NCCF has constituted a Standard Development Group (SDG) in a transparent manner and after following detailed guidelines of UN Agenda 21 for developing the National Standards for Forest Certification and SFM. The SDG is represented by professional foresters, representatives from forestry research and academic institutions, business, NGOs (social and environment related), workers and trade unions, youth, women and tribal groups and certification bodies.
The SDG while developing draft standard is considering and taking in to account all relevant work done by the institutions such as IIFM as well as domestic and international certification agencies in terms of the standards for the management of plantation and forests in the different agro-ecological regions of the country. The draft standards would be India specific; and would involve key elements of existing models in India viz the Bhopal India Process of the IIFM, the National Working Plan Code and the provisions contained in the National Forest Policy for promotion of afforestation, sustainable utilization of forest products and growth of the forest based industries.
The standard envisages the development of principles, criteria and indicators, which, at the national level, that can be used to guide countrywide policies, regulations and legislations necessary to achieve national objectives on sustainable forest management, while internationally, they can hold up to the most rigorous standards for sustainable forest management presently in vogue. On a broader level, the standard will become a tool for assessment and improvement of forest and plantation management practices and in the process will have an aspirational approach so as to help in the gradual and persistent improvement of the existing forest management system. It is required to clarify here that the standard is intended for voluntary application to any forest, plantation or tree clad area, regardless of size or ownership.
In the present document, major issues relevant to forest certification have been grouped together into similar Themes, with the Themes further designed and organized to conform to the ‘triple bottom-line’ approach of sustainability and responsible forest management, with the underlying ideal of ‘socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically viable’ forest management. The themes and its organization are as follows:
Trees Outside Forests
Network for Certification and Conservations of Forests (NCCF) has launched an Initiative to develop standards on Responsible/Sustainable management of Trees Outside Forests (TOF).
In India, where 95% of the total forest cover is under the ownership of central and state government, majority of industrial demand is fulfilled from the Trees present outside the forests. Therefore, the concept of TOF is not new in the country and targeted efforts to promote expand and increase production from this resource may hold promise. For this reason, NCCF sturdily believes that the TOF has great contribution in fulfilling industrial raw material demand and bringing them in purview of certification will eliminate the market barriers and will formally include TOF in the scope of forest management certification.
A Technical Working group of 5 members for TOF standard development process has been formed. A notice for inviting Expression of Interest Standard Development group (SDG) for TOF certification standard has been sent to all the relevant stakeholders (industry, environment, forest department) and development is going on for formation of a SDG. Besides outlining the basic framework of the TOF certification standard,