Forest Certification

​​​What is forest certification?

Forest certification is a voluntary program that recognizes and certifies well-managed forests. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service is committed to managing our major state forests in accordance with the internationally recognized standards for long term ecological, social and economic sustainability.

In 2003, Maryland Department of Natural Resources had its first forest certification audit on the Chesapeake Forest Lands. Currently, through independent, third party annual audits, we have over 200,000 acres of Maryland state forests now certified as well-managed according to the two major internationally recognized forest certification systems for public land, Forest Stewardship Council® and the Sustainable ​Forestry Initiative​​® standards. The FSC® and SFI® are independent organizations. 

Scientific Certification Systems registration SCS-FM/COC-00069P and NSF International Strategic Registrations certificate NSF-ISR/0Y301-FM1 indicates that timber from Savage River State Forest, Green Ridge State Forest, Potomac State Forest, Garrett State Forest, Pocomoke State Forest and Chesapeake Forest Lands come from a forest that is well-managed according to these strict principles and criteria approved by the FSC and SFI, respectively.

This recognition is a culmination of extensive audits, which include on-site verification, stakeholder meetings and consultation, and a comprehensive review of forest management and conservation practices. Certification standards are set and updated by the program's partners from environmental, social and economic sectors.


FSC and SCI logos


Download Standards

Governor's Executive Order

As directed according to EXECUTIVE ORDER 01.01.2004.21 Enhanced Forestry Management on the Department of Natural Resources-Owned Forest Lands and the Natural Resources – Forest Preservation Act of 2013, the Department of Natural Resources shall confer with the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative in order to determine the parameters of securing forest certification of the State’s efforts for the purpose of managing Maryland’s State Forests in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.

Governor's Executive Order 01.01.2004.21​​