Indian Forests

The Rainforests are the most natural, beautiful, diverse places on this Earth. They are home to many rare birds, plants and animals, contributing around 50 to 80% of the species on this Earth. Today it is termed as. 'The Lungs of the Earth' and two thousand years ago, 'The Gardens of Eden'. Within the last forty years we as a whole have managed to destroy seventy percent of these Ancient Forests.
It takes an average of 300-500 years for a tree to firmly establish its roots with a maximum height for some of the trees reaching 200ft you can easily see why it takes this long and yet minutes to burn. With the size of Wales being destroyed each year for products such as toilet paper, newspaper, writing paper and furniture, the forests are looking more like deserts than the greenery it once was. So where are these forests that we hear so much about, below is a list of them all, many now have been cultivated for land to graze cattle, for roads and of course felled for their timber.

Whats the difference between Rainforests and other forests?

Latitude and rainfall distinguish tropical forests from temperate (or moderate climate) forests which are found in warm climates but not too hot to be called tropical. Temperate forests are at ground elevation, mainly in North America, Europe and cooler Australasia. There are many types : deciduous woodland, coniferous woodland, Mediterranean woodland and temperate rainforest.

All tropical rainforests lie between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. They receive more water, being in the monsoon regions. There are many different kinds of rainforest : tropical evergreen, tropical moist deciduous, cloud forest, lowland rainforest and peaty swamp forest.

Rainforests may grow in thin and sterile soil. This is achieved by ample sunlight and water, and nutrients from decaying plant matter. In the warm damp conditions, dead plants rapidly decay and by bacterial or microbial action, the nutrients are released.

The forests are a closed ecosystem where everything is recycled but once these forests are opened, the decaying matter is cleared, the moist conditions disappear and slowly the forest
cannot sustain itself.

Where are the Rainforests of the World?

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What is the purpose of the Forests?

The main purpose of the forests is to act as the breathing apparatus for the world's climate. If you can imagine, take away all forms of air pollution, and picture the forests before man had stumbled on them and you have a natural environment; the forests, growing more and more lush as each decade that passes.
Save Our Earth - Costa Rica
Photo supplied by Ann Walker
Then bang, along comes the Industrial Age that falls upon the world and as travel becomes easier, man makes more and more discoveries outside his own domain, seeing the rainforests as a giant playground which will provide the world with products such as wood for furniture and paper, without destroying their own resources. (Japan and Europe being the largest markets for tropical hardwoods figures from 1992, show 12 to 15 million cubic tonnes of timber a year being shipped to these areas). After all nobody would miss the wood here!Medicine was another product the forest provided (mentioned later).

So as companies moved into providing furniture for our luxury, the trees were felled without one thought of what would go so horribly wrong. Now because of this greed and commercialism, this once perfect oasis now becomes as extinct as the wildlife that thrived there. Without this breathing apparatus, the air we breathe now fills with fumes from the Industrial Age we so welcomed.

But what of the technicalities of the 'Lungs of the Earth'? As the Earth is producing more carbon dioxide from usages such as cars, planes boats, power stations, incinerators and with population growing, the levels are much higher. So where does this carbon dioxide go? At a normal rate and with the forests being left untouched or sustained, the poison is sucked up by the trees and the trees then emit oxygen. As we sleep at night the Earth wakes us with fresh air. Perfect and simple. NO. Now with the forests STILL being destroyed at the rate of the size of a football pitch each second, we are destroying the one thing that holds the Earth in balance. If this continues within the next few years, our oxygen supplier will no longer wake us with the fresh air we take so much for granted.

What life do the Rainforests' support?

As mentioned above the forests support 50-80% of species on the Earth. Ecuador and South America has between 15,000 and 20,000 plant species, whereas in the whole of Europe has 13,000. In Southeast Asia there are 656 mammals, 850 amphibians and 700 butterflies. In Peru, 530 species of birds can be found. To get an idea of the enormity of life that the rainforests supports we have listed as many as we can find, below :

Tree Frog (Hyla Boans) , Leaf cutting Ant , Harlequin Beetle (Acrocinus Longimanus) , Worker Ants, Gecko , Damselfly , Jaguar , Deer , Tapir , Rubber Fly , Coatimundi , Lanternwing Insect , Bull Frog , Red Squirrel , Anolis Lizard , Pike-headed Vine Snake , Red-eyed Tree Frog , Basilisk Basilliscus Americana , Helmeted Iguana , Boa Constrictor , Orange Tree Frog (Bojo Peregienes) , Agalychnis Spurreli , Poison Tree Frog (Hyla Ebbraccata) , Flaming Arrow Poison Frog (Dendrobates Pumilio) , Hyla Boulanger , Aloreate Parrot Snake , Hummingbird , Bare-Throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma Mexicanum) , Guatemalan Howler Monkey (Aloutta Villosa) , Woolly Opposum , Baird's Tapirs , Wolf Spider , Tegnaria Spider , Katydid , Spotted Butterfly , Sphyngid Moth , Owl Butterfly , Winged Butterfly (Hypoleria) , Clearwing Butterfly (Cithaerias Menander) , Black Polister Wasp , Blackcurrent Grasshopper , Ruduvig Bug ,
Save Our Earth - Bird

Yellow Schegal Viper , Chrotopteris Bat , White Bearded Hermit Humming Bird , Apoica Wasp , Howler Monkey , King Vulture , Copybara (grows to 4feet and is the largest living rodent) , Ocelot , Giant Otter , Hoatzin , Orgiope Argentata , Pygmy Anteater (Cylcopes Didactylus - rarely grows more than 7inches) , Dendrobates Leucomeless , Eleuthero Dactylus , Caterpillar , Amazon Dolphin , Red Faced Uakari (Cacajao Rubicundus) , Woolly Monkey (Lagothrix Lagothricha - woolly monkeys live with up to 50 other individual monkeys) , Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus Didactylus) , Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho Nestira) ,

Dung-Eating Butterfly , Sulphur Butterfly (Phoebus sp - sucks moisture from the riverside mud of Bolivia) , Actinote Momina Butterfly , Grasshopper , Urticating Caterpillar , Bird-Eating Spider , Piranha , Green-Throated Hummingbird , Yellow Rumped Cacique (Cacicus Cela) , Fruit-Eating Bird (found in large groups) , Blue-Tailed Emerald Hemmingbird (Chlorostilbon Melliscus) , Genus Ithomiidae , Heliconid , Heliconius Melpomene , Cattle Egret (Ardeola Ibis) , Long-Tailed Lemur (Lemur Catta) , Black Lemur (Lemur Macaco) , Indris (Indri Indri - largest of the lemurs growing around 28 inches) , Aye-Aye (Daubentonia Madagacariensis) , Toco Toucan (Ramphastos Toco) , Red-Ruffed Lemur (Lemur Variegatus-Ruber) , Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis Liberiensis) , Eastern Lowland Gorilla , Silverback Ape , Leopard (Panthera Pardus) , Tiger (Panthera Tigris - largest hunter of the rainforests, reaching over 11 feet) , Spoonbill (Platgala Leuxorodia) , Stork (Ibis Leucocephallus) , Genus Cynapes Spider ,

