Forest Management Certification is a voluntary tool that optimizes and enhances Forest Management Practices via market incentives. Forest certification found its roots in the concern over rapid tropical deforestation in the 1980s and 1990s (Merry and Carter 1996, Kiekens 2003). The objective of controlling the depletion of tropical forests and the prevention of its illegal logging was the primary motivation for the introduction of Forest Management Certification schemes as the preferred method for sustainable management of forests. There are currently two mainstream operational Forest Management Certification schemes available on a global level; FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) launched in 1993, PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) was founded in 1999.
The consensus in the forestry and sustainable development community is that Forest Management Certification has been beneficial towards responsible forest management and therefore should be further promoted. However, the aforementioned Forest Management Certification schemes are by design generic in nature to be applicable on a global level without any specificity to particular countries for long, and as such are not pragmatic enough for uniform application by all countries within their jurisdictions. India is among the world’s most forested countries with a growing demand for forest products considering the diversity in the forests, the unsustainable management of forests is a significant challenge for India as a developing country. There is a growing realization among different forest/plantation-based stakeholders of the country that India needs to develop Forest Certification standards and systems, which governs the management of forest & forest produce on the principles of sustainable forest management (SFM) and ensures inspection, validation & verification of SFM parameters, and be eventually endorsed by a well recognized international body in the field of forest certification. NCCF came into existence in January 2015 intending to establish a country-specific forest certification scheme and promote responsible forest management in the Country.