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Greening India: The National Forest Certification Initiative



  Oct 30, 2023

National Forest Certification: A Step Towards Sustainable Management



Introduction

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, has proposed a national forest certification program to mitigate wildfire risks and improve forest management in India.
This comes in the backdrop of forest fires posing a significant threat to the country's green cover and affecting livelihoods.

The Need for Forest Certification

According to the Forest Survey of India, around 50% of the country's forest areas are prone to wildfires,
affecting approximately 3.73 million hectares annually. Globally, about 100 million hectares or 3% of the world's forested area is also impacted by fires.

What is Forest Certification?

Forest certification is a procedure for:

Monitoring
Tracing
Labelling
Timber, wood and pulp products, and non-timber forest products. It evaluates the quality of forest management from environmental, social, and economic perspectives. Certificates are issued by independent parties, affirming that a forest area meets a defined standard.

Benefits and Goals

Promoting Sustainability: Ensures forests are managed sustainably.

Community Involvement: Addresses the rights and concerns of indigenous communities.

Economic Contribution: Aims to bolster the forestry sector's contribution to India's GDP, currently at 1.7%.

Legal Compliance: Ensures adherence to various forest laws.

Global Perspective

Forest certification has gained international attention as an effective tool for promoting responsible forest management.

Conclusion

A national forest certification scheme could be a significant step forward in managing forest resources sustainably, involving indigenous communities,
and also in contributing positively to the nation's economy.
Given the scale of the challenge posed by forest fires, this could be an instrumental tool in shaping India's green future.


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