tocrue Macaque Monkey , Brown-Headed Barbet , Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris Asiatica) , Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone Paradisi) , Ceylon Hawk , Malabar Pied Hornbill , Ceylon Serpent Eagle , Silvered Langur , Stump-Tailed Macaques (Macaca Fascicularis) , Malay Fishing Owl , Adjutant Stork , Flying Frog , Praying Mantis , Flying Foxes , Viper , Python , Golden Tree Snake , Siamang (Large Gibbon) , Blue-Eared Kingfisher (Alcedo Meninting) , Heron , Weaver Ants (Oecophylla Smaragdina) , Thosea Butterfly , Paper Wasp (Polistes) , Atlas Moth (Attacus Atlas) , Two Horn Rhino Beetle , Blue-Throated Bee-Eater (Merops Viridis) , Rufous-Backed Kingfisher , Jumping Spider (Hyllus sp) , Orang Utan (Pongo Pygmaeus - grow as tall as 5 feet) , Asian Rhinoseroses (once found throughout Java and mainland Malaysia but hunting has reduced its numbers to a few hundred) , Blossom Bat , Giant Wood Spider (Nehila Maculata) , Harpy Eagle , Tree-Dwelling Anteater (Tamandua) , 12 inch Golden Conue , Giant Anole Lizard….

The forests of India are ancient in nature and composition. Indian people need to have more wildlife education. They are rich in variety and shelter a wide range of flora and fauna and insects. The fact they have existed from time immemorial is substantiated from the ancient texts all of which have some mention of the forests. The people venerated forests and a large number of religious ceremonies centered on trees and plants. Even today in parts of India the sacred forests exist and are worshiped. The wildlife in India is equally diverse and rich. From big animals like elephants and tiger and deers and bisons to small reptiles the Indian forests are teeming with life force. But unfortunately most Indians don't understand the importance of this rich wealth of forest and wildlife India has. Felling of tress and illegal poaching of animals are fast depleting the forest and wild life wealth of India. So efforts must be taken to stop these malpractices and conserve the forest and wild life of

forest_stream.jpgForests can be found in all regions capable of sustaining tree growth, at altitudes up to the tree line, except where natural fire frequency or other disturbance is too high, or where the environment has been altered by human activity.bengal-tigers_10_600x450.jpg

The latitudes 10° north and south of the Equator are mostly covered in tropical rainforest, and the latitudes between 53°N and 67°N have boreal forest. As a general rule, forests dominated by angiosperms (broadleaf forests) are more species-rich than those dominated by gymnosperms (conifer, montane, or needleleaf forests), although exceptions exist.

Forests sometimes contain many tree species only within a small area (as in tropical rain and temperate deciduous forests), or relatively few species over large areas (e.g., taiga and arid montane coniferous forests). Forests are often home to many animal and plant species, and biomass per unit area is high compared to other vegetation communities. Much of this biomass occurs below ground in the root systems and as partially decomposed plant detritus. The woody component of a forest contains lignin, which is relatively slow to decompose compared with other organic materials such as cellulose or carbohydrate.

INTRODUCTION TO FOREST

Approximately one-third of the earth’s total land area is covered by forest. The forests are storehouse of biodiversity and provide important environmental services to mankind. These services originate from the following key functions of the forest:

1. Productive functions: These functions include production of wood, fruits and a wide variety of compounds, such as resigns, alkaloids, essential oils, latex etc.

2. Protective functions: These functions includes conservation of soil and water prevention of draught, shelter against wind, neat, radiation and noise.

3. Regulative functions: These functions involve absorption storage and release of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide), water, mineral elements and radiant energy. Such regulative functions improves atmospheric and temperature conditions, and enhance the economic and environmental value of the landscape. Forest effectively regulate floods and draught, and the global biogeochemical cycles, particularly of carbon.

Deforestation

World’s forest cover has been shrinking rapidly especially in the developing countries located in tropics. While the temperature forests has lost only one percent or less of its area, the tropics have lost more than 40 percent of the forest cover due to deforestation. The main causes of deforestation are expansion of agriculture, urbanization, industrialization, excessive commercial use of timber, fuel wood, other forest products and cattle grazing. The current deforestation rates in tropic is estimated to be more than ten million ha per year. If this rate of deforestation continues, it is feared that remaining tropical forest may disappear within a century. Deforestation causes the extinction of plant, animal and microbial species. Deforestation also include regional and global climate change. It contributes to global warming by releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which is greenhouse gas.
Forest Conservation and Management

Forest conservation and management programmed should ensure:

1. Sustainable supply of tree products and service to people and industry.

2. Maintenance of long termed ecological balance through protection, restoration and conservation of forest cover. Extensive planting of trees through afforestation programmes is needed to save the diminishing forest cover.

forest

Forests are differentiated from woodlands by the extent of canopy coverage: in a forest, the branches and the foliage of separate trees often meet or interlock, although there can be gaps of varying sizes within an area referred to as forest. A woodland has a more continuously open canopy, with trees spaced further apart, which allows more sunlight to penetrate to the ground between ug5_4807.JPGforest surveys goes back to the Mauryan period in the third century BC. Chandra Gupta Maurya conducted the first authentic study and classified forests according to the functions they were required to perform such as religious, production, grazing for royal elephants, hunting and public use.

But as there was no threat of dwindling green cover during that time, detailed records were not maintained. During the Mughal rule, surveys were limited to royal hunting reserves.

OUR GROUP RESEARCH
A report by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) says that the first forest survey was launched in South India in 1800 by the British rulers. A commission was set up to study the availability of teak in Malabar region. During the first half of 19th century conservators and superintendents were appointed to survey forest resources and manage the assets all over the country.

In 1863, the Conservator of Forests of Madras made a systematic collection of all information related to the working of the forests and produced the first 'Manual of Forests Operations'. This could be considered as the first step towards formal codification of the results of forest survey in the shape of written documents later to be known as 'working plan'. In due course, these working plans contained detailed forest maps based on the results of forest survey.

In 1865, Brandis was appointed the first Inspector General of Forests working directly under the orders of Government of India. His job was to introduce a system of scientific management and conservation of forests through systematic forest surveys and preparation of working plans based on it.

Prior to 1910, forest surveys and mapping were carried out by Survey of India at scales decided by Superintendent of Survey in consultation with the forest departments. After 1910, forest surveys were made ancillary to topographical surveys. The boundaries of legal forest areas are indicated by double dot lines while information about forest cover is shown in the form of green wash in these maps.

After Independence in 1947, all princely states were merged into the Indian Union along with their forest areas. A further big addition of forest areas took place as a result of abolition of zamindari and proprietary rights in forest. The National Forest Policy enunciated in 1952 laid emphasis on forest surveys and demarcation along with other aspects of forest development.

