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The word forest is derived from a Latin word . Forest area is land under natural or planted stands of trees whether productive or non productive, and it excludes trees which stands in agricultural production systems (for example, in fruit plantations and agroforestry systems) and trees in urban parks and gardens. People began their life on this planet as forest dwellers.They were food gathers and were dependent on forests for their basic needs such asfood,clothing,shelter,etc and even now they continue to depend on forests to meet lot of their needs.


India ranks 10th in the list of most forested nations Forest cover of the country as per the present assessment is 67.71million hectare, which is 20.60% of its total geographical area. Out of this,5.46m ha(1.66%)is very dense forest,33.26 million hectare is moderately dense and rest 28.99million hectare is open including 0.44m ha mangroves .However ,excluding the area (18.16million hectare area.)not available for tree planting / afforestation due to climate/rocks etc.the forest cover of the country comes to 21.81%..


Forest are one of the most important natural resources of the earth. Approximately 1/3rd of the earths total area is covered by forests. Covering the earth like a green blanket, these forests are not only innumerable material goods, but also provide several environmental services which are essential for life. They provide raw materials, maintain bio-diversity ,protect land and water resources and play a vital role in climate change mitigation. Forest resources play an important role in the economy of any country. It is highly complex, changing environment made up of a living and non living things. Living things include trees, shrubs, wildlife etc. and non-living things include water, nutrients, rocks, sunlight and air. Forest vary a great deal in composition and density and are distinct from meadows and pastures. Forest are important to humans and the natural world. For humans, they have many aesthetics, recreational, economic, historical, cultural and religious values. Forest provide fuel, wood, timber, wildlife, habitat, industrial, forest products, climate regulations, medicinal etc.


On the basis of origin, we can classify the forest resources as Biotic resources i.e. they are obtained from the biosphere. On the basis of renewability we can classify forest resources as the Renewable resources i.e. they can be renewed and reproduced by physical, chemical or mechanical processes. On the basis of ownership, we can classify forest resources as National resources i.e. they belong to the nation because the country has legal powers to acquire even private property for public good. This we may have seen many times when government take fields owned by private individuals to construct roads, canals, railways. On the basis of status of development, we can classify forest resources as Reserves they are the subset of stock which are used with the help of existing technical knowledge. Reserves can be used for meeting future requirements.

The functions of forest may broadly classified into following categoriesProtective Function Productive Function Regulative Function Accessory Function


of ecosystems In maintaining clean water In preventing or reducing the severity of floods, erosion and drought An increasing area of worlds forests is designated primarily for soil and water conservation.

They provide various products like Timber: More than 1500 species of trees are commercially exploited for timber in different parts of India. It is used in timber-based industries such as plywood, saw milling, paper and pulp, and particle boards. Cane: Cane or rattan are the stems of a climber plant and are used for a large number of household items. It is used to make walking sticks, polo sticks, baskets, picture frames, screens, and mats. Fruit: Fruit trees are an important source of income and food for the rural household. In some areas fruit trees are commonly planted along the field borders and around the wells. Mango, coconut, orange, pear, jackfruit and many others grow wild in the forest. Fibre:Plant fibre has many different uses. Soft fibres such as jute are derived from the stems of the plant. Hard fibre from the leaves of hemp and sisal are used to make fabrics for various applications. Coir, another form of fibre from the fruit of the coconut, is used to make ropes. Bamboo: These are common in the north-eastern and the south-western parts of India, growing along with deciduous or evergreen forest. The main commercial uses of bamboo are as timber substitutes, fodder, and raw material for basket, paper and pulp, and other small-scale industries Floss:The fruits of many species of Indian trees produce a silky floss. The most common of these is simal. It is used to made cotton wool, mattresses, and pillows. Essential oils:Tropical grasses such as lemon grass, citronella, and khus are the source of essential oils. Oil is distilled from the wood of various species such as sandalwood, agar, and pine. Oil is also derived from the leaves of certain plants and trees such as eucalyptus, camphor, wintergreen, and pine. These oils are used for making soaps, cosmetics, incense, pharmaceuticals, and confectionery. Medicinal use:Since time immemorial humans have been depending on the forest to cure them of various ailments. Even today man is dependent on the forest for herbs and plants to fight against disease. Of all the medicinal trees found in India, the neem is the most important. Leaves, bark, and other parts of many other trees also have medicinal value and are used to make various ayurvedic medicines.


The Forest regulates the level of Oxygen and carbon dioxide in atmosphere. The forests also help in regulating temperature conditions and keeps a check on the climate mitigation


Forest provides aesthetics, habitat to various flora and fauna besides that it also has an recreational value.

