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Publications CAN/CSA-Z809-16

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CAN/CSA-Z809-16 - Sustainable forest management

Publication Year:

  • 2016

Total Pages:



  • CSA
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A revision was published as notification that this is now a National Standard of Canada.


This is the fourth edition of CSA Z809, Sustainable forest management. It supersedes the previous editions, published in 2008, 2002, and 1996.

A second standard, CSA Z804, is intended for use by woodlot owners or managers of forests up to 4000 hectares.


0.1 General

Canada’s forests make a significant contribution to our quality of life, the integrity of our environment, and the supply of paper and building materials and other forest products both at home and abroad. Canadian forests comprise diverse forest types and circumstances and support hundreds of forestdependent communities. The future of our forests is important to all Canadians, including Aboriginal Peoples who have a significant relationship with the land. In addition to complying with legislation, organizations can benefit from using voluntary tools, such as this Standard, to help them achieve sustainable forest management (SFM). This Standard gives organizations a system for continual improvement of their forest management performance and for engaging interested parties in a focused public participation process. Certification to this Standard involves regular and rigorous independent, third-party certification audits.

The federal and provincial/territorial governments in Canada both have regulatory roles in relation to forests. The Constitution Act (1982) places jurisdiction over forests in the remit of the provinces. Each province has a comprehensive set of laws, regulations, and policies covering all aspects of forests and their management. The Government of Canada has legislation covering, among other things, species at risk, migratory birds, fish, aquatic habitat, and water quality. The federal government also has responsibility for Aboriginal treaties, lands, and associated matters. All organizations with responsibility for forest management are required to be in compliance with this comprehensive regulatory framework. The provincial and federal governments monitor compliance with regulatory requirements which, on public land, must be met as a condition of continuation of the forest management license. Certification to this Standard requires compliance with all applicable federal and provincial regulations. With requirements for ongoing public participation and continual improvement, this standard motivates organizations to go beyond legal compliance.

The Constitution Act, Section 35, provides for the protection of Aboriginal and treaty rights of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. "Aboriginal Rights" (including title) are not defined in the Constitution Act, but recent court cases (e.g., the Tsilhqot’in case) have provided increasing clarity about Aboriginal and treaty rights and title. In addition to government obligations to protect Aboriginal and treaty rights, Aboriginal-owned and -operated businesses have recently been growing in Canada’s forest sector. The interest by Aboriginal communities to participate in the forest-sector economy is clear evidence that forest-sector business opportunities are fully compatible with the emerging national framework of Aboriginal and treaty rights and demonstrate the increasingly strengthened relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples. Adopting and implementing this Standard, with its new criterion on Aboriginal Relations, is consistent with both levels of engagement with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

0.2 High degree of public involvement

CSA Group Standards are developed using an open and inclusive participatory process. The Technical Committee on Sustainable Forest Management consists of a balanced array of representatives from timber producers (including woodlot owners), forest-products manufacturers, academia, provincial and federal governments, and environmental, consumer, union, and Aboriginal groups. In addition to member deliberations, the Committee’s work in developing and revising the Standard includes a series of formal consultations involving any and all interested parties. At each revision of the Standard, the Committee particularly invites input from the public advisory groups convened by forest-management organizations.

The need for public participation is also strongly emphasized within the Standard, which requires organizations to seek comprehensive, continuing public participation at the community level. Under the provisions of the Standard, the public identifies forest values related to environmental, social, and economic concerns and needs. The public also takes part in the forest management planning process and works with organizations to identify and select SFM objectives, indicators, and targets to ensure that these values are addressed. The public participation requirements of this Standard are among the most rigorous in certification standards in the world today. Because Canadian forests are primarily publicly owned, it is vital that a Canadian forest certification standard involve the public extensively in the forest management planning process. Forest management that meets the requirements of this Standard fosters a positive relationship between the organization and the local community.

This Standard was first published in 1996. It was developed using an open and inclusive process managed by CSA Group. One-quarter of the Technical Committee on Sustainable Forest Management membership consisted of timber producers, including woodland owners; the remainder were scientists, academics, representatives of the provincial and federal governments, and environmental, consumer, union, and Aboriginal representatives. In 1995, special consultations with non-governmental and environmental organizations were conducted to obtain input into the development of this Standard. In addition, a Canada-wide public review of this Standard generated considerable interest, with CSA distributing over 1500 copies of the draft standard in response to requests for review. Public meetings were held in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver to seek further input.

In 2000, when CSA Group set out to review and improve upon the original Standard, it sought and incorporated public input once again. It also strengthened the conservation representation on the Technical Committee to include representatives from national and provincial wildlife conservation groups.

Work on the fourth edition of this Standard began in 2013. Input from existing public advisory groups (PAGs) active in the implementation of this Standard was sought to improve its effectiveness. Aboriginal representation was incorporated into the membership categories of the Technical Committee. Input received from a broad range of interests during the public review of the draft was incorporated into the 2016 edition.

Like the previous editions, this edition of the Standard was developed in an open, inclusive forum. This Standard reflects the ideas, positions, and concerns of a wide array of individuals and groups from across Canada with an interest in SFM, including the forest industry, woodlot owners, governments, academics, scientists, technical experts, Aboriginal Peoples, unions, consumer groups, and conservation, environmental, and social organizations.