However, till 1960 non-availability of classified data of forest-wealth was a major problem in planning of scientific utilization of forest. To overcome this, a complete and broad survey of forest resources was required. Keeping this in view, a project named “Pre-Investment Surveys of Forest Resources” was undertaken by the Government in collaboration with UNDP/FAO in 1965.
The PIB website informs that in 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture, realizing the importance of collection of data of a more general nature on a national level, recommended the creation of a National Forests Resources Survey Organisation. As a result of this recommendation, PISFR was converted into Forest Survey of India (FSI) in June, 1981. Till date, this organisation conducts the field work with its headquarters based in Dehradun.
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like, recently our member read an article " LEOPARD FALLS IN TRAP AFTER IT ATE PET DOG AT GURGAON FARMHOUSE " which says that a owner of the farmhouse laid a trap to catch the leopard that killed his German Shepard….
STRANGE…. ate up the whole dog?????
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see theindian forest map

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see this pie chart of india after cutting of trees in 2010

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India: Alleviating Poverty through Forest Development

India has the largest number of poor in the world, many of whom depend directly or indirectly on forests for a living. Poverty, as well as large and expanding human and livestock populations, puts unrelenting pressure on the forests of India. The consequence is severe degradation of the country’s forest resources. The government has attempted to slow losses to its forests and increase tree cover through a series of programs with support from the World Bank: industrial forestry, social forestry, and, most recently, joint forest management (JFM). The Bank’s involvement in JFM is the largest experiment in participatory forest management ever funded by the Bank anywhere in the developing world.

This review of World Bank Group activities in India’s forest sector draws lessons from the experience of these programs and is intended to help articulate a forest sector strategy for all of India that would contribute not only to the development of its forest sector but also to meeting the Bank’s larger strategic goal of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

The review is divided into two parts. Part I surveys the changing state of the forests in India. It explores causes of change in the extent and the quality of the forest cover, including the consistency and accuracy of the information on which the conclusions are based. The major conclusions of this section are as follows:

  1. Degradation, not deforestation, is currently the major problem in the forest sector in India, though deforestation was more important in the past.
  2. Data on forest cover, its rate of change, and the demand and supply of forest products are unreliable. While the database needs improvement, most observers, including the authors of this paper, believe that enough is known to support actions on various fronts.
  3. India’s agricultural intensification has had a major positive impact, relieving pressure on marginal lands on which most of the forests remain. But urbanization, industrialization, and income growth are putting a tremendous demand pressure on forests for products and services.
  4. The shrinking common property resource base, the rapidly increasing human and livestock population, and poverty are all responsible for the tremendous degradation pressure on the existing forest cover.
  5. Although India has a well-articulated forest policy that has evolved over time, forest laws have lagged in translating the policy into an implementable strategy. Even with a well-defined forest policy, India currently lacks a strategy to meet the many diverse demands for forest products and services from the forest sector.

Part II explores the World Bank’s lending and nonlending activities in India before and after the Bank’s 1991 Forest Strategy. While the focus of the review is on the post-1991 period, the pre-1991 experience is also relevant for drawing lessons for the future. The Bank has invested US$830.14 million in India in 16 projects; 9 are complete and 7 are in various stages of implementation. The major conclusions of this section are as follows:

  1. The Bank has largely lived up to its 1991 Forest Strategy in India.
  2. There is considerable congruence between the Bank’s 1991 Forest Paper and India’s 1988 Forest Policy. Both emphasize the environ-mental role of forests and the need to fulfill the subsistence requirements of the local population dependent on forests. India’s current forest strategy, to which the Bank has been responsive in the post-1991 period, is relevant but not sufficient. An ideal forest strategy for India would provide a balance of all the three policy phases that India has experienced since independence: industrial forestry, social forestry, and protection/regeneration.
  3. A large percentage of the poorest in India live in and around forests, and the Bank’s forest strategy has the potential to contribute substantially to poverty alleviation in the country. Since 1992, the Bank has financed six state-level sectorwide projects that support the forest sector development strategies of individual state forest departments. The JFM strategy used in these projects involves villagers cooperating with the Forest Departments (FDs) in forest protection in exchange for a share of the final harvest and so-called "usufruct" rights — the right to utilize the forests so long as they are not damaged or altered. A two-pronged approach is followed to involve communities: increasing the stake of the neighboring communities in the management and utilization of the forests, and creating alternative sources of employment to reduce the pressure on forests. These include work on tree planting and regenerating activities, as well as the building of sources of drinking water supply, approach roads, schools, check dams, and other facilities. India has more than 68 million tribal people, a large percentage of whom live close to the forest areas and constitute the most disadvantaged section of society based on per capita income, literacy rates, nutritional and health status, and lack of access to social and technical services. The Bank projects have the potential for alleviating poverty by building the grassroots capacity for forest protection and regeneration in the communities adjacent to forests.
  4. The Bank projects have been successful in promoting a major attitudinal change in the FDs toward working with the local people. The benefits of a people-oriented approach for the FD (e.g. higher rate of tree survival, protection of forest areas, improved public image) outstrips the cost to the agency.
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Too few of the post-1991 projects have been completed to inform a judgment of their impact on the development of the forest sector in India. Supervision ratings show implementation progress to be satisfactory, but the performance among the states varies. Though the long-term involvement of the Bank in the forest sector has promoted important policy and institutional reforms, the Bank and India need to give far greater attention than they currently do to financial sustainability concerns and to the complex social and political realities of India. Sustainability of a participatory institutional development process is a complex issue in a highly differentiated society like India, where the poor have little voice and the FDs are starved for resources.

India is perhaps the only country in the world where the Bank has been continuously involved in the forest sector for over two decades. Over that time, the design and implementation of Bank projects have improved substantially, reflecting the considerable learning that has taken place. In retrospect, the Bank has been making four important contributions to India’s forest sector:

  1. By bridging the budgetary gap for a vital sector, the Bank is enabling India to implement its forest strategy.
  2. By following a systemic approach toward building the capacity for production and management of good quality planting material, it is helping build in-country capacity for production technology generation and transfer.
  3. By helping change the attitude of the FD toward working with the poor in tree/forest protection and regeneration, it is helping build consensus for a new strategy of forest protection and management.
  4. By playing a catalytic role in bringing several policy and institutional issues to the table, it has been helping focus attention on areas in need of reform. The Bank clearly recognizes that the policy, legal, and institutional environment is not yet right in the forest sector in India. Even so, it has continued lending to the sector, clearly recognizing that it can be effective in a country of India’s size and complexity only by remaining engaged and taking an incremental approach to achieving desired results. The Bank has tried to deal with policy, legal, and institutional issues in the context of individual projects, but its project-by-project approach has not enabled it to build an overarching Bank strategy toward the Indian forest sector.

This review argues that Bank lending to India has been relevant in the past and can contribute significantly to forest development and poverty alleviation in the future. However, both the Bank and India need to work toward removing the weaknesses that have hindered progress in the past. Some of the major issues that need attention in the forest sector are presented in table A; table 3.4 captures in detail the complexity of the issues and the viewpoints of the various stakeholders. The Bank needs to continue to remain active in the sector. However, more commitment is needed from the Government of India to view the Bank’s involvement in the forest sector in the larger and longer-term context of poverty alleviation and not simply as a source of finance for the sector. Moreover, the Bank can bring to bear in India positive lessons of experience from other countries that will help improve the performance of the forest sector and its contribution to the economy. For example, India could benefit from what has been learned in Costa Rica about in-creasing the revenue-earning capacity of the forest sector.

