Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Forest Certification
Mains level: Forest Certification Scheme of India
- Recently, a Geneva-based non-profit decided to endorse the Certification Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) developed by Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), an Indian non-profit.
- Forest certification is a global movement initiated in 1990s after Rio Earth Summit.
- It is a market-based non-regulatory conservation tool designed to promote sustainable management of forests and trees outside forests by an independent third party.
- As several developed countries have put trade restrictions on import of non-certified timber, non-timber forest products and wood-based goods into their countries, getting sustainable forest management certificates has become mandatory for exports.
- The council of Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) that provides independent third-party certification for sustainable forest management took this decision through a postal ballot.
- India now has a globally recognised forest-certification scheme developed specifically for Indian forests.
- Forest-based industries in India, particularly those for paper, boards, plywood, medium density fibreboard, furniture and handicrafts etc, have been pushing for forest certification to enhance their market accessibility to western markets including European Union and USA.
- The NCCF was set up in 2015 by representatives of forest-based industries, non-profits, forest auditors and government forest departments with an aim to set standards for certifying India’s forests, their products and their sustainable management.
- The NCCF’s forest certification scheme is aimed to improve India’s forest management regime that is often criticised for various issues ailing the sector such as forest rights, forest degradation, biodiversity losses, encroachments, lack of manpower, etc.