Forest Certification: Sustainable Forest Management

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certification is a voluntary tool available to forestry organizations that wish to demonstrate corporate responsibility by having their forest management planning and practices independently certified against a sustainable forest management standard. Sustainable Forest Management refers to maintaining and enhancing the long-term health of forest ecosystems for current and future generations. Certification goes beyond regulatory requirements and takes environmental, economic and social values into consideration. In 1993, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) began working with a diverse range of stakeholders interested in Sustainable Forest Management in Canada to develop a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) program. The resulting standard was first published in 1996 and then revised in 2002, 2008 and 2016. The CAN/CSA-Z809 Standard is a well recognized national and international standard for ensuring that a forest is being managed in a sustainable manner. AFA’s sustainable forest management system in Algonquin Provincial Park has been certified to the CSA Z809 standard since 2008.


Sustainable Forest Management Plan and 2019/2020 Annual Report

 Certificate of Registration 

The Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) Sustainable Forest Management Policy guides its overall management practices. AFA’s Environmental and Sustainable Forest Management System is a tool that AFA uses to implement its Policy. AFA is registered to the CAN/CSA-Z809 Sustainable Forest Management Standard (SFM) to demonstrate to the public and its customers that the Algonquin Park forest is managed in an ecologically sustainable manner. The SFM Standard gives AFA the opportunity to continually improve its forest management performance while engaging interested parties in a focused public participation process. Registration to the CSA standard requires the evaluation of AFA practices and adherence to the following criteria.

  1. Conservation of biological diversity.
  2. Maintenance and enhancement of forest ecosystem condition and productivity.
  3. Conservation of soil and water resources.
  4. Forest ecosystem contributions to global ecological cycles.
  5. Multiple benefits to society.
  6. Accepting society’s responsibility for sustainable development.
  7. Aboriginal Relations

Algonquin Park constitutes the Defined Forest Area (DFA) as shown in the figure below. Forest Management activities occur only within the Recreation and Utilization Zone of the Park.

Defined Forest Map

Defined Forest Map

The CSA standard requires AFA to seek comprehensive and continuing public participation including an effort to work with Aboriginal peoples at the local community level.  The purpose of the public consultation process is to obtain input from interested parties. This input is used to confirm values, objectives, indicators and targets (Figure 1) at the Algonquin Park Forest level, and to formulate additional ones as required. These local values, objectives, indicators and targets are then incorporated into the forest management planning and practices.  The standard requires locally appropriate targets, including thresholds and limits, be set through the public participation process.

Relationship among values, objectives, indicators and targets.

Figure 1. Relationship among values, objectives, indicators and targets.


Group shot of Public Advisory Group


Public consultation process

A representative group of interested parties has been selected from a comprehensive list of potential stakeholders to serve as the Advisory Group and liaise on a continuing basis with AFA. The list of potential stakeholders was developed through a review of values, issues and interest groups and a stakeholder analysis completed by AFA and CMC Ecological Consulting.   The Advisory Group consultation process include introductory training and facilitated workshops dealing with the identification and selection of values, objectives, indicators and targets for the SFM. Subsequent meetings involve the identification of values of specific importance to environmental, social and economic concerns and needs of members and stakeholder groups and the development of suitable objectives, indicators and targets for each.

The CAN/CSA-Z809 standard recognizes that Aboriginal forest users and communities require unique consideration in the public participation process and should be given an opportunity to contribute their special knowledge to the process of setting values, objectives, indicators, and targets. Indigenous consultation during the Forest Management Planning process will continue to be an important component for communicating this knowledge. AFA endeavours to obtain information and advice from the Indigenous communities and to consult with them in the development of the SFM Plan. First Nations representatives have been invited to participate as members of the Advisory Group and Indigenous communities will be provided with periodic updates on the development of the SFM Plan.