Every state uses a mix of voluntary and mandatory programs for registering, licensing, and/or certifying operators and professionals engaged in forest management, timber harvesting, and the buying/selling of timber products. In addition, private companies, state agencies, and professional societies, such as the Society of American Foresters, sponsor voluntary certification practitioner programs like the Certified Forester Program and Master Logger Program.
One of the main ways to identify legal timber from private lands in the United States is documentation showing assurance of legal ownership of the lands or use rights pertaining to where the harvest took place. In addition, the purchase contract between the owner and the buyer are relevant documents.
To learn more about individual state and territory forest management programs and policies, check out this interactive map.