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Forest certification

A forester standing in a patch of ferns in the woods looks at equipment

Forest certification

Managing forests sustainably

Michigan’s state forests are sustainably and responsibly managed: two independent organizations say so. Forest certification is a means for evaluating and confirming the quality of forest management against sets of agreed-upon standards. It also involves tracking and labeling wood-based and non-timber forest products, and assuring consumers these products come from responsibly managed sources.

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) have standards to help ensure forests are managed responsibly for present and future generations. Both standards require continuous improvement in forest management while protecting the environment and providing social and economic benefits. 

Acres of certified forest land

Ownership All certifications FSC® certified acres SFI® certified acres American Tree Farm System
All ownership 5,894,528 4,224,274 5,393,719 0
DNR state forest 3,900,000 3,900,000 3,900,000 0
Private industrial 1,785,936 292,217 1,493,719 0
Private non-industrial 208,592 32,057 0 176,535

Data Sources: Data as of December 2020, obtained from the FSC® and SFI® websites and directly from certificate holders. Total acres include both productive and nonproductive forestland, as well as non-forested acres.

Audit process

Checking our work in forest management

Every year, auditors visit the state forest and evaluate on-the-ground activities such as cutting, planting and burning. They interview DNR staff and asses our management activities against the two separate certification standards. If we’re not measuring up, they will issue corrective action requests to bring the practices into conformance with the standards. 

Every five years, FSC® and SFI® conduct more comprehensive audits to renew our certification.

We also audit ourselves annually to ensure that our practices are in accordance with our policies and procedures - and therefore the certification standards - and that we are committed to improving our forest management.

Learn about forest management

Buying forest products

Responsible purchasing

When you buy a forest product such as lumber, paper or furniture, look for the FSC® or SFI® logo to ensure it comes from a responsibly managed forest.

Chain-of-custody certification tracks wood all the way from the forest to you. When you buy certified wood products, you’re using a renewable resource and rewarding responsible forest practices. 

Paper products made from trees including napkins, paper plates and biodegradable takeout containers


If you believe our forest management practices are not consistent with responsible forest management standards, please send your concerns to

If you have questions about forest certification, please contact Heather Shaw.