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Scientific forestry began in India in 1856 and reached a high standard during colonial times. Management traditions were further improved after Independence, with the emphasis remaining on sustained timber production from state forest reserves. In the mid-1970s under the National Commission on Agriculture, a paradigm shift took place from low-investment, slow-growing forestry to high-investment, fast-growing forestry. The National Forest Policy 1988 introduced participatory forest management, helping decelerate forest loss, but not stopping it completely. In recent times, two trends are clear: 1) wood production from agro-forestry is significantly higher than from state forests; and 2) non-timber forest products have become more important than timber. These trends would support the Planning Commission of India's (2000–2020) strategy of faster, more inclusive growth. Opportunities, however, need to be carefully embedded within the government forest management system through appropriate policy and institutional adaptations and through increased knowledge and information support to local communities.
This paper presents India's forest resource knowledge base, briefly mentioning the historic progress and management of forestry. Working plans for the operational planning and management of forests at the district/division levels, though still the main source of information, have been difficult to integrate into state/national strategic planning because of their differing time frames.
Assessments of the forest resource for strategic planning using statistically sound field inventory design began in 1965, and were stepped up after the creation of the Forest Survey of India in 1981. Field inventory data are supplemented by two-yearly satellite assessments (since 1987), the last showing the forest cover of India to be 67.7 million ha and the growing stock 4.6 billion m3.
The database is weak regarding many important parameters. The main suggestions for filling the knowledge gap are: capacity building in the application of modern technology to assessments, institutional strengthening, and networking for better information flow.
Trees outside forests (TOF) in India, mainly growing on private land, are the main source of wood in the country for industry and domestic woodfuel. The current growing stock is about 1.616 billion m3. The development and assessment of these resources over the years are shown. The methodology used by the Forest Survey of India to assess the resources at national level is described, as are the results and analysis of the national field inventory and two state-level inventories. These show that there is a knowledge gap regarding TOF resources at the district and state levels. The efforts made by the private sector to promote TOF are highlighted. Policy and legislation play an important role in any development, but rules in many state governments do not favour the growth of TOF resources. This is discussed in detail. Lastly, a set of recommendations is made to promote TOF resources in India.
There is immense potential to increase the productivity of bamboo resources, enhance the quality of extracted bamboo and increase value addition through new and emerging technologies. The Planning Commission of India (2003) estimates that the potential exists for economic activities worth INR 26 000 crore1 (∼US$ 6 billion), based on value-added products and applications in manufacturing, building, utility and craft products, the food industry, energy needs and charcoal and activated carbon production. To utilise the full potential of the bamboo sector and ensure its vibrant growth, structural changes need to be brought into the sector in terms of appropriate land uses, relaxing the bamboo transit and access regime, technology development, adaptation and dissemination of products, promotion of managed plantations in government forests and on private land, establishing product—market linkages, and ensuring intensive support to the bamboo sector.
The pulp and paper industry is a key contributor to the Indian economy. Of 660 paper mills in India, 26 are wood-based and face challenges with forest-based raw material. Annual pulp production is 1.9 million tonnes (mt) using 6.8 mt of wood. Nearly 20 percent of wood is procured from government sources and 80 percent from agro-forestry sources. To sustainably supply the ever-growing demand for wood, the industry relies on social and farm forestry, and tree cover has increased through mill-promoted plantations. Under private farmer and private industry partnerships, ITC Ltd. has promoted over 80 000 hectares (ha) of clonal plantation, using R&D to increase productivity to 20–58 mt/ha/yr compared with 4–6 mt/ha/yr from seedling plantations, favouring fast wood forestry. In Andhra Pradesh, a forward-looking state, eucalyptus, casuarina and leucaena wood are declared as agricultural produce and marketed through agricultural market committees.
