Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme launched to promote Sustainable Management of forests and agroforestry

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched the Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme. This national forest certification scheme offers voluntary third-party certification designed to promote sustainable forest management and agroforestry in the country. The scheme includes forest management certification, tree outside forest management certification, and chain of custody certification.

The Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme can provide market incentives to various entities that adhere to responsible forest management and agroforestry practices in their operations. This includes state forest departments, individual farmers, or Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in agroforestry and farm forestry, as well as other wood-based industries in the value chain.

The Forest Management certification is based on the Indian Forest Management Standard, consisting of 8 criteria, 69 indicators and 254 verifiers, which is an integral part of the National Working Plan Code 2023, launched earlier this year. A separate Trees Outside Forests Standard, is now introduced as a part of the newly launched Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme.

The Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme, will be overseen by the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Council, which will act as a multistakeholder advisory body. The Council is represented by members from eminent institutions such as Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Forest Survey of India, Quality Council of India, Indian Institute of Forest Management including representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Ministry of Commerce and Industry, State Forest Departments, Forest Development Corporations, and representatives from wood-based industries.

Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal will act as the scheme operating agency and will be responsible for overall management of the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme.

The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under the Quality Council of India will accredit the certification bodies which will carry out independent audits and assess adherence of various entities on the standards prescribed under the scheme.

Click here to see scheme details

New Forest Conservation Rules, 2022

New Forest Conservation Rules, 2022

As per the provisions of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Approval of the Central Government under the Forest (Conservation), Act 1980 is a prior approval of the Central Government which does not directly lead to non-forestry use or breaking of forest land.  Process of approval for diversion of forest land culminates after issuance of final diversion order by the State Government or UT concerned which authorizes use of forest land for intended purpose and hands over the land to the user agency.

Provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 under sub clause b(ii) of sub rule 6 of rule 9 provide that “The State Government or Union territory Administration, as the case may be, after receiving the ‘Final’ approval of the Central Government under Section 2 of the Act, and after fulfillment and compliance of the provisions of all other Acts and rules made there under, as applicable including ensuring settlement of rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (No. 2 of 2007), shall issue order for diversion, assignment of lease or dereservation, as the case may be” imply that Forest (Conservation) Rules,2022 emphasize the compliance of the provisions of all Acts and Rules.

Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 have been promulgated solely to implement the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Process as envisaged in the Act and the rules framed there under is a parallel process with other statutory processes. The Rules do not inhibit the commencement of processes envisaged in other laws like Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Land Acquisition Act, 1896, Forest Rights Act, 2006, etc. Provisions envisaged in other statutory laws can be undertaken simultaneously by the respective nodal implementing agencies. The State Government or Union territory may ensure compliance of such statutes at the very initial or at any other stage as the provisions of Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 do not bar the authorities to do so, but in in any case, it should be done before handing over forest land to the user agency.

Read the press release here.

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What is CITES?

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.


Widespread information about the endangered status of many prominent species, such as the tiger and elephants, might make the need for such a convention seem obvious. But at the time when the ideas for CITES were first formed, in the 1960s, international discussion of the regulation of wildlife trade for conservation purposes was something relatively new. With hindsight, the need for CITES is clear. Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.

Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

What are the CITES Appendices?

Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species accorded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation. The appendices list species according to the threat of exploitation, as mentioned below.

Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants

Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.

Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.