Forest Policy (FP)
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE POLICY AND ACTS DEALT WITH BY FOREST POLICY DIVISION:
- National Forest Policy, 1988: The current National Forest Policy was enunciated in 1988 with the principal aim to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance which are vital for sustenance of all life forms and the derivation of direct economic benefit must be subordinated to this principal aim. The Policy prescribes the national goal of having a minimum of one‑third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover. In the hills and in mountainous regions, the aim is to maintain two‑third of the area under such cover in order to prevent erosion and land degradation and to ensure the stability of the fragile eco‑system. The Policy recognises symbiotic relationship between tribal people & forests and calls for to associate tribal people in protection, regeneration & development of forests as well as to provide gainful employment to people living in and around the forest. It lays great emphasis on safeguarding of customary rights & interests of tribals with special focus in forestry programmes. The basic objectives are given below:
- Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and restoration of the ecological balance,
- Conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural forests with the biological diversity and genetic resources of the country.
- Checking soil erosion and denudation in the catchment areas of rivers, lakes, reservoirs in the “interest of soil and water conservation,
- Checking the extension of sand‑dunes in the desert areas and along the coastal tracts.
- Increasing substantially the forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes,
- Meeting the requirements of fuel-wood, fodder, minor forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations.
- Increasing the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs.
- Encouraging efficient utilisation of forest produce and maximising substitution of wood.
- Creating a massive people’s movement with the involvement of women, and to minimise pressure on existing forests.
The policy recognizes that the life of tribals & other poor living within and near forests revolves around forests and calls for full protection of their rights and concessions making their domestic requirements of fuel wood, fodder, minor forests produce and construction timber as the first charge on forest produce. The Policy lays down that the forest-based industry should raise its raw material by establishment of direct relationship between factory & individuals who can grow the raw material by supporting with required inputs.
- Indian Forest Act, 1927: The Division deals with legal issues on the matters related with the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The Indian Forest Act, 1927 provides legal framework for management of forests in the country. In some States, the Act is applicable as it is, while some of the States have enacted their own which in essence, are the adopted versions of the Indian Forest Act 1927. The implementation of the Forest Act is primarily the responsibility of concerned State/UT Governments. The Forest policy Division also carry out the process of review and amendment to the Act, from time to time, based on the changes required to meet new challenges for protection and management of forests in the country.
- Forest-PLUS Program: Overview And Highlights
- The Forest-PLUS programme aims to strengthen technical capacity of forestry professionals in sustainable forest management and implementation of REDD+. The programme brings together Indian and U.S. expertise to develop technologies, tools and methods of forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for improved ecosystem services, carbon stocks, biodiversity, and livelihoods.
- The Programme involves participation of State Forest Departments and Central Forestry Institutions viz. Forest Survey of India, ICFRE, IGNFA, FRI, IFGTB etc. on different aspects of Sustainable Forest Management e.g. Forest Inventory and Carbon assessment, Ecological Restoration, Forest fire, Communication with forest communities, promoting livelihoods and sustainable use of NTFPs.
- Four Forest-PLUS Pilots are being implemented in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim in collaboration with respective State Forest Departments.
- The Forest-PLUS programme started in July 2012 and is for a period of 5 years. The programme is currently in third year and transitioning from the development to the deployment stage.
- Some of the key highlights/outputs of the program so far are provided below:
- Forest-PLUS program has worked with Forest Survey of India and State Forest Departments to develop an advanced version of a nationally integrated Inventory Data Management System (I-DMS) that is able to receive data from many sources including remote sensing data, Tier 3 level data from working plans, and carbon inventory data collected by local communities. The system can process, analyze, and report these data as needed by local, state, and national forestry sector stakeholders.
- Developed optical remote sensing model and analysis protocols to estimate forest carbon and forest condition. These models give accurate, frequent, and higher resolution measurement of forest carbon, allowing REDD+ activities to be more cost-effectively verified.
- Organized the first SAR Forestry Task Force meeting on June 2015 for development of an India-specific SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) remote sensing protocol for forest carbon mapping. The task force has members from Forest Survey of India, National Remote Sensing Centre, and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing. These members are slated to attend a 3-week training in the U.S. in July 2015; following this they would be developing the SAR models and protocols.
- Designed in collaboration with the four SFDs and Forest Research Institute suitable techniques of silviculture, NTFP management and grazing management, that apply an ecosystem approach to increase forest carbon and ecological health in the Forest-PLUS landscapes.
- Provided technical assistance to Karnataka Forest Department to incorporate forest carbon and forest condition measurement and monitoring into working plans of Shimoga.
- The program is in the advanced stages of developing a landscape level REDD+ project in Shimoga (Karnataka) and a jurisdictional REDD+ project in Sikkim. The Forest-PLUS program is collaborating with FSI and the respective state forest departments to development reference levels for these projects.
- 900 local community members and 330 state forest department staff trained on climate change and forestry matters; 180 forest officers and researchers have been trained on forest carbon inventory, including use of remote sensing tools. In the future targeted training program will be organized on ecosystem management and advanced forest carbon inventory tools and techniques.
vi. USAID’s Interagency agreement with U.S. Forest Service: USAID’s interagency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) complements and supports the Forest-PLUS program. Specifically, USAID and USFS are supporting peer-to-peer collaboration between Indian and U.S. foresters. The agreement has thus far provided technical assistance to the GOI institutions- FSI, ICFRE, IGNFA and IIFM etc. These include trainings on remote sensing to map/estimate forest cover and burn severity; training on carbon estimation, forest inventory and monitoring; a workshop on developing reference baselines and scenarios for REDD+; assessment of institutional capacities and national framework for implementing REDD+ in India; a short course on forecasting and futures modeling; and a training workshop on ecological monitoring and ecosystem services. A study tour on forest landscape restoration is slated for August 2015. The Ministry and US Forest Service are working for strengthening Institutional level collaboration between Indian and USFS Institutions on emerging forestry issues.