This paper analyses the wood production—consumption situation in Kerala state, India. Wood is defined to include all timber, industrial wood, fuelwood and charcoal. The analysis reveals a comfortable position, with a surplus of 0.027 million m3 of wood. Of the total wood production of 11.714 million m3, forests provide about 10 percent and trees outside forests contribute to the remaining 90 percent. The study shows the importance of trees outside forests, particularly in home gardens which are renowned for their mixed cropping multi-tier agro-forestry system. The ecologically rich home garden system that produces substantial quantities of wood is a traditional farming practice that evolved in Kerala. The home gardens with a variety of multi-purpose trees may be considered as a model for extension to other similarly endowed regions within and outside the country, not only for wood production but also for social and environmental benefits.
With only 3.5 percent of its area under forests, Haryana state has become self-sufficient in small wood, fuelwood and industrial timber by instituting large-scale plantations outside forests, especially on farmlands. These plantations sustain about 670 wood-based veneer, plywood and board, manufacturing units, one large paper mill and about 4 300 sawmills. The units are mainly based on agro-forest produce, and Haryana has become the model state for agro-forestry practices. This overwhelming success results from efforts in the last three decades to promote the raising of plantations in non-forest lands by the state, national government and private and industrial concerns. The trees have not only given impetus to the growth of wood-based industries and employment opportunities but also increased the extent of area under forest and tree cover to 6.63 percent (FSI 2003).
India produces a range of processed wood and non-wood products. Total industrial demand for wood in roundwood equivalents (RWE) is predicted to increase from 58 million m3 in 2000 to 133 million m3 in 2020, when it is estimated that more than SO percent of total Indian wood supply will come from non-forest sources.
Sawn wood and composite panel industries face raw material shortages, supply—demand gaps increasing alarmingly. The raw material scenario in the pulp and paper industry is discussed, along with industry initiatives to overcome such problems. The merits and demerits of wood substitution via non-wood and recycled fibre are discussed and a mathematical model outlined which is helping gauge raw material requirements.
Possible reforms are suggested to improve the efficiency of wood production, distribution and use in India, for example, cutting out waste so that less wood needs to be harvested to produce the same output of manufactured products.
Production—consumption assessments are needed in India that treat villages with an adjoining forest area as one integrated sampling unit. A basis for design of integrated fuelwood production—consumption (P—C) studies and use of data for strategic planning at the district, state and country levels is presented. The potential use of an area production model (APM) to assess the P-C balance on a state, district and sub-district level is described. This would be a feasible undertaking as most socio-economic and forest resources data needed are already available in time series form. Continuous forest inventory techniques, based on revisiting the identical sampling units, would be more efficient in providing information on trend compared to independent assessments on two or more occasions. A case for community involvement in fuelwood P-C studies and wood energy planning is made.
The chapter, which begins with a brief review of the terminology associated with non-timber forest products (NTFP), stresses the need for a holistic approach to NTFP management. The following related issues are presented with regard to NTFP: 1) biological/ecological significance; 2) technical complexity of NTFP measurements and inventory involving hundreds of species and products; 3) very high social concern for local livelihood; 4) national revenue and outturn; and 5) international export and import. The introduction of an effective forest protection regime, sustainable management of timber and non-timber produce and periodic monitoring and evaluation system in the light of exponentially rising demand for these products, nationally and internationally is urgent, as great social and ecological concerns are associated with unplanned extraction from forests. Major data and knowledge gaps are identified and specific recommendations made for improving the quality of statistical information and NTFP-related knowledge.
An account is given of the fodder situation in rural India with a view to developing a strategy for optimising fodder production and its efficient utilisation by the poor, especially those living in or around forest regions.
The emerging trend in livestock growth suggests an overall rising trend with an increase in small ruminants in coming years. This is likely to put greater pressure on natural fodder resources like forests and other grazing areas. To enhance farm income, incorporating fodder into joint forest management programmes is a welcome step but requires greater impetus. Optimisation of fodder production from arable lands and efficient utilisation of crop residues are expected to relieve at least some of the pressure on natural fodder resources. There is also an urgent need to adopt appropriate technologies backed by policy and institutional mechanisms to enhance rural incomes from livestock enterprises.
