About Certification

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.  Our program is certified by the SmartLogging Certificate.

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.Content goes here

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.

Our Director

TedExecutive Director Edward (Ted) Wright:

Ted Wright has been hired as the new Executive Director of the Trust To Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNEF), which oversees the Northeast Master Logger Certification Program.  Ted was hired in the fall of 2015 and began work December, 8 2015.
Ted grew up in Aroostook County on a potato farm in Littleton, ME within sight of the Canadian border. He first became interested in logging through a friend, and began harvesting wood from the farm and discovered he really enjoyed logging.
Ted attended the University of Maine at Fort Kent and graduated in 2005 with an Associates degree in Applied Forest Management and a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies, then went to work at Louisiana-Pacific in Houlton for a year. Ted then took a job at the Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton teaching in their Wood Harvesting/Forestry program for seven years before accepting the TCNEF Director’s job.  Ted has moved the TCNEF office from its former home in New Gloucester to 106 Sewall Street in Augusta. He and his wife, Maggie, and children, Madigan and Ben, recently moved to Brunswick.

Who is on the Certification Board?

The NEMLC Certification Board represents the multiple interests in and values of the Northeastern Forest. Members have been state representatives, retired and current loggers, retired forestry practioners, academics, business consultants, and representatives of environmental, social justice, and regional development organizations. Members have expertise in one or more areas of natural resource management and rural economic development. To be eligible, NEMLC Certification Board members must not stand to receive any personal or corporate financial gain from the forest products industry or their participation on the NEMLC Certification Board.

The functions of the NEMLC Certification Board are:

  • Reviewing company applications and reports
  • Discussing applications and reports, coming to consensus decisions, and directing NEMLC staff as to their decisions or need for further information.
  • Guiding the NEMLC program in continuous improvement and contributing to program policies and procedures.

Current NEMLC Certification Board Members:

~ Bud Blumenstock, Professor Emeritus of Forestry, Old Town, ME

Nate-Levesque-Pottle-Jon~ Jonathan Pottle, Eaton Peabody, Bangor, ME                                                                                                              Jon practices in the areas of municipal law and finance, land use and economic development, civil litigation and administrative proceedings, as well as alternative energy, timberlands, and natural resource law. He represents municipalities, as well as private clients before Maine courts and in local, state, and federal proceedings.

Jon received a law degree and a masters in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He is also a recent graduate of the Bangor Region Leadership Institute.

Jon lives in Bangor, and serves on several community and regional boards and committees focused on the health of Maine people and its natural resources. Jon enjoys hockey, as well as outdoor recreation activities such as canoeing, skiing, hiking and mountaineering.

Jeff Dubis University of Maine at Fort Kent, ME.  Teaches Silviculture, Forest Operations, Forest Management, and Forest Ecology.

~ Wendy Farrand, Speaker/Writer

Limerick, ME

Kizha~ Anil Raj Kizha, Assistant Professor Forest Operations, University of Maine at Orono

Orono, ME ~ Dr. Kizha is an Assistant Professor of Forest Operations at University of Maine, Orono. He teaches timber harvesting courses and his research primarily investigates factors influencing the cost of timber harvesting operations and supply chain logistics. Dr. Kizha received a Doctoral (Forestry), and two masters (Forestry and Environmental Sciences) degrees from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA. He has worked in the major timber producing belts of the nation, including the Northeast, South and Pacific north coast, and in tropical forests of India. He is also serving as an Adjunct Professor at Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA.

~ Michelle Matteo, Forester,MA  ~ Michelle Matteo has served on the NEMLC program board since 2012.  Michelle is a Forest Management Lead Auditor for SFI, FSC, and PEFC Standards, with experience conducting audits for large and small private and public landowners. Michelle also conducts Lead Auditor Chain of Custody, Logger, and Procurement audits under the SFI, FSC, and PEFC Standards with experience conducting hundreds of COC audits for a broad range of manufacturers and distributors. She is also a forester,arborist, and biologist, and maintains a (state) Massachusetts Forester License as well as an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Arborist Certification, and is a current member of the Society of American Foresters. She has a background in urban and traditional forestry, wildlife biology, and watershed science, and has experience with both state and federal environmental regulations.  Michelle earned her MS in Forestry and BS in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Why do we need Certification?

The wood products industry has been under intense scrutiny in recent years as environmentalists, consumers, landowners, and policy makers have sought to achieve a balance among production, the stability of resource-based economies, and the long-term sustainability of our nation’s forests. A number of initiatives have resulted, and the focus has primarily been upon land management, production practices of wood products industries, and the safety of individual loggers.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certify that wood products industries are managing their lands in a manner that will not jeopardize the availability of forest resources for future generations. The International Standardization Organization (ISO 14001) certifies production practices, ensuring that mills are operated in a safe and efficient manner. State-specific logger training programs certify the technical and safety skills of individual loggers working in wood harvest operations in the Northern Forest region.

While these initiatives have led to improvements, one element of the wood products industry remains largely unmonitored. Wood harvesting companies, ranging from sole proprietors to large-scale businesses with multiple employees, have perhaps the greatest direct impact on the health of the forest ecosystem. Their operations supply raw material for wood products industries, but they also have the potential to conserve or compromise water and soil quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and forest aesthetics.

Recognizing the need to certify natural resource harvesting companies, the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine began to develop the Master Logger Certification (MLC) Program in January 2000. A draft MLC document outlining the certification requirements was written and widely distributed to wood harvesters, forest products industry representatives, and policy makers during the spring and summer of 2000. Their feedback was incorporated into the document, and the MLC program was prepared for the piloting process. The first cohort of MLC companies began the certification process in January 2001 and were certified on July 31, 2001. Subsequently, in 2005, an independent non-profit organization – the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands – took over the administration of the MLC program, creating the conditions for MLC’s status as a third-party certification system. Shortly thereafter, the MLC program in Maine combined efforts with the Southern New England MLC program to create the NEMLC program, serving harvesting companies in six Northeastern states (ME, NH, MA, CT, RI, VT and NY). NEMLC continues to collaborate with MLC programs in Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI), Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Read more about TCNF’s certifications

Please send me an application to enroll in the Master Logger program.

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