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In 1952, forest policy fixed a target of 100 million hectares 33%terr cover for the country. This has still not achieved. Its main failure was to put on an equal footing the people’s need for minor forest produce, industry’s demand for raw materials and the states demand for revenue. The policy was revised in 1988. The forest policy of 1988 talked about a symbiotic relationship between forest and forest dwellers. The main objectives of the revised policy of 1988 are:
Preservation of nature balance and Conservation of Natural Heritage. To control erosion of soil, denudation in catchment areas and extension of sand dunes in the north-west desert region and along the coasts. To provide rural and tribal people their requirement of forest products. Utilizing products of forestry in the best manner possible. Increasing the productivity of forest as well the forest cover by a forestation programmed among other. Involving the people to meet the objectives.
In 1988, the forest (conservation) Act of 1980 to prevent deforestation and use of forest land for non-forestry purpose was also amended punishment in case of violation was included. To prevent destruction of forest by fires, a modern forest fire control project was started in 1984 with the assistance of UNDP. The forest policy may not be successful as population grows in an uncontrolled manner and encroaches on forest land and no political will exists to prevent such encroachments. Also large scale irrigation and mining projects callously destroy forest tracts. Further there is little political will to control illegal felling of by industry with the connivance of forest officials.
The policy of involving people in management of forest has been adapted in degraded areas. These degraded forests are being developed by associating the local communities in the management and protection of forests as per the policy framework of joint forest management.
The policy guidelines of JEM are as follows:
The Bonafide Domestic Requirements of Forest dependent people as regards fuel-wood, non-timber forest products and construction timber should be first charge on the forest products. Forest communities should be strongly motivated to identify themselves with the developments and protection of forest from which various benefits.
However, the problem lies in developing ways and means to identify and use the capacity of the community to bring about improvements in the conditions of forest. Also the situation and socio-economic conditions in various parts of the country are so diverse that it is impossible to have uniform policy for community participation. In Joint Forest Management, the emphasis has been on formation of village forest committees (VFCs) for participatory management of degraded forest. The community would be given free access to structs like grasses, lops and tops of branches and minor forest produce. They would also be given a portion of the proceeds from the sale of final harvest, if they successfully protect the forest through the entire rotation of the tree crops. So far 17 states have issued notification for the formation of village forest committees involved in JFM. It is estimated that about 2 million hectares of degraded forest are already being managed under joint forest management by about 15,000 village forest committees.
The concept of social forestry (term used by J.L. Westoby) first came into light in 1946 in the viticulture conference. Social forestry is forestry of the people, by the people and the people. It refers to management and protection of forest and a forestation of barren lands with a purpose of helping the social environment, physical environment, and rural development Social forestry has become the vital component of Indian forestry during the last two decades.
Social forestry aims to increase green coverage, produce and minor forest produce to the rural population, meet fuel-wood needs of urban poor, and produce raw materials for the match industry. Social forestry has following components.
Agro-forestry, in which tree and agricultural crops are raised on the same land or in close association in a way that fields converted into useful plantation. It provides us with simultaneous production of wood, food timber and fruit. It provides employment throughout the year. Farm forestry, in which farmers are encouraged to plant tree on their farms with free or subsidized seedling. Pubic wood lots in which the forest department is to plant their growing tree on road side or other public land.
Community forestry where trees are planted by communities and are to be shared equally by villagers. Social forestry encourages the participation of common people. Research is also being encouraged to improve planting material and efficient of trees. In order to meet rural and tribal population needed to fuel wood and fodder area specific programs for developing these are being pursued. Sustainable forest management is a wide ranging, comprehensive expression which embraces all aspects of forest conservation and development. Forest management on sustained basis is a herculean task which can well be achieved by joint efforts of state and people JFM are bold in this direction. Several wood-based industries have come forward to help and participate in overall efforts to accelerate a forestation. NGOs are also actively helping in this task of greening India. Coordinated efforts of all well meaning agencies should result in restoring the green glory that has always been the hall India’s forests.
Design by Mohit Bhardwaj
- Forest Degradation Wild Life Protection and Development
- Forest Conservation and Major Causes of Deforestation