India carries a huge livestock population. Small ruminants, namely, goats and sheep, play a vital role in securing the livelihood of small and marginal farmers and landless labourers. Such animals should not be blamed for the ecological degradation, soil erosion and desertification caused by human activities. There is an acute shortage of livestock feeds and fodders in India, and also a large gap between needs and availability, even more so in arid and semi-arid regions. The feeds and fodders available on community grazing land, on the roadside and in forests during the rainy season should be harvested and utilised during the scarcity period. The extensive system of livestock rearing should be replaced with semi-intensive and intensive systems for commercial milk and meat production. Locally available crop residues and agroindustrial by-products should be enriched and utilised for compounding cheaper, complete feeds for livestock as feed pallets and blocks.
Ecotourism has a vital role to play in sustainable development in India and in creating a framework for the inclusion of the marginalised non-urban communities, excluded from the economic growth currently being witnessed. This requires a shift in attitudes from regulation and control to empowerment, from patronage to partnership, and from linear government-led structures to alliances with diverse stakeholders. It can be achieved by a well articulated partnership policy that cascades into a viable business plan with clear mission statements and strict monitoring and evaluation criteria. While ecotourism projects need to be financially independent to remain sustainable without grants and subsidies, the primary pillars of community involvement and enhancement of the environment are paramount in measuring the success. While learning from experiences elsewhere, it is important to internalise indigenous knowledge and to adapt methodologies in a site-specific context. Transparent measurement and evaluation criteria are critical to ensure success.
Forests play a critical role in addressing climate change concerns in the broader context of global change and sustainable development. Forests are linked to climate change in three ways. i) Forests are a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; ii) Forests offer mitigation opportunities to stabilise GHG concentrations; iii) Forests are impacted by climate change. This paper reviews studies related to climate change and forests in India: first, the studies estimating carbon inventory for the Indian land use change and forestry sector (LUCF), then the different models and mitigation potential estimates for the LUCF sector in India. Finally it reviews the studies on the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems in India, identifying the implications for net primary productivity and bio-diversity. The paper highlights data, modelling and research gaps relevant to the GHG inventory, mitigation potential and vulnerability and impact assessments for the forest sector in India.
Forests are closely linked to socio-economic systems in India. The projected climate change is likely to produce adverse impacts on forest ecosystems. India is one of the few countries with a documented forest policy from 1894. This conservation-based forest policy has prevented the diversion of forest. Joint forest management (JFM) promotes the participation of communities in the management of forest. Estimates of forest carbon stock (biomass and soil) are in the range of 8.58 to 9.57 gtC. The growing energy demand provide a strong basis for inclusion of a share of biomass energy in energy production and consumption. India's proposal for compensating forest conservation was included in the Bali Action Plan of COP 13 of UNFCCC. With this approach India can claim to be maintaining the baseline stocks (8.79 gtC), as well as the increment (0.96 gtC).
Interdependence of agriculture and forests offers the best opportunity to attain sustainable development through integrated watershed development. Intervention packages are becoming increasingly more comprehensive and intense; they need funding and must be more inclusive of forestry to cover new areas such as ensuring water availability, integrated pest and fertility management, use of contaminated land and water, equilibrium in carbon flux between land and air cycle and finally in enhancing the population-supporting capacity. Watershed modelling needs to incorporate this diversity for planning, implementation and impact assessment. A critical review of the organisational structure is needed to make it less administration-centric and more professional, including the use of multidisciplinary expertise and participatory management techniques so that it remains open, flexible and responsive to the situation on the ground.
With its varied climate and terrain, and characterised by at least 10 distinct bio-geographical regions, India supports a huge variety of forest types and harbours three global terrestrial biodiversity hot spots. Most of the terrestrial biodiversity now resides in the forest, as other terrestrial habitats have lost their natural state. An impressive protected area network, comprising 509 wildlife sanctuaries, 96 national parks (including 14 biosphere reserves), and several sacred groves maintained by indigenous communities, is in place. However, despite a benign forest policy and a strong regulatory regime, forest degradation and biodiversity loss continue because of the increasing requirements of the burgeoning human population, land use change and spread of invasive alien species. The extent and loss of biodiversity must be continuously monitored and people attracted to participate in biodiversity conservation rehabilitation on a massive scale.
