Italian national forest stewardship standard

This standard is applicable to all forest operations seeking FSC certification within Italy. The main aim of the national standard is to promote, disseminate, and support forms of responsible forest management at national level, enhancing forest functions, suitable from environmental, social, and economic points of view. The standard applies to all forest types including non-timber forest products (NTFP) and ecosystem services. The Italian standard development process started in January 2015. A national approach was adopted to develop a forest management standard for all the different forest management types in the country. The standard was signed and approved by the FSC International Board’s Policy and Standards Committee (PSC) on 26 October 2017.

Italian forests

The Italian forested areas have been growing for some time, and now cover more than 9.2 million hectares (Mha), equivalent to about one third of the country’s total area. Only 93,000 ha are classified as primary forests, while 8.5 Mha are considered as naturally regenerated forests, and almost 0.64 Mha are forest plantations (mainly poplar). Italian forests are mostly located in hilly or mountainous areas: 65 per cent of them are situated over 500 m altitude. About 42 per cent of forests are managed as coppices, 36 per cent are stand (high) forests, and the remainder consists of riparian and rupicolous forests and shrubs. Coppices predominate in central-southern Italy, while most of the productive high forests (mainly coniferous) are in the north-east of the country. Broadleaved species such as beech, oaks, poplars, and chestnut make up two thirds of the total growing stock at national scale, while the main coniferous species are pines, spruce, and larch.

Developing national standards globally

There are over 80 countries working to transfer their national standards from version 4 of the Principles and Criteria to version 5. Some 10 countries have already finished, or are at the last stages of finishing the process. Of the remaining 70 countries, about 40 have a chamber balanced standard development group, usually supported by an FSC national or regional office. In the other 30 countries, where there is usually no FSC network presence, standards are being developed by certification bodies, resulting in interim national standards.


For additional details on the approval process and conditions for approval raised by the PSC, please contact the forest management team: email Fon. Gordian Fanso (