The Bhamragarh Forest Division of India's Maharashtra Forest Department has become the country's first natural forest management program to earn Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for responsible forestry. Third-party certifier SCS Global Services (SCS) conducted the audit of the 378,000-hectare area and issued the certification.
In addition to being the first natural forest in India to be FSC certified, Bhamragarh is the largest forest operation of any kind in India, and the first state-owned forest, to earn the distinction. The SCS team completed a 6-day field and office audit of the forest management operations as part of the certification evaluation. In addition to field examinations, the audit team collected and analyzed records and conducted interviews with staff and key stakeholders.
'The Maharashtra Forest Department has, through its policies and practices, demonstrated a strong commitment to responsible forest management,' said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, SCS Executive Vice President. 'The Bhamragarh Forest Division underwent a rigorous audit to earn FSC certification and stands as a great example for forestry in India.'
The Bhamragarh Forest Division plays a key role in the region's economy. It provides timber for the Indian furniture market and supplies local pulp and paper mills. The local tribal communities of Madias, Oraon, Gonds and Pradhan rely on the forest for employment in timber harvesting, tendu leaf collection for beedi manufacture, and collection of Mahua flowers and honey. The primary species being harvested are bamboo, teak, bombax, terminalia, and dalbergia.
SCS Global Services (SCS) (formerly Scientific Certification Systems) has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for nearly 30 years. Its programs span a wide cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retail, and more. SCS provides accredited services under a wide range of internationally recognized certification programs. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. www.SCSGlobalServices.com
SOURCE SCS Global Services