Forest Certification is the process by which the performances of on-the-ground forestry operations are assessed against a predetermined set of standards. It is a mechanism for forest monitoring, tracing, and labeling timber, wood, and pulp products and non-timber forests products where the quality of management from environmental, social, and economic perspectives is judged against a series of agreed standers. Forest certification is intended to improve forest management via market-based initiatives.
Also Read: NTFP and Forest Management certification
How did the concept of forest certification emerge?
- 1985-1990; growing concern over the state of the world’s forests, and the sustainability of extraction of timber and other products.
- So the sustainable forest management concept emerged.
- To promote sustainable forest management by identifying the well-managed forest, registration and certification procedures were started.
- So the public is led to believe that products labeled with the logo of sustainably managed forest are from environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable sources.
- however, there are questions related to sustainable forest management (SFM) such as, how can the local people manage the forest in a sustainable way?
- To answer these questions, NGOs involved in conservation such as Green Peace, Worldwide Fund for Nature, Friends of the Earth, etc thought to establish a mechanism to encourage sustainable forest management and discourage unsustainable harvesting.
Importance of Forest Certification
- Forest certification intends to decrease the negative impacts of forest management. This is achieved by implementing an agreed code of practice known as standards. Implementation of these codes is verified by an independent or third-party institution.
- If forests are sustainably managed, a certificate of responsible forest management is given to the forest managers. The forest manager can put the logo to identify the product coming from a certified forest. Consumers identify such products from the stamp used in the product.
- It helps in improving the quality of products in the market.
- Certification helps compete in the international market.
- Helps to maintain a sustained supply of forest products and services.
- It helps in sustainably managing the forest product, providing green employment, and helping uplift the community.
- It helps in proper soil and water conservation along with habitat.
- Helps ensure the customers that the product they are using is from an environmentally sound, socially beneficial forest.
Forest certification refers to two separate processes viz. forest management unit certification (FMU) and chain of custody certification (COC).
- Forest management certification is a process that verifies that an area of forest/plantations from where the wood, fiber, and other non-timber forest products is extracted managed to a defined standard.
- COC certification is a process of tracking forest products from the certified forest to the point of sale to ensure that product originated from a certified forest.
Forest Certified Systems
There are many forest certification systems in the world and each has different criteria and indicators.
- Forests Stewardship Council (FSC )
- Program for the Endorsement of the Forest Certification (PEFC)
- European schemes linked to PEFC
- Canadian Standards Association
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative/American tree Farm system
- Australian Forestry Standards (AFS)
- Finish Forest Certification Scheme (FFCS)
- Developing countries: brazil (CERFLOR), Malaysia (MTCC).