0.3 CCFM SFM criteria and elements as the basis of the SFM performance requirements

The most broadly accepted Canadian forest management values generated to date are embodied in the CCFM SFM criteria and elements. The CCFM SFM criteria and elements are fully consistent with those of the Montréal process and the seven thematic elements of sustainable forest management recognized by the international community at the United Nations Forum on Forests in 2004. The requirements of this Standard expand on the CCFM SFM criteria by adding a criterion on Aboriginal relations. In this Standard, criteria and elements are used as a framework for identifying values and providing vital links between local-level SFM and national and provincial forest policy.

0.4 Performance requirements

This Standard sets a level of performance to be met using a prescribed management system. Performance is dealt with at three levels. First, a set of SFM elements and core indicators is required. Second, the public has the opportunity to assist in setting specific values, objectives, additional indicators, and targets at the local forest level for each of the SFM elements, as well as to participate in effectiveness monitoring. This Standard requires a public participation process to establish and monitor locally appropriate targets (including thresholds and limits). Moreover, this Standard identifies specific requirements for the public participation process. This approach to performance not only respects government-recognized criteria for SFM but also allows the public to participate in the interpretation of the criteria and elements for local application. The third level is the assessment of actual changes in the forest as related to expected future forest conditions and results of management practices.

Thus, this Standard involves a combination of public participation, performance, and management system requirements.

0.5 Conformance with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Standards

0.5.1 Development of CSA Group standards

CSA Group standards development directives are consistent with those of ISO. CSA Group standards are developed through a consensus process that includes the principles of inclusive participation, respect for diverse interests, and transparency. The process is based on substantial agreement among committee members, rather than a simple majority of votes. When a draft standard has been agreed upon, it is submitted for public review, and amended as necessary. CSA Group standards are living documents that are continually revisited and revised to address changing requirements and emerging technologies. Each standard is reviewed at least every five years as part of a process of continual improvement.

0.5.2 Environmental management systems

This Standard’s management system requirements are based on the internationally recognized CAN/CSA-ISO 14001 environmental management system standard. A management system ensures that requirements are fulfilled in a systematic and predictable manner that promotes continual improvement. This Standard includes the continuum of

a) establishing a policy;

b) planning;

c) implementation and operation;

d) checking and corrective action; and

e) management review.

0.6 Expected future conditions

A fundamental tenet of adaptive forest management is the need to state explicitly the expected future condition of all the SFM indicators. Those statements express how the indicators are expected to respond to the targets defined in the management plan. Each value is represented by one or more indicators for which targets need to be stated. Targets will often identify an expected or desirable future condition of an indicator. Predictive models may be available for some ecological, economic and social indicators. When such models are not available, the expected future conditions are appropriately made using informed professional and stakeholder judgement. Public participation is important in the work of creating the statements of expected future conditions for the indicators and assessing how target performance is contributing to the stated future condition.

0.7 Continual improvement

The concept of continual improvement in SFM is central to this Standard. The Standard uses adaptive management procedures that recognize SFM as a dynamic process that incorporates new knowledge acquired through time, experience, and research, and that also evolves with society’s changing environmental, social, and economic values. This Standard also requires the organization to undertake an annual review of all its requirements, including performance requirements, to identify areas for continual improvement.

Continual improvement is a necessary aspect not only of forest management but also of the evolution of this Standard. That is why CSA Group requires the Technical Committee review this Standard regularly to ensure that it incorporates knowledge gained through implementation.

0.8 Third-party independent audits

To become certified to this Standard, the organization goes through a third-party independent audit to the SFM requirements in the Standard (these requirements are found in Clauses 4 to 7). The audit is conducted by a certification body accredited by a full International Accreditation Forum (IAF) member accreditation body such as the Standards Council of Canada. The certification body employs, or has access to, a sufficient number of auditors, including audit team leaders, and technical experts to cover all of the audit work performed. Individual auditors employed or contracted by the certification body have the requisite forestry expertise and appropriate knowledge and skills relevant to the geographic areas in which it operates. In addition to the initial certification audit, there are mandatory annual surveillance audits which include both a document review and on-site checks of the forest and management system to ensure that progress is being made towards the achievement of targets and that the SFM requirements are being met. The certification body should implement a risk-based audit sampling approach and, as such, some criteria in this Standard may be assessed more frequently than others. A full recertification audit is required periodically following the initial certification, in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17021.

0.9 Transparency

This Standard specifies requirements for full public disclosure of

a) all SFM plans developed under the Standard;

b) annual reports on progress in implementing SFM plans; and

c) results of independent certification and surveillance audit reports.


This Standard specifies requirements for sustainable forest management (SFM) of a defined forest area (DFA), including requirements for

a) the management framework;

b) commitment;

c) public participation;

d) performance measures and targets;

e) the systematic review of actions;

f) the monitoring of effectiveness; and

g) continual improvement.

Note: While this Standard provides guidance to users regarding certification, requirements for certification and decisions regarding approval rest with the certification bodies.

In this Standard, "shall" is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the standard; "should" is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and "may" is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the Standard.

Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material.

Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.

Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.

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