To produce products that meet Commonwealth Quality specifications requires an attention to detail and a vision towards investing in our forests for the future. Meeting this challenge Landowners and Licensed Timber Harvesters must adhere to the Massachusetts Forest Cutting Practices Act (M.G.L. CH. 132) and follow Best Management Practices (BMPs) that guide environmental responsibility.

Explore below to learn more about CQP certification requirements.


Timber Harvester License

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the country to require that a timber harvester be licensed. To become licensed, a harvester must pass an exam that demonstrates his or her knowledge of state timber laws and best management practices (BMPs) pertaining to harvesting. Harvesters who wish to renew their license must accrue nine hours of continuing education credits within each three-year certification period. Continuing education curriculum includes courses on subjects such as wetland identification, rare species habitat protection, wildlife management, invasive species mitigation, and safety.
Licenses are issued by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Massachusetts Forest Cutting Practices Act (M.G.L. CH. 132)

The Forest Cutting Practices Act was created to ensure harvested land remains in a condition that does not jeopardize public interest. It states that public welfare requires the rehabilitation, maintenance and protection of forestlands for the purposes of:

  • - Conserving water

  • - Preventing floods and soil erosion

  • - Improving the conditions for wildlife and recreation

  • - Protecting and improving air and water quality

  • - Ensuring a continuous supply of forest products for public consumption, farm use, and the wood-using industries of the Commonwealth

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) administers Chapter 132. A forestry committee, appointed by the governor, develops cutting practices and guidelines to ensure the above objectives are met.

Long-Term Forest Management & Land Use

Wood products bearing the Commonwealth Quality seal can only be sourced from forests engaged in long-term management. To qualify for long term forest management classification a landowner must certify in a Forest Cutting Plan their intent to improve the timber harvesting site utilizing science-based forest management techniques that:

  • - Promote Understory Regeneration

  • - Protect soil and water quality

  • - Enhance wildlife habitat

  • - Maintain recreational opportunities

  • - Improve tree quality for future management

Commonwealth Quality program requirements also certify that wood products are not sourced from harvests that convert land to a non-forest or non-agricultural use. This requirement helps guarantee that products carrying the Commonwealth Quality brand support forest management that preserves working forest land for agriculture, wildlife, and recreation.
Wood products sourced from small scale timber harvesting and urban trees are also eligible for Commonwealth Quality certification.

Massachusetts Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The forestry BMPs are a series of work practices set by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) as a means to minimize the environmental impact of timber harvesting operations. Developed in a review process with input from industry stakeholders and the public the Massachusetts Forestry BMPs provide guidelines for:

  • - Preserving drinking water supplies

  • - Protecting wetlands, vernal pools, and water bodies

  • - Identifying critical rare and endangered species habitat

  • - Mitigating soil contamination 

  • - Limiting unintentional ignition of forest fires.