207-688-8195 Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast

Northeast Master Logger Certification

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In 2000, the PLC created the world’s first 3rd party certification program, Northeast Master Logger Program.  Today, Master Logger certification is represented in 20 states and 3 countries.  The Northeast Master Logger Certification Program offers third-party independent certification of logging companies’ harvesting practices. The certification system is built around standards that have been cross-referenced to all of the world’s major green certification systems.


This stewardship program operates under the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands.  The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNF) is a 501(c)3 organization formed by the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine in 2003 to administer the Northeast Master Logger Certification program with the broader goal of “enhancing the health of working forest ecosystems through exceptional accountability” throughout the Northern Forest region.

The Trust supports exemplary forest professionals, landowners, and wood product manufacturing companies who are committed to responsible and accountable management of forest ecosystems by providing low-cost access to forest certification and building the region’s capacity to produce third party certified forest products and ecosystem services. 

Who? Maine was the first place in the world with a point-of-harvest Master Logger Certification program, offering third party independent certification of logging companies’ harvesting practices. The certification system is built around performance standard that has been cross-referenced to all of the world’s major green certification systems, and has been adopted by several other North American states and Canadian provinces. In 2007 the Maine MLC program became the Northeast Master Logger Certification Program (NEMLC) to include loggers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. While companies range in size from large contractors to small, independent sole proprietors, together they represent all areas of the northeast.

Why? To compete successfully in a global marketplace, we believe that Northeastern harvesting companies and other forest professionals must demonstrate that they set a world standard for economic AND environmental performance. To do this, a profession’s essential practices must be defined and each company must be certified to an exemplary standard. The performance standard must be based on performance in the forest and through business practices.  Once that performance is recognized, harvesting companies can move forward as an equal partner with others to ensure economic viability for all rural communities.

When? Rather than be swept along by the changes occurring in the global marketplace, the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine decided in 2000 to reinvent their profession and hold it to a world-leading standard of excellence. Their success has attracted national and international attention. In 2002, this pioneering effort in designing and implementing the NEMLC program was unanimously adopted as the national model for logger certification by the 27 state associations in the American Loggers Council.

What? The content of NEMLC is based on a common vision for communities and forest resources of the northeast. The
nine goals guide loggers in their work: Document Harvest Planning, Protect Water Quality, Maintain Soil Productivity,
Sustain Forest Ecosystems, Manage Forest Aesthetics, Ensure Workplace Safety, Demonstrate Continuous Improvement, Ensure Business Viability and Uphold Certificate Integrity.  These are detailed more with harvest responsibilities and explicit performance standards under each goal.  Field verifiers visit actual harvest sites to determine whether candidates for NEMLC are meeting and exceeding the required performance standard. Their findings are submitted to an independent board that makes the final decision. To remain, certified, each company must be recertified after two years and every 4 years if without incident. Random audits are performed between recertifications, encouraging the upgrading of skills within the company, continuous improvement, and an attitude of partnership with other forest professionals and their associations. In 2005, the MLC program was recognized by the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program with the first ever SmartLogging certificate. This certificate represents an independent, global recognition of the integrity of the Master Logger standard. If a Master Logger wishes to continue to obtain certification for Chain of Custody they may apply to do so.

Where? As of 2011, the New England states, New York,Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, 3 Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) and Japan have Master Logger programs based on this model.

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