1.Moist tropical forests 2.Dry tropical forests 3.Montana temperate forests 4.Sub-alpine forests

Among the 16 different forest types of the country, the most common is Tropical dry deciduous (38.7%) Tropical moist deciduous (30.9%) Tropical thorn (6.9 %) These 3 types of tropical deciduous forests accounts for more than 76.5 % of forest area in India. Nearly 96 % of forests are owned by government and, 2.6 % by corporate bodies and rest are in private ownership.


Moist Tropical Forest
a) Tropical wet evergreen: Western Ghats (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala) b) Tropical semi evergreen: Lower hills of western Ghats. c) Tropical moist deciduous: Dehradun, mahableshwar d) Damp Forests: Sunder bans, Bengal delta, and Andaman.

Dry Tropical forests:

a) Tropical dry deciduous: Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh b) Tropical thorn forest: Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat c) Tropical dry evergreen: Eastern Ghat ( Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu)


a)Montana Wet temperate: Nilgiri, Palmi Hills b) Himalayan wet temperate: Assam, Himachal Pradesh c) Himalayan dry temperate: Kashmir


a)Moist alpine scrub- high Himalayas b) Dry alpine scrub: Sikkim

Degradation is when something is degraded, or made worse.
Forest degradation means any negative changes in a forest that damage its productivity; any time a forest is made worse by

overexploitation (any time it is used too much by farmers or tourists), logging (deforestation), logging camps and Logging roads built through the forest. air pollution, fires, insects and Vegetation diseases. firewood scavenging animal foraging pasturing Industrialization (factories) Urbanization (buildings)

Sometimes the term Forest Degradation does NOT include cutting down trees, which is then referred to as Deforestation.


12 million hectares of forests are cleared annually. In India, 0.10ha/capita is forest area whereas world average is 1.0ha/capita.

Deforestation takes place due to various causes. Those are listed as:

2. 3.



6. 7. 8. 9.

Population increase- Due to population increase the demand for timber, firewood, pulp wood and synthetic fibers increases and forest have been exploited for meeting these demands. Large tracts of forests have been cleared for cultivation, housing, highways and railways. Demand of forest produces- Timber and wood are required for making furnitures and doors, windows, railway sleepers, packing cases and match boxes. Hydroelectric projects- Several hydroelectric projects have been commissioned within dense forests and several thousand of square kilometers of forests have been cleared for reservoirs in India. Mining operation- In open mining and deep tunneling the overburden is removed and this involves forest clearance. Mining is done to extract iron ores, limestone, manganese, coal, mica and copper. Shifting cultivation- This is also called Jhum cultivation and is widely practices in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, North Eastern states. For cultivation trees are felled and burnt. Overgrazing- Overgrazing by cattles degrades forests Weather conditions- Lightening triggers forest fires. Floods and landslide also devastate forests. Fires- Human induced or nature induced fires are among the reasons for deforestation. Pests- Pests also destroy forests and their vitality


Loss of Cultural diversity: Forests are home of over 10million members of forest dwellers. As a result of timber extraction their peaceful life is disturbed. Animal and plant diversity are also lost. Loss of Biodiversity: Diversity contributes to resilience and dynamics equilibrium to ecosystem. Once the forest is disturbed the biodiversity is reduced and system becomes sick and unstable. Loss of Carbon storage capacity: Increasing carbon dioxide is moderated by forests. Now world is experiencing a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide from the atmosphere must be removed through the growth of woody plants material. Loss of Hydrological balance: Forests are moderators of rains that falls in forests. Substantial amount is evaporated and the balance is permitted to percolate into the forest floor. If forests are lost, their functions will be hampered. Forest removal in heavy rainfall areas especially mountainous regions causes soil erosions, nutritients loss and fertility loss. In dry regions, deforestation may trigger desertification.

Deforestation affects climatic changes. The climate becomes warmer, due to the loss of greenery which absorbs carbon dioxide.
Rainfall pattern may undergo change. Forests provide condensation nuclei and moisture for triggering rainfall. Aesthetic beauty is lost and man is deprived of deriving pleasures from such remote areas like forests.


Forest Degradation is a matter of serious concern. While there has been improvement in controlling deforestation, forest degradation or qualitative loss of forests is continuing. The biomass and growing stock of wood in the natural forest of India is 93 ton/ha. and 47 cu.m./ha. respectively, as against an average of 169 ton /ha. and 113 cu.m./ha. for developing countries. This indicates that availability of forest biomass per capita in the natural forest of India is only about 6.0 ton as against an average of 82 ton in the developing world. In the recent past, efforts were concentrated mostly on social forestry activities, neglecting the natural forests. Immediate action is needed for rehabilitation and intensive protection of natural forests. Periodic inventory of forest resources to establish bench marks and treatment regimes, implementation of working plans, scientific studies on wood and non-wood resources and enhanced community participation need to be given special emphasis.


