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What is Controlled Wood?
What is the National Risk Assessment?

When a company wishes to mix FSC certified and non-certified materials and be able to make an FSC claim about the resulting product, they must ‘control’ the non-certified materials to reduce the risk of sourcing from places with objectionable forestry practices (such as illegal practices, harvesting that violates workers’ or indigenous peoples’ rights, or harvesting that threatens high conservation values), from places where the harvest results in the conversion of forests to non-forest uses, or from places where genetically modified trees occur. FSC Chain of Custody certificate holders that have ‘Controlled Wood’ within the scope of their certificate do this by conforming with the FSC Controlled Wood Standard (FSC-STD-40-005). 

The Controlled Wood Standard requires that a certificate holder implement actions to avoid or mitigate risk, prior to using materials from any area with an identified risk level that is greater than ‘low.’ The FSC US Controlled Wood National Risk Assessment (NRA) is the primary source of information on risk for certificate holders sourcing non-certified materials from the conterminous US (i.e., ‘Lower 48’ states; not including Hawaii, Alaska or US territories) and provides specified risk designations for areas where the risk has been identified as being greater than ‘low.’ The US NRA identifies specified risk areas that are associated with places where harvesting threatens high conservation values (HCVs) and places where materials could come from harvests that result in forest conversion. The actions a certificate holder implements to avoid or mitigate these identified risks are termed Control Measures.


The NRA defines the Control Measures that are mandatory when sourcing Controlled Wood from areas of specified risk in the conterminous US. The NRA provides one choice for a Control Measure to address risk associated with HCVs – which requires implementation of one or more mitigation options (commensurate with the scale and intensity of the Organization’s potential impact on the forests in the region). The NRA provides two choices for Control Measures to address risk associated with forest conversion, one of which is similar to that for HCVs, but a second one allows for a certified manufacturer to acknowledge the use of materials from limited and legal forest conversions AND implement one or more mitigation options.

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