The National Commission on Agriculture is giving serious thought to the problem of deforestation and recommended introduction of ' Social Forestry'. Social forestry may be defined as an additional aid to wild life conservaion. According to K.M. Tewari (President, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun) 'Social forestry is a concept, a programme and a mission which aims at ensuring ecological, economic and social security to the people, particularly to the rural masses especially by involving the beneficiaries right from the planning stage to the harvesting stage".
Different components of social forestry programme are
1. Protection and afforestation of degraded forests .
2. Creation of village wood lots on community lands and government waste lands.
3. Block plantation.
4. Argo-forestry (trees along with agricultural crops) on marginal and sub-marginal farm lands.
5. Tree planting around habitation area and field boundaries
6. Tree planting in urban and industrial areas for aesthetic purposes,
7. Control of erosion by planting trees or shrubs.
8. Strip plantation along road sides, canals and rail lines.
Conservation of Forests
Following measures should be adopted to conserve forests:
1. A tree removed from the forest for any purpose must be replaced by a new tree. Thus tree felling should be matched by tree planting programmes as early as possible.
2. Afforestation should be done in areas unfit for agriculture, along highways and river banks around play grounds and parks. A special programme of tree plantation called Van Mahotsav is held every year in our country. It should be made popular and effective.
3. Maximum economy should be observed in the use of timber and fuel wood minimising by the wastage.
4. The use of fire wood should be discouraged and alternative source of energy for cooking such as biogas, natural gas etc., should be made available.
5. Forest should be protected from fire. Modern fire fighting equipment should be used to extinguish accidental forest fire.
6. Pests and diseases of forest trees should be controlled by fumigation and aerial spray of fungicides and through biological method of pest control.
7. Grazing of cattles in the forests should be discouraged.
8. Modern methods of forest management should be adopted. These include, use of irrigation, fertilizers, bacterial and mycorrhizal inoculation, disease and pest management control of weeds, breeding of elite trees and tissue culture techniques.
Technique of improvement cutting and selective cutting should be done. The improvement cutting includes the removal of old dying trees, non commercial trees, damage tree and diseased trees. Selective cutting involves cutting of mature timber trees and crowded trees.
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