[Environment] Essay on Social Forestry

Social forestry means the management and protection of forests and afforestation on barren lands with the purpose of helping in the environmental, social and rural development.

It is forestry of the people by the people and for the people. The main thrust of social forestry is to reduce pressure on the traditional forest areas by developing plantation of fuel wood, fodder and grasses. The practice of social forestry has become very popular during the last three decades. The social forestry system has various components such as - Agroforestry, community forestry, commercial form forestry, non commercial farm forestry, non­commercial farm forestry.



The term, social forestry, was first used in India in 1976 by The National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India. It was then that India embarked upon a social forestry project with the aim of taking the pressure off currently existing forests by planting trees on all


This concept aims at

(i) providing adequate quantities of fuel wood, fodder and other forest products,

(ii) maintaining ecological balance with the help of large scale afforestation on community lands and waste lands in the country. The social forestry is different from farm forestry.


It aims at growing of trees on private lands, on the farm boundaries and private plantations.
It is comprised of three schemes

(i) Mixed plantations on waste lands
(ii) Reafforestations of degraded forests and
(iii) Raising of shelter belts.



In fact social forestry aims at increasing and creating the potential of raw material resources of forests, especially in degraded forest areas, waste lands, panchayat lands and also on the sides of canals, railway lines and roads. Special stress is laid on growing fodder and fuel wood.


BSI (Botanical Survey of India) Headquarter of Kolkata (Calcutta) was set up in 1890 for the purpose of surveying and identifying plant resources of the country. It consists of nine circles working in different parts of India.


The total forest cover in India has been estimated to the extent of 19.27% of the total Geographical area of the country. Out of this


1117% area dense forest.

7-95% area open forest.
015% area mangrove.
1-74% area scrubs etc.

The Forest Survey of India was established in 1981 with its headquarters at Dehradun. It has four regional offices at Bangalore, Kolkata, Nagpur and Shimla.


Forests are a renewable source of immense economic use. Their importance has increased all the more due to its power of enhancing quality of environment.


Conservation of forests is assuming great importance in India with the objectives of:


1. Maintaining environment cleanliness.

2. Conservation of natural heritage.
3. Check on soil erosion.
4 check on extension of sand dunes in Rajasthan and coastal areas.
5. Increasing forest cover by encouraging and practising afforestation.

There exists 5000 species of wood. They are of hard and soft wood nature. Tropical hard wood trees are mahagony, teak, sal, ironwood, rosewood, etc.

Soft wood trees are fir, spruce, cedar, poplar, pines, douglas, deodar, kel, etc

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