About Master Logger Certification


Minnesota Master Logger Certification is a performance-based program that recognizes both training and experience. Minnesota Master Logger Certification (MMLC) is a recognition and acknowledgement of the professionalism of both the individual logger and the business of logging.

Our History


Often, the only forest management advice a family forest owner receives is from a logger who approaches the landowner to procure wood. While many loggers are very experienced and have a professional approach to wood procurement, the Minnesota Logger Education Program (MLEP) believes that a well-trained and experienced logger with a broader vision of forestry can provide family forest landowners with sustainable forest management information. MLEP developed the Minnesota Master Logger Certification (MMLC) program to address the challenge of providing certified fiber from family forestlands to the marketplace.

Minnesota Master Logger Certification, administered through the MLEP, is a performance-based program for loggers that recognizes training, experience, and the application of sound business and sustainable logging practices. Logger certification has been recognized as a way to independently verify the harvest, safety and business practices of participant loggers against specific standards designed to ensure forest are managed and harvested responsibly. MMLC has been endorsed by Time Inc. as meeting the requirements of their Certified Sustainable Forestry program.

Many Minnesota loggers already meet the standards and criteria required for certification, but they do not have a way to authenticate that their customers. Loggers who become certified are able to provide certified wood to the market place. This means loggers and mills in Minnesota will be in a strong position to provide certified wood from family forestlands to customers like Time Inc. that require certified wood in the products they purchase.

A working group representing the broad forestry community was established in early 2005 to develop the MMLC program and its policies, as well as set-up the certifying board. The program is comprised of eight areas of responsibility such as "Protection of Water Quality and Soils", "Adherence to Site Specific Harvest and Management Plans" and "Compliance with Regulations Applicable to Logging Operations." Each responsibility area includes measurable performance standards and practices.

A logger participating in the program undergoes a third-party audit of his or her business practices and harvest sites. Independent auditors who have been trained on the MMLC standard conduct field audits on a sample of sites the applicant has harvested within the last 12 months. The logging business and harvest practices are evaluated against 138 practices in eight major areas of responsibility. Based on their findings, the auditors provide the certifying board a recommendation for or against certification. An eight member certifying board, which represents a broad range of forestry interests, reviews the audits and recommendations and makes the final determination on whether the applicant's business can be certified. To be certified, a logging business must pass all eight areas of the MMLC standard on all audited sites.

Once a logging business is certified, the certification status is good until the next recertification audit which will occur within five years. During any given year, the certified business may be randomly selected for recertification. As each year passes, the probability that the business will be selected for recertification increases. No Minnesota Certified Master Logger will go longer than five years without being recertified.

How and Why?


What is the Difference Between the Minnesota Logger Education Program and the Minnesota Master Logger Certification Program?
Master Logger certification is a voluntary, add-on component of MLEP. The Minnesota Master Logger Certification Program is a third-party audited certification of a logging operation's business and harvest practices.

Why is Certification Needed?
Several mills in Minnesota and across the country have been asked to meet a target that more than 80% of the resource going into their product be certified. Minnesota has 15 million acres of timberland. Of that 15 million, 37% is controlled by family forest landowners and these family forests provide 45% of the timber harvested each year. Logger certification addresses this challenge by providing certified wood from family forestland to the market place. This means loggers and mills in Minnesota will be in a strong position to provide certified wood from family forestlands to customers like Time Inc.

How Was the Program Developed?
MLEP's Master Logger Certification Program was developed by a working group including representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Forestry Association, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Forest Industries, Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota, Minnesota Timber Producers Association, Izaak Walton League and Dovetail, Inc.

Certifying Board


The certifying board is made up of eight members. Members serve three year terms, except that, for the first board, up to one-third of those members shall serve on the board for a term of three years and up to one-third shall serve for a term of two years. In order to provide for a certifying board which broadly represents the forest community, the board shall include representatives from various groups:

Environmental or conservation organization
Chris Dunham, The Nature Conservancy (Chair)
Term Expires: 2018

Owner of nonindustrial, private forestland
Doug Applegren, Minnesota Forestry Association
Term Expires: 2017

Association representing forest products within the state
Tim O'Hara, Minnesota Forest Industries (Vice Chair)
Term Expires: 2019

Organization representing the interest of management of game species
Shawn Perich
Term Expires: 2017

Public agency involved in land management
Doug Tillma, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Term Expires: 2016

Post-secondary education institution
Dr. Mike Kilgore, University of Minnesota - Department of Forest Resources
Term Expires: 2017

Active or retired commercial logging contractor from another state in the lakes states region
Warren Suchovsky, Suchovsky Logging (MI Master Logger)
Term Expires: 2016

At-large representative
Greg Bernu, Carlton County Land Commissioner
Term Expires: 2018

A member of the Minnesota Logger Education Program's Board of Directors shall serve as an ex officio member of the certifying board. An ex officio member of the certifying board does not have the right to vote.

Josh Hull, Hull Forest Products



Minnesota Master Logger Certification - 1111 Cloquet Ave; Suite 7 - Cloquet MN 55720

Phone (218) 879-5633 - Fax (218) 879-5261