Currently there are Forest Certification schemes available globally however, the aforementioned Forest Management Certification schemes are by design generic in nature so as to be applicable on a global level without any specificity to particular countries for long. There presently exist various certification mechanisms designed to address these issues globally, but it was felt within the Indian wood based industry (who have to bear the brunt of complying with the regulations and certification requirements) that the existing international certification schemes do not do justice to the practices and trends in forestry and timber production in Indian conditions where majority of wood production is unorganised and uncertified. There was a felt need for the development of an India specific certification scheme, which while meeting the stringent global requirements of sustainability, would also be sympathetic to the forestry and the needs of our forest growers, farmers and forest based industries.
Benefits of the Nation specific FM Certification Standard
Forest Management Certification has been beneficial towards responsible forest management promoting sustainable management of the forests and trees outside forests including agroforestry plantations (which supports livelihood of around 20 millions farmers).
Criteria and Indicators at the national level may be used to guide countrywide policies, regulations and legislations necessary to achieve national and international objectives of Sustainable Forest Management.
Provide a scope for better market access as well as ensuring market driven product design and technological interventions for the timber/ non timber-products produced from certified forests and plantations.
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.