Recognising that protected areas are key to conserving biodiversity, India has established a network of protected areas covering approximately 4.8 percent of its geographical area. Though India has set aside sizable areas for conservation, the goal of ensuring protection to the full range of its rich biodiversity is yet to be realised. Moreover, new approaches to conservation have occasionally been implemented to fulfill global and national-level commitments. This paper examines the constraints involved in bringing the entire range of biodiversity under the network of protected area, the challenges in managing them, and the effectiveness of the various approaches adopted. Learning from past experiences and to overcome deficiencies in protected area management, efforts are now being made to implement livelihood-based approaches to conservation on large landscapes. This is expected to address socio-economic issues alongside the varied ecological requirements of the country's rich biodiversity and sustainable management of natural ecosystems.
Northeast India is geographically nestled in one of the most biodiversity-rich regions of the world. During the past three decades, the region has been through several priority-setting processes on the initiative of the national and international conservation agencies. These have highlighted the species and sites of conservation concern. The region is not a homogenous entity but a highly diverse mosaic of ecological, social and physiological landscapes and thus needs intensive analysis and attention to conservation. Recent discoveries of new species and range extensions of many others demonstrate that efforts taken to date need further strengthening, particularly now that the region is under tremendous pressure to unleash its resources to pave the way for development. However, the region also provides an immense opportunity to its stakeholders to exhibit a strong willingness to balance conservation and development so as to reflect the sustainable use of its resources and ensure livelihood security.
The plight of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers is pitiable, as they continue to live without any rights over forest land or resources. Clearly this is undesirable. However, the newly enacted Forest Rights Act will help neither the traditional forest dwellers nor to conserve the forests, and might actually end up making both worse-off. Laws and policies related to nature and natural resources need to pass three tests in order to be considered progressive and effective. They need to promote equity, be scientific, and be implementable. The new Forest Rights Act fails all three tests. It also fails to include many other options available for addressing the injustices done to traditional forest dwellers while ensuring that conservation needs, and the rights of animals, are not trampled upon.
The collection, processing and dissemination of statistics pertaining to the forestry sector in India have become a major cause of concern for policy planners and researchers. The status of estimates related to various parameters of the forestry and logging sector in the country is not up to the mark. Inordinate delay in data availability, difficulty in validation and general non-response complicate the problem. The forestry sector in general and the state forest departments in particular need to be revitalised and priority needs to be given to statistical reporting work to assist policy decisions. The sector has also lagged behind in adapting the tools of modern technology, particularly those relating to information technology. The paper examines the issue in detail, critically analysing various reasons for the gaps and discusses the methods to plug these, with a view to creating a reliable databank for the forestry sector in India.
Karnataka forest department (KFD) has repeatedly attempted to develop and implement comprehensive database systems under externally aided projects. None has survived. KFD has also attempted to develop a GIS, and now has a 1:50 000 GIS for each forest division, developed by the State Remote Sensing Applications Centre. However, interactions with front line staff (FLS) show that while technologies like GPS are eagerly embraced, the database system is not. The main reason for this selective uptake of technology is that the MIS/GIS systems developed in the past were oriented mainly to the higher level information needs of top management and the outside world on a broad landscape scale, whereas FLS need specific information that can be satisfied only with village maps. The immediate priority is to develop a forest document database for all forest notifications and village maps for FLS, linking these to the higher departmental-level GIS later.
The economic and environmental benefits of the extensive biodiversity-rich forest areas of Northeast India are immense and are depended upon by the people for their livelihoods. However, for historical, topographical, logistic and complex sociological reasons, quantitative data on most of the economic and environmental components of forests are lacking. Quantification of both tangible and intangible forest benefits remains a neglected research area. The paper provides some available data on the forest contribution and models this based on the current rate of forest revenue generation. Considering the ample opportunities of the forestry sector, the need for strategic planning to enhance the contribution of forests to the overall economy of the region is emphasised. The paper identifies various system components and forcing functions impacting forest benefits and suggests what issues need to be addressed to enhance them.
