The body will assess whether existing forest certification schemes meet the Government's requirements. DEFRA warned that its advice could be "controversial" and prompt "representations from disaffected parties" such as certification schemes.
The centre will also review the definitions of "legal" and "sustainable" timber and how standards could be set to encourage timber producers towards certification. It will also set targets and reporting requirements.
Work will start early in 2004. The centre will be accountable to a management board of stakeholder representatives. The board will consider extending the scope of the centre's activities when its initial work is completed.
Meanwhile, the Timber Trade Federation is developing a new sustainable timber procurement policy, matching the Government requirements, for adoption by its members.