The role of forests in the national economy and in ecology was further emphasized in the 1988 National Forest Policy, which focused on ensuring environmental stability, restoring the ecological balance, and preserving the remaining forests. Other objectives of the policy were meeting the need for fuel wood, fodder, and small timber for rural and tribal people while recognizing the need to actively involve local people in the management of forest resources.Indias National Forest Policy of 1988 calls for managing state administered forests to conserve biological diversity. The objectives of the policy include: maintaining environmental stability of depleted forests; preserving remaining forests; checking soil erosion and denudation of vegetation; halting desertification caused by poor land use practices; establishing afforestation and social forestry programs; meeting rural peoples needs for fuelwood,fodder,small timber and forest products; increasing forest productivity to meet essential national needs; encouraging efficient use Also in 1988, the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 was amended to facilitate stricter conservation measures. A new target was to increase the forest cover to 33 percent of India's land area from the then-official estimate of 23 percent. In June 1990, the central government adopted resolutions that combined forest science with social forestry, that is, taking the sociocultural traditions of the local people into. To accomplish this goal massive tree plantation will be done with main emphasize on growing fuelwood and fodder on denuded land of india.The cumulative area afforested during the 1951-91 period was nearly 179,000 square kilometers. However, despite large-scale tree planting programs, forestry is one arena in which India has actually regressed since independence. Annual fallings at about four times the growth rate are a major cause. Widespread pilfering by villagers for firewood and fodder also represents a major decrement. In addition, the 1988 National Forest Policy noted, the forested area has been shrinking as a result of land cleared for farming and development programs.

The 2009 Indian national forest policy document emphasizes the need to combine India's effort at forest conservation with sustainable forest management. India defines forest management as one where the economic needs of local communities are not ignored, rather forests are sustained while meeting nation's economic needs and local issues through scientific forestry. The government of india recognizes that the future that the future health of indias forest ecosystems depends on maintaining and restoring the diversity of wild ecological communities and in moderating rates of exploitation. Several policies have been developed to meet these objectives. The ecodevelopment program focuses on developing standard and directives for managing human habitation in forest buffer area. The goal of the program is to find ways to raise the rural standard of living to self sustaining levels. In 1972 the wildlife protection act, in one bold move, outlawed game hunting throughout the country, except for wild boar,jungle fowl and other animals as allowed by local tribal rights . Long term conservation of India's forests and wildlife requires consideration of the demands of an increasing human population. The first step in this process include: checking rural population growth; identifying and developing economical and reliable sources of food, fuelwood,and income, particularly for rural peoples; using vast reservoir of human labour to expand programs of ecological restoration and environmental education;alowing for a diversity of cultures and resource rights; and weaving conservation into daily land and resource use patterns of both rural and urban peoples. As one measure of success in implementing this conservation plan, the Indian government must ultimately demonstrate on a national scale that it is to every citizens advantage to incorporate conservation planning in their lifestyles. Until den indian forests will continue to diminish in area and diversity. .


Sustainable forest management (SFM) is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable forest management uses very broad social, economic and environmental goals. A range of forestry institutions now practice various forms of sustainable forest management and a broad range of methods and tools are available that have been tested over time. A definition of SFM was developed by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), and has since been adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).[ It defines sustainable forest management as: The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems. In simpler terms, the concept can be described as the attainment of balance balance between society's increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity. This balance is critical to the survival of forests, and to the prosperity of forest-dependent communities.

Sustainable forest management provides great opportunities for adapting to climate change by increasing the resilience of people and ecosystems. Forests are a major mitigation option over the next 30 to 40 years and can play a key role in the necessary transition towards a low-carbon economy. Currently, deforestation accounts for 35 per cent of carbon emissions in developing countries and 65 per cent in least developed countries. In order to stabilize the current CO2 level of 433 ppm at a targeted 445-490 ppm, forests will need to form a central part of any global climate change deal. In 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (forest instrument), which provides a comprehensive framework to achieve sustainable forest management through achieving four Global Objectives on Forests (GOFs): reducing deforestation and forest degradation; enhancing forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, increasing the area of forests under sustainable management; and enhancing financing for sustainable forest management. Financing sustainable forest management is crucial to combat climate change. Current funding for sustainable forest management is far short of what is needed. In 2009 the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) adopted a landmark resolution on financing for sustainable forest management which called for creation of a Facilitative Process to assist countries in reversing a 20-year decline in forest financing by identifying obstacles, gaps and opportunities. The resolution also established a four year political process to devise sustainable forest management financing strategies.



