Sustainable & FSC Certified Forestry

FSC® Certification Guarantees Sustainable Management of Our Forests.

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One of our foresters brought Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) to the Hickman family in the late 1990s. President Denny Hickman’s first reaction was, “Yeah, right, the last thing we need is Al Gore telling us how to grow oak trees.” However, Denny took the time to learn about the FSC® program. He realized the timber management guidelines required were comparable to how the Hickman family has been managing forests for decades but lacked detailed documentation.  He decided to join in 1999, mainly to help gain the trust of local landowners to work with a sawmill managing their forest.  It’s been a great benefit to the land owner and to our business.

In 1999, Hickman Lumber was the first sawmill in Pennsylvania to become FSC certified through SmartWood.

FSC® is the gold standard for sustainable wood flooring certification.  It is a global, voluntary certification that is a bridge between environmentalist groups and private industry.   With annual audits and detailed management plans, it became a great tool for the private landowner to understand and trust a sawmill to manage their forests. 

The FSC® Certification gives power to consumers to support sustainable forestry.  Hickman Lumber & Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring customers are confident that their wood is sourced from well-managed forests. FSC is also required for many green building certifications such as LEED & Living Building Challenge




Responsible forestry and caring for the environment are not new to Hickman Lumber. We’ve responsibly managed our lands for over fifty years before FSC® existed. 

Hickman Lumber Company believes that a responsible stewardship ethic in the planning, management, and use of the forest’s resources today will preserve our forests. It will ensure their continued economic, social, and environmental benefits and values are here for years to come.  This stewardship requires committing land to forest, using proper silviculture in a holistic approach to timber management, aesthetics, wildlife management, and society.

The Hickman family knows wood is good.  We love our forests and trees, and our mission is to create high-quality wood products, like flooring, that will continue to store the carbon from those trees and last in homes for generations. 

From the time Harry Hickman began logging in the 1930s until today, the Hickman family has cared for and respected our hardwood forests as a valuable renewable resource worth protecting. People don’t always realize we care more about growing trees than cutting them down. 

Denny Hickman with daughters Annie and Melissa at tube farm 2012 (inset 1995)
Hickman Lumber company planted 40 acres of trees. Here are 2 pictures almost 20 years apart of Denny and 2 of his daughters at the same location.

What You Can Grow With A Properly Managed Forest?

Do you own land and aren’t sure what to do with it?  Let us help.   We have the experience to help you create a working forest. 

Our general management practices do not involve clear-cut and replanting our forests; we manage them to assist in natural regeneration. Most timber properties are on a 10-year +/- harvest cycle to create and maintain an uneven-aged management plan. 

We tend to our forests as you’d tend to your garden. Pulling out the weeds and harvesting the trees when they are ripe. With single tree selection management, we will harvest a mature tree to open the forest canopy allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor. This will allow nearby saplings to grow and new regeneration to sprout in its place.

This holistic management method is good for the long-term investment of the timber stand, growing large straight trees to harvest high-quality lumber. It is also important for wildlife to provide a diverse ecosystem throughout the woods.

Learn more about FSC® Certified Forestry

The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC) is an international organization that accredits third-party certifiers such as Preferred by Nature (previously NEPCon, Rainforest Alliance and Smart Wood). Forest management operations that meet the FSC principles and criteria for environmental, economic, and social standards are awarded FSC Certification. Operations that purchase and sell FSC-certified products can achieve certification when they meet Chain-of-Custody standards.

FSC accredited independent, “third-party” certification bodies or “certifiers” that assess companies and landowners according to FSC policies, principles and criteria.

Preferred by Nature  has a long-standing history in the US & Canada going back more than 25 years. Their presence first started as RA-Cert, the certification unit of Rainforest Alliance which then merged with Preferred by Nature in 2018. As such, their staff have 20-30 years of experience working in sustainable land use and supply chain certification.

Preferred by Nature sends a team of academics to audit Hickman Lumber and Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring each year. During the audit various timber sites are checked to see how we have harvested and cleaned up each site. They talk to the logger and the landowners. They also ensure we have plans written to maintain each site. The audit includes following the paperwork & lumber trail from the logs sourced from FSC certified property through the sawmill and flooring plant.

We originally were interested in the FSC to help give land owners confidence in allowing us as a sawmill to manage their forest.  Today we have many happy testimonies to provide and we still continue to manage under the FSC program giving trust to the landowner that we are managing the forest in the best interests of the forest.

Your purchasing power will help save our forests. Letting other forest product companies, your customers, and the public know that you are actively supporting certified forest practices. As more companies and individuals are empowered to make a difference and support responsible forestry, the entire forest ecosystem will benefit. By buying certified lumber and flooring you are helping to ensure future generations the opportunity to enjoy our forests for their own intrinsic beauty and values, as well as clean air to breathe and minimize C02 in the atmosphere.


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