Though what Bank forest sector projects can finally achieve depends on several factors, the recent approach toward concentrating Bank lending in selected states that are more open to fiscal, policy, and institutional reform may be a step in the right direction. The Bank could focus its forest lending efforts in these states. It is already doing so in Andhra Pradesh, and successes with the policy and institutional reforms in that state could serve as a model for other states. However, effective implementation requires that the Bank’s forest strategy in these states be planned and implemented as a part of the overall development strategy (that integrates the agricultural, rural, and forest strategies) instead of an isolated forest effort from other sectors as has largely been the case in the past.

Table A. Some Major Issues in the Forest Sector
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Issue Current position in country Position of the Bank/Bank projects OED Review
Forests as a part of a poverty alleviation Tree plantations have been part of various poverty alleviation programs of the central and state governments. Role of forests in poverty alleviation has not been clearly appreciated. A large percentage of those living in the vicinity of forests are amongst the poorest. The role that Bank forest sector projects can play in poverty alleviation has not been clearly recognized or articulated as part of the Bank's poverty alleviation strategy.
Intersectoral coordination Interdepartment coordination is weak at the national and state levels. Bank forest sector projects have stressed the need for collaboration with other departments, but achievements have been limited. There is an urgent need to develop a multisectoral approach for the forest sector. A forest strategy has to be closely integrated with and be a part of a strategy for watershed development. There is also a need for integration with agriculture (for instance in the role of trees outside forests).
Sustainability concerns Currently given insufficient attention. Currently given insufficient attention. The Bank and other donors are there for a short time and adequate provisions need to be made for continuing project related activities on project closure.
Production and marketing strategy Current strategy has an insufficient production focus and gives inadequate attention to marketing issues, especially those related to NTFPs. Bank strategy suffers from the same limitation as the country's. Production issues, particularly tree plantings outside the forest areas, need greater attention. It is also important to take the decision on the role of the private sector. Marketing issues, particularly those related to NTFPs need to be looked into. Further studies may be required. Government federations should be asked to compete with other traders in the open market purchase of NTFP from panchayats/Gram Sabhas. In the case of wheat and paddy, the FCI provides a support price, but farmers are not forced to sell to the FCI alone. Similarly, the role of Forest Corporations in the marketing of NTFPs can be to provide a floor price, but allow the private market to develop.
Research The state FDs realize the importance of giving attention to quality of planting material however research is faced with funding shortages. The Bank has made one of the most important contributions to forests in India in this field but much more needs to be done. Though the Bank has made an important contribution in the past, the whole issue of Indian Forest Service vs. technical staff affects research adversely. Research for NTFPs, tree species suitable for dry lands; development of fast-growing species that will help meet the rising domestic urban demand for wood products requires greater attention. Coordination between national and state research institutes needs more attention.
Center versus state Basic policy guidelines for forests are formulated by the MOEF (GOI), which coordinates environmentally relevant schemes and actions. Responsibility of administering the forests rests primarily with the state governments. Bank projects give inadequate attention to the importance of having a strong center. The Bank lending has supported the state-by-state approach and has attempted to deal with policy, institutional, and sector reform issues in a particular state context. It is important to have a strong center to assume coordination responsibility and to make a convincing case for GOI borrowing for the forest sector. A prioritization strategy is needed that identifies which issues should be handled at the center and which by the states. MOEF leadership is also required to take initiative in such areas as legal and policy reform, research coordination, and exchange of lessons learned between state level projects.
Long-term role of bilateral and multilateral donors Currently donor funds are used as a substitute for state and federal funds in several states. There is no effective coordination between the donors. There is no effective strategy to coordinate between donors at the country level. There are few strategic linkages between the Bank's forest sector program and agencies such as the Ford Foundation. It is crucial for GOI to decide what role it sees for external resources in the forest sector. Does it see them as a substitute for its own and state funds, or does it think external resources should play a strategic role in the sector. Donors support can be positioned according to comparative advantage in the context of the National Forestry Action Program (NFAP).screen_fmi_big.gif

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAINFOREST

The beauty, majesty, and timelessness of a primary rainforest are indescribable. It is impossible to capture on film, to describe in words, or to explain to those who have never had the awe-inspiring experience of standing in the heart of a primary rainforest.

Rainforests have evolved over millions of years to turn into the incredibly complex environments they are today. Rainforests represent a store of living and breathing renewable natural resources that for eons, by virtue of their richness in both animal and plant species, have contributed a wealth of resources for the survival and well-being of humankind. These resources have included basic food supplies, clothing, shelter, fuel, spices, industrial raw materials, and medicine for all those who have lived in the majesty of the forest. However, the inner dynamics of a tropical rainforest is an intricate and fragile system. Everything is so interdependent that upsetting one part can lead to unknown damage or even destruction of the whole. Sadly, it has taken only a century of human intervention to destroy what nature designed to last forever.

The scale of human pressures on ecosystems everywhere has increased enormously in the last few decades. Since 1980 the global economy has tripled in size and the world population has increased by 30 percent. Consumption of everything on the planet has risen- at a cost to our ecosystems. In 2001, The World Resources Institute estimated that the demand for rice, wheat, and corn is expected to grow by 40% by 2020, increasing irrigation water demands by 50% or more. They further reported that the demand for wood could double by the year 2050; unfortunately, it is still the tropical forests of the world that supply the bulk of the world's demand for wood.

In 1950, about 15 percent of the Earth's land surface was covered by rainforest. Today, more than half has already gone up in smoke. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. That is more than 150 acres lost every minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year! More than 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest is already gone, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within fifty years.

Massive deforestation brings with it many ugly consequences-air and water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemics, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the eviction and decimation of indigenous Indian tribes, and the loss of biodiversity through extinction of plants and animals. Fewer rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breathe, and an increased threat from global warming.

But who is really to blame? Consider what we industrialized Americans have done to our own homeland. We converted 90 percent of North America's virgin forests into firewood, shingles, furniture, railroad ties, and paper. Other industrialized countries have done no better. Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, and other tropical countries with rainforests are often branded as "environmental villains" of the world, mainly because of their reported levels of destruction of their rainforests. But despite the levels of deforestation, up to 60 percent of their territory is still covered by natural tropical forests. In fact, today, much of the pressures on their remaining rainforests comes from servicing the needs and markets for wood products in industrialized countries that have already depleted their own natural resources. Industrial countries would not be buying rainforest hardwoods and timber had we not cut down our own trees long ago, nor would poachers in the Amazon jungle be slaughtering jaguar, ocelot, caiman, and otter if we did not provide lucrative markets for their skins in Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo.
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India has the largest number of poor in the world, many of whom depend directly or indirectly on forests for a living. Poverty, as well as large and expanding human and livestock populations, puts unrelenting pressure on the forests of India. The consequence is severe degradation of the country’s forest resources. The government has attempted to slow losses to its forests and increase tree cover through a series of programs with support from the World Bank: industrial forestry, social forestry, and, most recently, joint forest management (JFM). The Bank’s involvement in JFM is the largest experiment in participatory forest management ever funded by the Bank anywhere in the developing world.

