Social Forestry in India

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"In India, a conceptual distinction has been drawn between production forestry (so far confined mainly to reserved forests) and social forestry (scattered land wherever tree-growing is possible). Social forestry is, in effect, an integral part of the Gandhian philosophy of economic growth and community development. Imagine an economy in which the present idle land and water resources, owned by individuals or communities, are harnessed for better purposes by putting to work unemployed people. The social benefits thus generated and the additional resources so created may serve as stepping stones toward self-sufficiency. The objectives of social forestry as defined by the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA, 1976) are: (a) supply of fuelwood to replace cow dung; (b) supply of small timber; (c) supply of fodder; (d) protection of agricultural fields from wind and soil erosion; and (e) creation of recreational amenities. Its main components are: farm forestry, rural forestry, and urban forestry. Broadly speaking, their objectives are almost identical, the differences being too subtle, but worth examining."



social forestry, economic growth, community development