What is Social Forestry?

Social forestry refers to the management and protection of forests with the help of local communities. 

Components of Social Forestry

Three components of social forestry are

  • To recognize, restore and reallocate the forest lands to the inhabitants for the management and protection of forests.
  • The forest department works in close cooperation with local communities.
  • To develop the required social and economic system to achieve the above aims.

Objectives of Social Forestry

  • To provide wood, fodder, timber, and other minor forest produce to rural people
  • To develop local cottage industries by providing raw materials
  • To conserve soil and water
  • To increase agricultural production by using cow dung as manure

Features of Social Forestry

  • Planting trees with the help and support of local communities
  • Using fallow lands to take away the pressure on forest lands
  • Practising sustainable forestry with short crop rotation
  • Distributing the benefits derived from various projects based on forestry among local communities

Factors Responsible for the Deforestation

  • The rapid growth of population has resulted in clearing land for cultivation activities
  • Many forests have been cleared to convert them into pasture lands
  • Overgrazing
  • Increasing demand for timber for industrial expansion and urbanization
  • The construction of multipurpose river valleys has led to the submergence of lands and the destruction of forests

Importance of Forest

  • They play an important role in controlling humidity, temperature and precipitation.
  • They help in maintaining the purity of air by absorbing carbon dioxide.
  • They control soil erosion, soil degradation and prevent droughts and floods.
  • Forests help in water percolation.
  • Decayed leaves of plants provide humus to the soil and increase its fertility.
  • They provide habitation to plants and animals.

National Forest Policy

The National Forest Policy was adopted in 1952 by the government of India. The policy gives importance to sustainable forest management to conserve forests. 

Objectives of the National Forest Policy

  • To maintain the stability of the environment by preservation and restoration of ecological balance
  • To check soil erosion and denudation in the catchment areas of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. To increase the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs
  • To create people’s movement on a large-scale involving woman for preserving forests
  • To conserve the natural heritage of the country by preserving natural forests, flora, and fauna.

Also, Read Natural Vegetation of India