Under-valuation of forest resources in India is causing immense losses to the sector and to the economic system. The current national accounting system under-records tangible benefits and ignores the contribution of intangible ecological services by forests. Thus, the values charged for diverting forest land for non-forestry purposes consider only the market value of, for example, timber and some non-timber forest products. The many ecological services also lost in use diversions have never been considered. It is also not really known how to put a value on such services, when a region is reforested. This paper is an attempt to develop a valuation and accounting framework for intangibles from forests, to reflect the true contribution of the forestry sector to the Indian economy. This framework would also help the forestry sector obtain its due share of budgetary allocations and encourage investment in the sustainable management of forests.
This paper develops methodology for valuing forest ecosystem services. It reviews alternative approaches to modelling the forestry sector's contribution to well-being. It subsequently extends existing techniques of cost-benefit analysis to the forestry sector and illustrates the application of the methodology through a case study of the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. The extended methodology captures variations that occur because of ecological aspects of forests, sustainability concerns regarding extraction from forests and aggregation issues in valuing ecosystem services. It also incorporates concerns about biodiversity valuation, particularly in protected areas. The paper highlights the importance of recognising local variations in forest values, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to valuation and the relevance of using more than one policy instrument for managing forest ecosystems.
The current forest planning system in India is mainly geared towards management of state-owned forests at the division level. A strategic dimension needs to be added to the forest planning at the national, state and district levels to harmonise forest-sector planning with changing national needs and priorities. As a prototype, the national forestry plan concept of the Food and Agriculture Organization is presented, followed by some ideas for its adaptation to the Indian context. The key role of problem formulation to set strategic planning in the right direction is stressed. Ways of linking strategic planning to working plans and five year plans at the institutional level are discussed. Finally, recommendations are made for the introduction of a national forest database management system to facilitate flow of information between the technical and administrative wings of the state forest departments and between the central and state forest departments of the country.
Globalisation of the forest sector is happening rapidly and these forces will substantially change the shape of the Indian forest sector between now and 2020. The paper demonstrates the development on a number of important globalisation factors. Fierce competition is foreseen with respect to land and biomass raw material between agriculture/bioenergy/forest industry in the future. In effect, we are seeing the convergence in the markets for food, fuel and fibre. The Indian forest industry is already today facing some of the highest wood and energy costs in the world and the costs are bound to increase due to escalating deficits. Globalisation will probably drive the Indian forest industry to import its raw material and invest in plantations abroad. A strategic choice for the Indian industry is between investing in India or abroad in the future. Current globalisation developments are pointing to investments abroad being the right option.
The paper is a summary of contributed papers in this volume from an outsider's view. The objective of the paper is to try to identify the most important issues for actions in order to enable the forest sector/system to meet future national needs. The paper identifies four interlinked issues/components as priorities in order to promote sustainable development of the Indian forest sector. Nearly all of the papers identify a lack of reliable Data and Inventories with respect to functions, management and impacts of the Indian forest sector. Therefore, it is imperative to start the process of establishing needed inventories. This process should have integrated and systems view approaches. The new data and inventories should feed into the component of Integrated Assessments. In order to set appropriate strategies and policies, relevant integrated assessments are necessary with respect to outlooks and impacts of different actions. These integrated assessments should go far beyond the traditional forest sector to be meaningful and to deal with real issues causing the degradation of the Indian forest resources, like sustenance and livelihood pressures. The integrated assessments should feed into a Strategic Planning process. Currently there is no strategic planning process in place with respect to the forest sector. An ongoing institutionalised process has to be established with integrated and systems view approaches that attempt to interlink the major sectors affecting the over-utilisation of the Indian forest resources and deriving non-sustainable benefits from the sector. The strategic plan implementation will require restructuring of the existing Governance and Institutions with respect to the forest sector. The governance and institutions have to, in the future, operate in a much more integrated way taking on board crosscutting issues in order to address the real problems of the sector and to interlink more efficiently in governance between states and central government.
The four components above are strongly interlinked and should be regarded as one package for actions. Many more issues/ concerns can be identified in the presented papers but I feel it is important to start with the implementation of a limited package of important actions in order to reach results.