Forest Certification is being practiced in the industry since the 1990’s and presently, there are more than one standard or certification process that govern more than 3.2% of the world’s forest lands.
In the last decade, Forest Certification has acted as one of the most effective ways of promoting Sustainable Forest Management. It clearly addresses three issues; deforestation, maintaining the biodiversity and forest degradation. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) are some of the main Forest Certification systems in the lime light today.
Although, the present certification criteria address most of the issues in forestry, when considering man-made forests and plantations, they have not been able to put an end to the chemical usage in forestry, as in fertilizer, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides etc. Usage of these can offset the reduction in Carbon Foot Print that one hopes for by planting more and more trees. Additionally, there are the health problems caused by the heavy metal ingredients and other toxic matter. This scenario has provoked the need of an Organic Certification for man-made forests as well.
Organic Certification is not new to the globe or to Sri Lanka; it has been amongst in the form of Organic Certification for Agricultural Products and other food types. Since, no fixed criteria have still been derived for the Organic Forest Certification, one has to consult the prevailing Agricultural Organic Certification criteria and the FSC guidelines to obtain a clear picture. In this study, the candidate has chosen to make reference to two Organic Agricultural Standards, one from Sri Lanka and the other from India.
The possibility of obtaining Organic Certification for man-made forests is not only about deriving the guidelines. Further, a well defined market should be maintained in order to avoid market failures of this important non-governmental market instrument of Sustainable Forest Management.