Q) “Examine the components of social forestry. Discuss the problems faced by social forestry in India.”
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.
Social forestry also refers to the management of forests for the benefits of local communities. It includes aspects such as forest management, forest protection, and afforestation of deforested lands with the objective of improving the rural, environmental, and social development. Unlike other forestry projects, in the setting of social forestry, the needs of local communities come first.
Components of social forestry
There were 5components of Social forestry -Urban forestry, Rural forestry, Agro forestry, Community Forestry and Farm forestry
- Urban forestry pertains to the raising and management of trees on public and privately owned lands in and around urban centres such as green belts, parks, roadside avenues, industrial and commercial green belts, etc.
- Rural forestry lays emphasis on promotion of agro-forestry and community-forestry.
- Agro-forestry is the raising of trees and agriculture crops on the same land inclusive of the waste patches. It combines forestry with agriculture, thus, altering the simultaneous production of food, fodder, fuel, timber and fruit. Community forestry involves the raising of trees on public or community land such as the village pasture and temple land, roadside, canal bank, strips along railway lines, and schools etc.
- Community forestry programme aims at providing benefits to the community as a whole. Community forestry provides a means under which the people of landless classes can associate themselves in treeraising and thus, get those benefits which otherwise are restricted for landowners.
- Farm Forestry – Farm forestry is a term applied to the process under which farmers grow trees for commercial and non-commercial purposes on their farm lands. Forest departments of various states distribute seedlings of trees free of cost to small and medium farmers. Several lands such as the margins of agricultural fields, grasslands and pastures, land around homes and cow sheds may be used for raising trees under noncommercial farm forestry
Problems faced by the social forestry in India
Although social forestry as a concept was revolutionary but in India, it was not too much success. Primarily because of the wrong implementation under the incentive given to farmers & villagers to encourage Social forestry.
- ‘Farm Forestry’ was driven by big farmers who were encouraged by the supply of free saplings by the government.
- Trees were grown for investment purpose and not for needs of rural and tribal folks which led to deforestation as usual
- No real attempt was made to involve the landless in the social forestry program and both women and tribal –who could have been big contributors – were left out.
- There was poor ecological focus. It is a general feeling that trees like eucalyptus and poplar depleted soil nutrients in states of Haryana and Punjab.
- Low coverage – Village needs are far from being satisfied from the community forestry program
- Encroachment of Community Land
- Low incentives for villagers to take pains on plantation
- Most social forestry programmes are undertaken on community wastelands, roadside and canal margins where it is very difficult to grow and protect the saplings.
- Rules and regulations regarding the harvesting, transport and marketing have to be simplified so as to eliminate hurdles in obtaining permission.
- Absence of requirement and resource survey
- Lack of awareness
- Improper method of planting and caring
- Indiscriminate grazing
Social forestry is supposed to diversify non-farm options or non-crop income options for poor farmers & landless labourers. Through the social forestry scheme, the government has involved community participation, as part of a drive towards afforestation, and rehabilitating the degraded forest and common lands. If implementation challenges are overcome the aim of social forestry can be achieved.