS reviewed?

A UKFS review take place every 5 years.

An updated edition of the UKFS is due to be published by the end of 2022/23. The current edition (published in 2017) should be followed until the new edition is published.

Who is involved in the review?

The review is co-ordinated by Scottish Forestry and overseen by a Project Board made up of representatives from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Stakeholder engagement and consultation is an important element of the review. Organisations with a knowledge of the different aspects of sustainable forest management have been invited to join a UK Stakeholder Reference Group, which will support the development of the updated edition by ensuring it’s relevant and appropriate across the UK.

Engaging stakeholders will also be delivered through a two-stage stakeholder consultation process.

Review of technical content

To inform the review, an assessment of the technical content of the current edition was undertaken by specialists from the UK forestry authorities and administrations, Forest Research and external reviewers.

The assessment found that once updated to reflect improvements in scientific knowledge, developments in international approaches, and new or amended legislation, the majority of the current edition’s content would remain relevant.

The assessment also identified a range of significant cross-cutting themes that are relevant across the Standard and across the UK, and that could be further developed. These themes would be additional to other themes already well established in the UKFS such as the importance of biodiversity.

First stakeholder consultation

The potential for updating the next version of the UKFS to reflect these cross-cutting themes formed the basis of the first stakeholder consultation. In addition, questions were asked about potential usability improvements.

This technical consultation, targeted at organisations that were familiar with the content and purpose of the UKFS, ran on the Scottish Government’s Citizen Space platform from 29 June 2021 to 10 August 2021. An independent consultant was commissioned to analyse the consultation responses and to produce a report.

View the responses and the report.

The consultation responses and the findings from the earlier assessment of technical content helped inform the drafting of the next edition of the UKFS.

Second stakeholder consultation 

The draft content of the next edition of the UKFS has been informed by both the specialists’ assessment and responses to the first consultation. We carried out a second consultation to seek stakeholder views on the draft content and the changes and improvements that have been made.

As the UKFS is a technical standard, this consultation was targeted at organisations that are familiar with its content and purpose, and not the general public.

In the consultation we were looking for organisation’s views on whether the draft content: remains applicable across the UK; strikes the right balance between the economic, environmental and social principles of sustainable forest management; and provides greater clarity on what is required of forest managers.

The consultation closed on 8th December 2022 and we are currently analysing the consultation responses.

This feedback will help us finalise the new edition of the UKFS ready for publication in spring 2023. The final content of the new edition of the UKFS will be approved by the four UK government administrations and like previous editions, will support the UK governments’ approach to sustainable forest management.


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