This review of World Bank Group activities in India’s forest sector draws lessons from the experience of these programs and is intended to help articulate a forest sector strategy for all of India that would contribute not only to the development of its forest sector but also to meeting the Bank’s larger strategic goal of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

The review is divided into two parts. Part I surveys the changing state of the forests in India. It explores causes of change in the extent and the quality of the forest cover, including the consistency and accuracy of the information on which the conclusions are based. The major conclusions of this section are as follows:

  1. Degradation, not deforestation, is currently the major problem in the forest sector in India, though deforestation was more important in the past.
  2. Data on forest cover, its rate of change, and the demand and supply of forest products are unreliable. While the database needs improvement, most observers, including the authors of this paper, believe that enough is known to support actions on various fronts.
  3. India’s agricultural intensification has had a major positive impact, relieving pressure on marginal lands on which most of the forests remain. But urbanization, industrialization, and income growth are putting a tremendous demand pressure on forests for products and services.
  4. The shrinking common property resource base, the rapidly increasing human and livestock population, and poverty are all responsible for the tremendous degradation pressure on the existing forest cover.
  5. Although India has a well-articulated forest policy that has evolved over time, forest laws have lagged in translating the policy into an implementable strategy. Even with a well-defined forest policy, India currently lacks a strategy to meet the many diverse demands for forest products and services from the forest sector.

Part II explores the World Bank’s lending and nonlending activities in India before and after the Bank’s 1991 Forest Strategy. While the focus of the review is on the post-1991 period, the pre-1991 experience is also relevant for drawing lessons for the future. The Bank has invested US$830.14 million in India in 16 projects; 9 are complete and 7 are in various stages of implementation. The major conclusions of this section are as follows:

  1. The Bank has largely lived up to its 1991 Forest Strategy in India.
  2. There is considerable congruence between the Bank’s 1991 Forest Paper and India’s 1988 Forest Policy. Both emphasize the environ-mental role of forests and the need to fulfill the subsistence requirements of the local population dependent on forests. India’s current forest strategy, to which the Bank has been responsive in the post-1991 period, is relevant but not sufficient. An ideal forest strategy for India would provide a balance of all the three policy phases that India has experienced since independence: industrial forestry, social forestry, and protection/regeneration.
  3. A large percentage of the poorest in India live in and around forests, and the Bank’s forest strategy has the potential to contribute substantially to poverty alleviation in the country. Since 1992, the Bank has financed six state-level sectorwide projects that support the forest sector development strategies of individual state forest departments. The JFM strategy used in these projects involves villagers cooperating with the Forest Departments (FDs) in forest protection in exchange for a share of the final harvest and so-called "usufruct" rights — the right to utilize the forests so long as they are not damaged or altered. A two-pronged approach is followed to involve communities: increasing the stake of the neighboring communities in the management and utilization of the forests, and creating alternative sources of employment to reduce the pressure on forests. These include work on tree planting and regenerating activities, as well as the building of sources of drinking water supply, approach roads, schools, check dams, and other facilities. India has more than 68 million tribal people, a large percentage of whom live close to the forest areas and constitute the most disadvantaged section of society based on per capita income, literacy rates, nutritional and health status, and lack of access to social and technical services. The Bank projects have the potential for alleviating poverty by building the grassroots capacity for forest protection and regeneration in the communities adjacent to forests.
  4. The Bank projects have been successful in promoting a major attitudinal change in the FDs toward working with the local people. The benefits of a people-oriented approach for the FD (e.g. higher rate of tree survival, protection of forest areas, improved public image) outstrips the cost to the agency.
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Too few of the post-1991 projects have been completed to inform a judgment of their impact on the development of the forest sector in India. Supervision ratings show implementation progress to be satisfactory, but the performance among the states varies. Though the long-term involvement of the Bank in the forest sector has promoted important policy and institutional reforms, the Bank and India need to give far greater attention than they currently do to financial sustainability concerns and to the complex social and political realities of India. Sustainability of a participatory institutional development process is a complex issue in a highly differentiated society like India, where the poor have little voice and the FDs are starved for resources.

India is perhaps the only country in the world where the Bank has been continuously involved in the forest sector for over two decades. Over that time, the design and implementation of Bank projects have improved substantially, reflecting the considerable learning that has taken place. In retrospect, the Bank has been making four important contributions to India’s forest sector:

  1. By bridging the budgetary gap for a vital sector, the Bank is enabling India to implement its forest strategy.
  2. By following a systemic approach toward building the capacity for production and management of good quality planting material, it is helping build in-country capacity for production technology generation and transfer.
  3. By helping change the attitude of the FD toward working with the poor in tree/forest protection and regeneration, it is helping build consensus for a new strategy of forest protection and management.
  4. By playing a catalytic role in bringing several policy and institutional issues to the table, it has been helping focus attention on areas in need of reform. The Bank clearly recognizes that the policy, legal, and institutional environment is not yet right in the forest sector in India. Even so, it has continued lending to the sector, clearly recognizing that it can be effective in a country of India’s size and complexity only by remaining engaged and taking an incremental approach to achieving desired results. The Bank has tried to deal with policy, legal, and institutional issues in the context of individual projects, but its project-by-project approach has not enabled it to build an overarching Bank strategy toward the Indian forest sector.

This review argues that Bank lending to India has been relevant in the past and can contribute significantly to forest development and poverty alleviation in the future. However, both the Bank and India need to work toward removing the weaknesses that have hindered progress in the past. Some of the major issues that need attention in the forest sector are presented in table A; table 3.4 captures in detail the complexity of the issues and the viewpoints of the various stakeholders. The Bank needs to continue to remain active in the sector. However, more commitment is needed from the Government of India to view the Bank’s involvement in the forest sector in the larger and longer-term context of poverty alleviation and not simply as a source of finance for the sector. Moreover, the Bank can bring to bear in India positive lessons of experience from other countries that will help improve the performance of the forest sector and its contribution to the economy. For example, India could benefit from what has been learned in Costa Rica about in-creasing the revenue-earning capacity of the forest sector.

Though what Bank forest sector projects can finally achieve depends on several factors, the recent approach toward concentrating Bank lending in selected states that are more open to fiscal, policy, and institutional reform may be a step in the right direction. The Bank could focus its forest lending efforts in these states. It is already doing so in Andhra Pradesh, and successes with the policy and institutional reforms in that state could serve as a model for other states. However, effective implementation requires that the Bank’s forest strategy in these states be planned and implemented as a part of the overall development strategy (that integrates the agricultural, rural, and forest strategies) instead of an isolated forest effort from other sectors as has largely been the case in the past.rupi-8744-Nature-Beauty-nature-ppt-powerpoint-118_88.jpg

EARTH DAY……..
Earth Day is the perfect time to think outside the box. What are the consequences of our choices? What products are better for the earth? What should we avoid?

Just as you might suspect, there's more to saving the earth than putting newspapers in a recycling container once a week.
Our product choices, packaging, reusing, and recycling are all areas that affect our homes. Some of the things we can do will take very little time. Other choices will require research, persistence, and conscious effort.

When building or remodeling our homes, for example, we can use earth friendly products including flooring made of cork or bamboo — both renewable resources.

Knowledge is power when learning to save the earth, so here are some of the things all of us can do…

A Dim Bulb-Your local hardware store probably sells a regular incandescent bulb for $2 or $3. Compare that to a compact flourescent bulb that sells for about $15.00. No contest you say? Think again. Experts say you may buy 10 or more of the cheaper bulbs over ten years, compared to only one of the more expensive type. Now which looks better? 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth recommends using compact flourescent bulbs with solid state ballasts that fit into a regular light bulb socket, using 1/4 of the energy of an incandescent bulb while generating the same amount of light.