Indias forests provide numerous direct and measurable economic benefits such as -

Timber harvesting produces a stream of income that is shared by those involved in owning,
managing, marketing, cutting, hauling, and delivering wood to processing.. In 2000, loggers harvested 97 million cubic feet of woodgrowing-stock volumefrom Indias forests (8). Logging industry in india Firms-530 Employees-2,000 Payroll-$40 million Value added- $100 million
Primary wood-processing mills depend on the States forests. Of the nearly 90 million cubic feet of logs and other round wood processed in the State, 85 percent was cut from Indianas forests. Thus primary mills are important locally for employment and creating economic activity through purchases of raw materials, capital expenditures, value added through manufacturing, and value of shipments. Secondary wood manufacturers dry, plane, cut, and assemble processed wood (lumber, veneer, and other primary products) into parts or finished products. Examples of secondary products include office furniture, kitchen cabinets In 2000, there were over 900 secondary mills with an average of about 50 employees per mill; however, less than one-half of the firms employed 20 workers or more (15). Total employment in secondary mills was estimated at over 45,000

Indias forests provide wood for heating homes and businesses, and to people who burn wood for recreation and pleasure like havan , lohriThe nearly 130 commercial firewood producers in the State sold about $12 million worth of firewood to homeowners in 1996. Forest-related recreation and tourism make significant contributions to Indianas economy Wildlife watching: Almost 1.9 million individuals engaged in nonconsumptive wildlife-related recreation in Indiana in 2001 (17). Activities such as observing, photographing, and feedingfish and wildlife provided enjoyment for all ages. These wildlife watchers spent over $700 million enjoying their sport, or almost $400 per person Tourism: In 2001 over 57 million visitors to Indiana spent over $6 billion. According to the Indiana Tourism Council, enjoying scenic beauty is the number one activity visitors participated in during their stay. Nearly one-half of visitors enjoyed activities at lakes, rivers, and other natural features

Employment in forest-based manufacturing (primary and secondary) accounts for over 8 percent of all manufacturing employment in Indiana (15). Forest-based manufacturing ranks fourth in employment behind transportation equipment, metal, and plastics and rubber products manufacturing and above machinery.Forests and forest resources, primarily minor forest products (MFP) or NWFPs, play an important role in the viability and survival of tribal households in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere in India, because of the importance of forests in their social, cultural and economic survival (Tewari, 1989). Estimates of the revenue contributions of NWFPs in India vary considerably. West Bengal, tribal women gather sal (Shorea robusta) leaves for six months of the year and make about Rs. 72 (US$ 2.16)1 per month under the best circumstances (Rajan, 1995 Poffenberger, 1990) Exports: In addition to domestic markets, Indiana forest-based products are in demand worldwide. Furniture and cabinets, lumber In 2002 India exported forest-based products valued at nearly $354 million (4). Included were wood products valued at over $137 million (13th in the State), paper products at $80 million

Indias forests are under heavy multiple pressures. The requirements for fuelwood, timber and other forest products are much more than those available sustainably from forests. The deficit in demands and availability of forest products, which is already extremely large, will further increase in future with the increase in population. The fodder situation is also not satisfactory and results in large scale overgrazing and extensive cutting in forest areas. The problems confronting the forestry sector in India are well known and what is required to be done are listed in the following points-:

The conservation measure against the deforestation is afforestation. The development of forest by planting trees on waste land is called afforestation The main objective of afforestation : To control the deforestation To prevent soil erosion To regulate rainfall and maintain temperature Existing forests and forest lands should be fully protected and -their productivity improved. Forest and vegetal cover should be increased rapidly on hill slopes, in catchment areas of rivers, lakes and reservoirs and ocean shores and, on semi-arid,and desert Forest land or land with tree cover should not be -treated merely as a resource readily available to be utilised for various projects and programmes, but as a national asset which requires to be properly safeguarded for providing sustained benefits to the entire community. Provision of sufficient fodder, fuel and pasture, specially in areas adjoining forest,is necessary in order to prevent depletion of forests beyond the sustainable limit.

The incidence of forest fires in the country is high. Standing trees and fodder are destroyed on a large scale and natural regeneration annihilated by such fires. Special precautions should be taken during the fire season. Improved and modern management practices should be adopted to deal with forest fires. The practice of supply of forest produce to industry at concessional prices should cease. Industry should be encouraged to use alternative raw materials. Import of wood and wood products should be liberalised. Conservation programme cannot succeed without the willing support and cooperation of the people. It is essential, therefore, to inculcate in the people, a direct interest in forests, their. development and conservation, and to make them conscious of the value of trees, wildlife and nature in general. Forestry should be recognised both as a scientific discipline as well as a profession. Agriculture universities and institutions, dedicated to the development of forestry education should formulate their curriculum