GLOBAL OBJECTIVES ON FORESTS:
In 2006, at its sixth session, the Forum agreed on four shared Global Objectives on Forests, providing clear guidance on the future work of the international arrangement on forests. The four Global Objectives seek to:
- Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management (SFM), including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent forest degradation;
- Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, including by improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people;
- Increase significantly the area of sustainably managed forests, including protected forests, and increase the proportion of forest products derived from sustainably managed forests; and
- Reverse the decline in official development assistance for sustainable forest management and mobilize significantly-increased new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of SFM.
NON-LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT ON ALL TYPES OF FORESTS (NLBI):
In May 2007, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) agreed to NLBI or “Forest Instrument” to boost the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM), and thus to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations. The purpose of the NLBI under UNFF resolution (UNFF A/RES/62/98):
- To strengthen political commitment and action for SFM at all levels to implement effectively SFM of all types of forests and to achieve the shared Global Objectives on Forests
- To enhance the contribution of forests to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), in particular with respect to poverty eradication and environmental sustainability;
- To provide a framework for national action and international cooperation.
- Life of tribals & other poor living within and near forests revolves around forests. Their rights and concessions should be fully protected & their domestic requirements of fuel wood, fodder, minor forests produce and construction timber should be the first charge on forest produce.
- Organised 3 Chintan Shivir at Bangalore, Bhopal and Guwahati.
- Coordinated Forestry & Wildlife Agenda matters in Forest Ministers’ Conference in April 6-7,2015
- Organised bilateral visits of Forestry delegations from:
- Sri Lanka
- Prepared Scheme on Nagar Van- Udyan Yojana
- Prepared Draft Guidelines on PPP for afforestation of Degraded Forests
- The Division is working on Green Credit Scheme for encouraging afforestation/ tree plantation on non forest land.
- The Division prepared and issued Guidelines on liberalization of Regulatory Regime on trees grown on Non forest lands have been issued in November,2014.
- Draft Guidelines for conservation, development and management of urban greens prepared.
- The School Nursery Yojana: The School Nursery Yojana aims at involving school students in raising plant nurseries to bring them closer to natural environment, help them understand the natural processes of germination and feel the joy of watching saplings grow.
- To connect young students with plant, create sense of belonging and oneness with nature, sensitivity towards plants and living environment.
- To provide an opportunity for students to be in contact with soil, manure, seed, which students in cities are often missing.
- To make students learn and appreciate the natural process of growing saplings.
- To grow saplings of various plants for herbal medicinal, ornamental, shrubs, trees and potted plants etc. for planting in their neighbourhood, take care and watch them grow.
- To identify and learn the various benefits of trees and plants.
- To provide students observe their neighbouring trees, collect seeds for use in nurseries.
- To encourage students to use plants grown by them for distribution to visiting dignitaries and public on suitable occasions.
Nagar Vana-Udyan Yojana- “ Ek Kadam Hariyali Ki Or” (A PROGRAMME FOR CLIMATE SMART GREEN CITIES)
Vision: To create at least one CITY FOREST in each City having Municipal Corporation/ Class I Cities for providing wholesome healthy living environment, and contributing to growth of Smart, Clean, Green and Healthy
- To create 200 City Forests in the Country. A City Forest will be developed in each City with Municipal Council (see list at Annexure).
- To create awareness on plants and biodiversity.
- Conservation education on important flora and fauna of the region including threat perception.
- Ecological rejuvenation of the cities-Forests the green lungs will contribute to Environmental improvement of cities by pollution mitigation, cleaner air, noise reduction, water harvesting and reduction of heat islands effect.
- In-situ Biodiversity conservation.
- Health benefits to citizens.
- Making cities climate resilient.
Review of National Forest Policy, 1988:
Administration and Regulating Laws on Forests can be traced back to the British period in India which gave the recognition of forest resource as an immensely valuable natural resource as well as playing a great role in maintaining eco-system services. The first National Forest Policy was enacted in 1894 vide circular resolution No. 22-F dated 19th October, 1894 under Chapters VIII and IX of Dr. Voeleker’s Report on the Improvement of Indian Agriculture.
2. The National Forest Policy, 1894 underline the management of State forests in British India. Later on, another attempt was made for review of National Forest Policy and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture vide resolution No. 13-1/52-F dated 12th May, 1952 adopted National Forest Policy, 1952. However, over the years, forests in the country have suffered serious depletion due to over exploitation and other reasons is attributable to relentless pressures arising from ever-increasing demand for fuel wood, fodder and timber; inadequacy of protection measures; diversion of forest lands to non-forest uses without ensuring compensatory afforestation and essential environmental safeguards.
3. The National Forest Policy, 1988 was enacted with the basic objectives of maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary, restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serious depletion of the forests of the country. The policy laid special emphasis on people’s participation leading to starting of Joint Forest management Programme in the Country on a massive scale. Presently, NFP, 1988 is guiding the policy issues related to forestry, which is also hold by the Supreme Court of India in Lafarge judgment.
4. The Ministry has initiated review of National Forest Policy, 1988 in view of the recent developments in the forestry and other related sectors. A Core Group under the chairmanship of DGF &SS has been working on the review of National Forest Policy. Recently, Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal has been assigned the responsibility to assist the Ministry in the process of review and revision the National Forest Policy through wider consultative process.