The Running Faucet -Do you leave the water running while you brush your teeth for 2 minutes? Then nearly ten gallons of water just slid down the drain. Remember, you PAY for that! Now, think about saving water when you shave, wash dishes, do laundry, water the lawn, wash the car, hose off the sidewalks…. **avoid sending water and $$$ down the drain.

Idle Time - Ever wonder if you should leave the car running while you wait for the kids to be dismissed from school? Leave it on if you'll be there less than a minute, otherwise it's more efficient to turn it off and restart it when you're ready to go.

Turn Down the Heat-Not just the furnace, but the water heater too — set it at 130 to 140 degrees. Turn the setting to low or off when you leave for the weekend or for a long vacation, then put a note on your bathroom mirror so you'll remember to turn it up when you return.

Keeping It Clean- Washers can use more than 50 gallons of water per load, so avoid washing a lot of small loads whenever possible. Also, be sure to choose the lowest level of water needed for each load, use warm water instead of hot, and set the rinse cycle to use cold water.

Cold Food-Refrigerator temperatures should be set at about 40 degrees, give or take a degree or two. Freezer temps between 0 and 5 degrees are just right. Colder settings waste energy and won't help food.

Snip Six-Pack Rings -Those innocent looking soft plasting holders for soft drink cans and other products can entangle birds, fish, and small animals. Snip apart each ring before throwing it in the trash, or inquire whether they can be recycled locally.

Get a Charge out of It-Never throw spent batteries in the trash. They contain mercury, a hazardous substance that will leak into groundwater or be burned and released into the air. Don't go there. Either switch to rechargeable batteries or collect used batteries in a shoebox out in the garage, clearly marked. Then take them to a recycling facility once or twice a year.

The biggest challenge that mankind is facing in this century is "global warming" and there is a "global warning" given by scientist to save our earth.It has become a big cry from every corner of the world "How to save our mother earth from global warming", every nation, every forums, every where and in every thing they discuss about this global warming and how to save our earth from this biggest threat. Scientists had laid down the root cause for this situation as the increase in the amount of carbon DI oxide let out on the atmosphere by our industries and automobiles. If this is going to continue we may loose our land to oceans and the indifferent climate conditions may also lead to new unknown diseases, which may challenge the medical world. Now it self we have started to feel the impact of this global warming. It is not an issue with the scientists alone, every individual can join hands in this global mission on "How to save our mother earth from global warming", and i have listed something below.

1.Automobiles stay ahead of everything in the emission of carbon, so as for as possible try to avoid using your automobile for short distances.

2.Instead of everybody using their own vehicle if some of you are working in the same area and living in the same area you can share one vehicle.

3.Now everything can be done through net instead of going to the banks, stations, markets and etc you can do the same by sitting at your home in front of your system.

4. You can reduce the usage of your refrigerator, If you think that how much my refrigerator is going stand as a cause, don't see as one refrigerator of your home count the no of refrigerators around the world in each home and shops, Hotels etc,.

5.Start using the recycle base articles, change from plastic to paper.

6.We can change ourselves to use cotton cloths than silk rayon cloths.

7.As much as possible use cotton bags or paper bags than plastic bags.

8.Instead of searching for a solution how to destroy the used batteries, start using rechargeable batteries.

9.The waste water that is been let out in the process of leather tanning process spoils the soil and its fertility either we should reuse the water through water treatment plants or we should avoid using leather articles.

10.Let us avoid use and throw articles in our daily uses because almost 90 percent of these kind of articles are being made of plastics.

11.Let us grow at least a tree in every house.

12.To stop the forests getting destroyed, the heart of mother nature you can simply avoid using wooden articles.

13. Attend all your vehicles schedule check ups without fail, to Keep your vehicles in good condition and intact .

14.Give special attention to the carburetor, and silencer of your vehicle.

15.Scientists say even the chemicals used for domestic cleaning also destroys the atmosphere since use soda, lemon and vinegar instead of the chemicals.

We can teach our children how to love nature and how important it is to safeguard the world.Instead of keeping them a big asset it is very important for us to keep a wonderful natural and healthy world for them to enjoy their life. It is-true improvements is unavoidable but we can avoid destroying the earth for it is not our permanent property for us to enjoy on our own as we wish. we are only sharing and it should handed over to the following generation with the same way how we got it from our predecessor.
I also welcome more ideas that we can share to join hands in this mission.

When the whole world is searching for new ways and means to fight global warming, an Indian agricultural scientist, Dr. N. Bharathi, said bamboo was a practical atmospheric carbon absorbing plant. He added, " It is the fastest and least expensive way to solve the problems of carbon-dioxide emission and water pollution."

Bamboo absorbs carbon-dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere three to four times higher than many other trees. Bamboo also enriches the soil naturally and prevents soil erosion and effectively cleans the water pollution of of the septic tank discharge and factory effluent by its natural affinity for nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals. One mature Bheema Bamboo (Bambusa Balocava) would absorb above 500 kgs of carbon-dioxide.

A few more:

With the number of natural disasters growing high everyday, it is almost as if the earth is crying out loud for our help. Statistics have put an eight year timer on the time - bomb that is now our planet.

How to save our mother earth from global warming
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By eswar

The biggest challenge that mankind is facing in this century is "global warming" and there is a "global warning" given by scientist to save our earth.It has become a big cry from every corner of the world "How to save our mother earth from global warming", every nation, every forums, every where and in every thing they discuss about this global warming and how to save our earth from this biggest threat. Scientists had laid down the root cause for this situation as the increase in the amount of carbon DI oxide let out on the atmosphere by our industries and automobiles. If this is going to continue we may loose our land to oceans and the indifferent climate conditions may also lead to new unknown diseases, which may challenge the medical world. Now it self we have started to feel the impact of this global warming. It is not an issue with the scientists alone, every individual can join hands in this global mission on "How to save our mother earth from global warming", and i have listed something below.

1.Automobiles stay ahead of everything in the emission of carbon, so as for as possible try to avoid using your automobile for short distances.

2.Instead of everybody using their own vehicle if some of you are working in the same area and living in the same area you can share one vehicle.

3.Now everything can be done through net instead of going to the banks, stations, markets and etc you can do the same by sitting at your home in front of your system.

4. You can reduce the usage of your refrigerator, If you think that how much my refrigerator is going stand as a cause, don't see as one refrigerator of your home count the no of refrigerators around the world in each home and shops, Hotels etc,.

5.Start using the recycle base articles, change from plastic to paper.

6.We can change ourselves to use cotton cloths than silk rayon cloths.

7.As much as possible use cotton bags or paper bags than plastic bags.

8.Instead of searching for a solution how to destroy the used batteries, start using rechargeable batteries.

9.The waste water that is been let out in the process of leather tanning process spoils the soil and its fertility either we should reuse the water through water treatment plants or we should avoid using leather articles.

10.Let us avoid use and throw articles in our daily uses because almost 90 percent of these kind of articles are being made of plastics.

11.Let us grow at least a tree in every house.

12.To stop the forests getting destroyed, the heart of mother nature you can simply avoid using wooden articles.

13. Attend all your vehicles schedule check ups without fail, to Keep your vehicles in good condition and intact .

14.Give special attention to the carburetor, and silencer of your vehicle.

15.Scientists say even the chemicals used for domestic cleaning also destroys the atmosphere since use soda, lemon and vinegar instead of the chemicals.

We can teach our children how to love nature and how important it is to safeguard the world.Instead of keeping them a big asset it is very important for us to keep a wonderful natural and healthy world for them to enjoy their life. It is-true improvements is unavoidable but we can avoid destroying the earth for it is not our permanent property for us to enjoy on our own as we wish. we are only sharing and it should handed over to the following generation with the same way how we got it from our predecessor.

I also welcome more ideas that we can share to join hands in this mission.

When the whole world is searching for new ways and means to fight global warming, an Indian agricultural scientist, Dr. N. Bharathi, said bamboo was a practical atmospheric carbon absorbing plant. He added, " It is the fastest and least expensive way to solve the problems of carbon-dioxide emission and water pollution."

Bamboo absorbs carbon-dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere three to four times higher than many other trees. Bamboo also enriches the soil naturally and prevents soil erosion and effectively cleans the water pollution of of the septic tank discharge and factory effluent by its natural affinity for nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals. One mature Bheema Bamboo (Bambusa Balocava) would absorb above 500 kgs of carbon-dioxide.

A few more:
With the number of natural disasters growing high everyday, it is almost as if the earth is crying out loud for our help. Statistics have put an eight year timer on the time - bomb that is now our planet.

Become a part of your school, college, office, or your residential area's environment clubs. Participate in activities to clean up the city you live in.

Garbage lying around begins to ro6t and plays a huge role in polluting the soil, air and water the very basic essentials that we require to live. Picking up garbage and throwing it in dustbins is a great way to start living clean. Try to composite kitchen waste and other organic wastes. This composite is also a great fertilizer and it helps reduce the amount of trash that you send to your local garbage dump.

What medicines do the Forests provide?

It is astonishing to think that of all the drugs we consume today most of the common ones are derived from the rainforests, even more astonishing is that only a small amount of the total number of plants have been screened for medical use. The following is a list of drugs that the plants have provided a basis for : the contraceptive pill, antibiotics, tranquillisers, dental cement, heart and ulcer drugs. In fact one in four products from the chemist contain chemical compounds derived from rainforest plants. 70% of anti cancer plants originate from the rainforests and the US National Cancer Institute identified 3,000 plants with properties in fighting cancer.

From 1960-1990, the survival rate for child leukaemia rose from 20% to 80% when 'The Rosy Periwinkle' plant from Madagascar played a major contribution in fighting this form of cancer. The Cinchona tree from Peru has been effective in treating malaria; the Guatemalan wild yam is a major contribution to the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill; Resperine from South East Asia, from the shrub Rauwlfia Serpentina is used for treating hypertension. Cement used in dentistry comes from the balsams of Latin America. And the 'Benzoin Tree' of Malaysia produces a yellow substance that is used for antiseptic and to treat bronchitis. This is the Earth's own medicine cabinet with many more cures for illnesses hidden within the forests.

With the pharmaceutical companies making billions of pounds and dollars each year, it seems that it is in their interest that the forests no longer survive, but the forests provided the basis for all of man's drugs and we should start preserving them now.

What happens to Forests that are burnt down?

forests that are burnt will not resume their previous life again as the ground is not fertile enough and nothing will grow; it will be like a house gutted after a fire. As if this was not enough the heavy rains that hit the forests that normally receives up to 200 centimetres a year will sit on the ground and flood the area causing mud and land slides.

In 1988 the great floods of Thailand alerted the government of the dangers and implications of forest clearing. A study carried out in the Ivory Coast region found that in a landslide, a forested slope lost 0.03 tons per hectare per year where as a deforested slope lost 138 tons of soil per hectare per year. You can also add to this the carbon dioxide that is released into the air when forests are burnt.

Based on a 1992 study, figures showed 15-20% of carbon dioxide was emitted into the air and ten years later, you can double that and add the emissions caused by the Industrial Age and its fossil fuels and you are pushing the percentage higher and higher. Within the next five to ten years, if the forests continue to be destroyed and emissions are not cut drastically, we will see such diverse weather patterns like never before, pushing highs up to 150 degrees with famine, drought and disease, and this is only the beginning…

INDIAN FORESTS

Indian ForestIndia`s unique topography, terrain, climate and vegetation, brings out natural diversity that cannot be witnessed anywhere else in the world. One such variation is also present in India`s wild-forested regions. Forests in India have always been one of the richest resources. Indian forests are ancient in nature and composition. India was once covered with dense forests. There is enough evidence to show this. The fact that they have existed for very long time is proved from the ancient texts all of which have some mention of the forests. The people honored the forests and a large number of religious ceremonies centered on trees and plants. The Agni Purana, written about 4000 years ago, stated that man should protect trees to have material gains and religious blessings. Around 2500 years ago, Gautama Buddha preached that man should plant a tree every five years. Sacred groves were marked around the temples where certain rules and regulations applied.

It was Chandra Gupta Maurya who came to power around 300 B.C and realized the importance of forests. Therefore he appointed a high officer to look after the forests. Ashoka stated that wild animals and forests should be preserved and protected. He launched programmes to plant trees on a large scale. These rules continued even during the Gupta period. The forests acted as a refuge to people during the Musilm rule. People fled from their home and took refuge in these forests. The Muslim invaders were all very keen hunters and therefore it was necessary for them to have patches of forests where they could go hunting. This ensured that the trees in these hunting areas were not felled, and the forest ecology was not tampered with. The Mughals showed more interest in gardens and their development. Akbar ordered the planting of trees in various parts of his kingdom whereas Jahangir was well known for laying out beautiful gardens and planting trees.

Then came the British period. During the early part of the British rule, trees were felled without any thought. Large numbers of trees such as the sal, teak, and sandalwood were cut for export. The British gradually started using these forests as a resource for revenue generation. They made a rule in which the trees could not be felled without prior permission, and this in turn made them the sole owner and users of the valuable Indian forests. These forests were the richest resources for the British colonies.

The importance of having forests was later realized, around the 1800`s, when a commissioner was appointed to look into the availability of teak in the Malabar forests. In 1806, the Madras government appointed Capt. Watson as the commissioner of forests for organizing the production of teak and other timber suitable for the building of ships. Forest management was primarily aimed at the production of commercial products such as teak timber. The post of a conservationist was created and this term was related to the patches of forests that they managed, called conservancies, and was not related to biodiversity conservation. Even today, vast tracts of Indian forests are covered with teak plantations, low in biodiversity and seasonally ravaged by forest fires. The first foresters in India were highly influenced by forest management in Germany and many forest officers in India were trained in the German school of thought brought into India by Dietrich Brandis (1824-1907)-the father of tropical forestry.

In 1855, Lord Dalhousie framed regulations for conservation of forest in the entire country. Teak plantations were raised in the Malabar hills and acacia and eucalyptus in the Niligiri Hills. From 1865 to 1894, forest reserves were established to secure material for imperial needs. From the 18th century, scientific forest management systems were employed to regenerate and harvest the forest to make it sustainable.

Pune Botanical GardenAnother area of interest was the introduction of plants of economic importance to India. Many of these introductions were tried in botanical gardens at Sibpur, Poona, Madras and Saharanpur. The Chinese monopoly on tea was ended when tea was introduced in Darjeeling and Sri Lanka. The botanical garden at Sibpur in Calcutta was started in 1787 by Col. Robert Kyd (1746-1793). Sir George King (1840-1904) who was in charge of the garden from 1871 was instrumental in the creation of a herbarium at the garden and founded the Botanical Survey of India in 1890. Later botanical workers include the paleobotanist Birbal Sahni (1891-1949). During World War I forest resources were severely depleted as large quantities of timber were removed to build ships and railway sleepers and to pay for Britain`s war efforts. Between the two wars, great advancements in scientific management of the forests were made, with many areas undergoing regeneration and sustained harvest plans being drawn up.

A great upheaval in the Forestry organization in India came with the independence of India in 1947. The princely states were managed variably, giving more concessions to the local populations. The transfer of these states to the government led to deforestation in these areas.

The new Forest Policy of 1952 recognized the protective functions of the forest and aimed at maintaining one-third of India`s land area under forest. Certain activities were banned and grazing restricted. In 1976, the governance of the forest came under the concurrent list. `Development without destruction` and `forests for survival` were the themes of the next two five-year plans, aiming at increasing wildlife reserves and at linking forest development with the tribal economy. Conservation has been an avowed goal of Indian government policy since Indian independence. Afforestation increased from a negligible amount in the first plan to nearly 8.9 million hectares in the seventh plan. But a large gap between aim and achievement still exists.

Indian Teak ForestsIn the early 1990`s about 17 percent of India`s land was regarded as forestland. However, because more than 50 percent of this land was barren or brush land, the area under productive forest was actually less than 35 million hectares, or approximately 10 percent of the country`s land area. The growing population`s high demand for forest resources continued the destruction and degradation of forests through the 1980s, taking a heavy toll on the soil. Many Indian forests in the mid-1990s are found in high-rainfall, high-altitude regions, areas to which access is difficult. About 20 percent of total forestland is in Madhya Pradesh; other states with significant forests are Orissa, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh (each with about 9 percent of the national total); Arunachal Pradesh (7 percent); and Uttar Pradesh (6 percent). The variety of forest vegetation is large: there are 600 species of hardwoods, sal (Shorea robusta ) and teak being the principal economic species.

India`s long-term strategy for forestry development reflects three major objectives:

  1. to reduce soil erosion and flooding;
  1. to supply the growing needs of the domestic wood products industries; and
  1. to supply the needs of the rural population for fuel wood, fodder, small timber, and miscellaneous forest produce.
To achieve these objectives, the National Commission on Agriculture in 1976 recommended the reorganization of state forestry departments and advocated the concept of social forestry. The commission itself worked on the first two objectives, emphasizing traditional forestry and wildlife activities; in pursuit of the third objective, the commission recommended the establishment of a new kind of unit to develop community forests. Following the leads of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, a number of other states also established community-based forestry agencies that emphasized programs on farm forestry, timber management, extension forestry, reforestation of degraded forests, and use of forests for recreational purposes. The State community forestry agencies emphasized such projects. Both individual farmers and tribal communities were also encouraged to grow trees for profit. For example, in Gujarat, one of the more aggressive states in developing programs of socioeconomic importance, the forestry department distributed 200 million tree seedlings in 1983. The fast-growing eucalyptus is the main species being planted nationwide, followed by pine and poplar.
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The National Forest Policy of 1988 further emphasized on the role of India`s forests in the National economy and ecology. It focused on ensuring environmental stability, restoring the ecological balance, and preserving the remaining forests. 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.

Better late than never- people have realized that deforestation threatened not only the ecology but also their livelihood in a variety of ways. Thus, people have become more interested and involved in conservation. The Chipko movement in India was the best-known popular activist movement, wherein local women decided to fight the government and the vested interests to save trees. This movement took place in Uttar Pradesh where women literally `stuck to` or `chipko` to the trees, and would not let the manufacturers cut them down. This movement has spread and become an ecological movement leading to similar actions in other forest areas. The movement has slowed down the process of deforestation, exposed vested interests, increased ecological awareness, and demonstrated the viability of people power.

Andaman Tropical ForestIndia possesses a distinct identity, not only because of its geography, history and culture but also because of the great diversity of its natural ecosystems. The panorama of Indian forests ranges from evergreen tropical rain forests in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Western Ghats, and the northeastern states, to dry alpine scrub high in the Himalaya to the north. Between the two extremes, the country has semi-evergreen rain forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn forests, and subtropical pine forests in the lower montane zone and temperate montane forests. The Andaman and Nicobar Island islands have tropical evergreen rain forests and tropical semi-evergreen rainforests as well as tropical monsoon moist monsoon forests.

The Indian forest type recognizes 16 major types of forests, subdivided into 221 minor types. Structure, physiognomy and floristic are all used as characters to define the types. The main areas of tropical forest are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; the Western Ghats, which fringe the Arabian Sea coastline of peninsular India; and the greater Assam region in the north-east. Small remnants of rain forest are found in Orissa state. Semi-evergreen rain forest is more extensive than the evergreen formation partly because evergreen forests tend to degrade to semi-evergreen with human interference.

Indian <a href= Western Ghats Monsoon forests" "1">The Western Ghats Monsoon forests occur both on the western (coastal) margins of the ghats and on the eastern side where there is less rainfall. These forests contain several tree species of great commercial significance, e.g. Indian rosewood Dalbergia latifolia, Malabar Kino Pterocarpus marsupium, teak and Terminalia crenulata. Clumps of bamboo occur along streams or in poorly drained hollows throughout the evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of southwest India, probably in areas once cleared for shifting agriculture.

The tropical vegetation of northeast India, which includes the states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya as well as the plain regions of Arunachal Pradesh embraces evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forests, moist deciduous monsoon forests, riparian forests, swamps and grasslands. Evergreen rain forests are found in the Assam Valley, the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and the lower parts of the Naga Hills, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur where the rainfall exceeds 2300 mm per annum.

Central Indian forests has been defined by Birdlife International as a Secondary Area for bird endemism, as it includes the range of the critically endangered Forest Owlet. It includes the southern region of Madhya Pradesh, the Vidarbha region of Maharastra and Chattisgarh. This forest is of Dry Decidous type, i.e, the trees shed their leaves in the summer season. Many Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks are housed in these forests. Some of them are Kanha National Park, Pench National Park and Melghat wildlife sanctuary. The Forest Owlet was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in Melghat.

A communal forest in India is a specific term which refers to forests governed by local communities in a way compatible with sustainable development, and can be of various types. Such forests are typically called village forests or panchayat forests, reflecting the fact that the administration and resource utilization of the forest occurs at the village and panchayat level, which is an elected rural body. Such community forests are usually administered by a locally elected body, usually called the Forest Protection Committee, Village Forest Committee or the Village Forest Institution. Such committees are known as Van Panchayats in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, Forest Co-operative Societies in Himachal Pradesh and Van Samrakshan Samitis in Andhra Pradesh.
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