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Development of forest resources is an integral part of the programme for optimum land utilisation. Forests have important protective as well as productive functions. They not only supply timber, fuel, fodder and a variety of other products but also have a moderating influence against floods and erosion and help maintain soil fertility. A number of industries, such as. construction, furniture, paper, rayon, plywood. matches, resin and tanning depend on forests for supply cf raw materials. Development of forestry and forest industries is also essential for raising the income of the tribal people who live in the forest areas.
2. In view of India's tropical climate, periodic monsoons, low forest productivity and predominantly agricultural economy, it has been urged t'lat at least a third of the total land area in the country should be under forests. But as against this, the actual proportion today is only 21.8 pei cent. Moreover, most of the forests are concentrated in a few States only, namely, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa and a few Union Territories. In northern India, in particular, the proportion of forest land to the total area is much lower than the all India average. There is great need not only for increasing the forest area for the country as a whole but also for more intensive development in areas which are lacking in forest wealth.
3. While the area under forests continues to be at a low level, the demand for various forest products, both for industrial use and for domestic purposes, has been steadily increasing. It is estimated that the requirements of industrial wood (including pulp material) which amount to 4.5 million tons at present, would increase to about 9.5 million tons in 1975. The demand for paper and rayon grade pulp, in particular, is likely to expand considerably with growing population, increasing literacy and rising standards of living. As new plantations take 25 to 30 years to develop, in the ordinary course production may not increase beyond 5.5 million tons by 1975, thus leaving a gap of as much as 4 million tons. Due to acute shortage of fuel wood, nearly 400 million tons of cowdung (wet weight) equivalent to 60 million tons of firewood is annually burnt instead of being put in land as manure. The shortage of firewood is anticipated to be about 100 million tons by 1975. As regards minor produce, the present requirement of tanning materials is about 30.000 tons of pure tannin, 30 per cent of which still comes from abroad. In the case of medicinal plants, owing to favourable ecological situation there is considerable scope of development,
4. In productive areas in well-maintained forests, yields of about 2.75 tons per acre per annum are obtained for sal, of 4.10 tons for deodar and of 1.30 tons for chir pine. For several reasons the average yield in India is, however, extremely low. Large areas of unclassed State forests and the former private forests acquired by Government after the abolition of zamindari are understocked and require to be rehabilitated. In forests in inaccessible hilly areas a proportion of the timber is lost because of lack of adequate facilities for transportation. Large quantities of inferior woods which could be put to economic use through seasoning and preservation treatment remain only partially utilised. Customary forest frights and concessions, which are undoubtedly important, also have the effect of reducing the yield. As economic development proceeds and river valley and other projects are undertaken, to an extent forest areas are even apt to diminish. There are obvious difficulfties in expanding the area under forests. In the circumstances the principle objective of forest policy must be to raise productivity progressively and to undertake cultivation of quick-growing species so as to meet the growing requirements of the economy.
Review of Progress
5. Both the First and the Second Plan put considerable emphasis on preservation processes, improvement of communications and introduction of degraded forests, establishment of new plantations, especially of fast growing species, application of modern systems of intensive forest management, better utilisation of inferior varieties by seasoning and preservation processes, improvement of communications and introduction of modern loo-sing techniques. In 1950. the Central Board of Forestry was set up. In 1952, Government declared its forest policy, which emphasised the protective as well as productive role of forests and suggested as a desirable long-term objective that a third of the land area should be under forests. A sum of Rs. 9.5 crores was spent during the First Plan and about Rs. 19.3 crores during the Second Plan for the development of forestry. Schemes directly undertaken by the Central Government related to forest research, forest education and the preservation of wild life. Large tracts of degraded forests situated in the former zamindari estates and princely States came under Government control. Schemes for the demarcation of such areas and preparation of maps were taken up. New plantations of matchwood extending over an area of about 55,000 acres and of industrial timber over an area of 330.000 acres were undertaken during the First and Second Plans. Survey and demarcation wa? undertaken over about 18.000 square miles, 9,000 miles of forest roads were built and about 400.000 acres of degraded forests were rehabilitated. Improved methods of logging were demonstrated, especially in the States of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Programmes for The Third Plan
6. In the Third Five Year Plan it is proposed not only to intensify some of the programmes initiated under the First and Second Plans but also to put special emphasis on measures which will help meet the long term requirements of the country and ensure more economic and efficient utilisation of the available forest products, including inferior timber and wood residues. The immediate objective is to increase the output through better techniques of timber extraction, to develop forest communications and to bring about better utilisation through the increased use of preservation and seasoning processes. The Plan provides an outlay of Rs. 51 crores for various development programmes in the States and Union Territories, including a sum of Rs. 6.7 crores for Central and Centrally sponsored schemes. Some of the important programmes included in the Third Plan are briefly described below.
7. Economic Plantations.A large scale programme of new plantations is essential for meeting the increasing requirements of industry. These plantations should comprise not only the traditional species of timber with long periods of maturity but also fast growing species with a comparatively short rotation. The programme for new plantations includes 210.000 acres for teak, 40.000 acres for bamboo, 60,000 acres for match-wood, 22,000 acres for wattle, 46,000 acres for fuel-wood including casuarina and 325-000 acres for miscellaneous plantations. An additional programme for planting 300,000 acres over the period of the Third Plan with fast growing species of industrial wood is also proposed to be taken up.
8. Village and Extension Forestry.The importance of village and fuel plantations and of extension forestry has been frequently stressed, but the practical results gained thus far are small. Panchayat Samitis and Panchayats should be assisted to take up these programmes on a large scafe, and Forest Departments should ensure that seeds and saplings are available in each area. There is considerable scope for community effort in planting trees on village common lands, along village roads, contour bunds and irrigation tanks. Individual cultivators should also be assisted in growing trees. It is estimated that an area of over 1.2 million acres will come under farm forestry during the Third Plan. Programmes for plantins trees a'one national and State highways, canal banks and railway tracks should be intensified. Efforts in these directions can add substantially to the suppW of firewood and of wood for tools and implements,
9. Promotion of methods for increased production.Improved logging tools and mechanical contrivances can help reduce wastage and increase the utilisation of wood resources. In hi!ly areas, in particular, the savings are considerable. Modern tools and other equipment empioyed in advanced countries have been tested and the staff of Forest Departments in several States have been trained in their use. Work on improved implements is also being undertaken at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun.
10. Some of the rich forests at higher elevations in the Himalayas remain untapped or are only partially exploited. This is mainly due 10 their inaccessibility. There are some steep and rocky slopes where the use of cable cranes is essential. Forest roads need to be linked with trunk roads and river landings, so that the timber can be transported or floated easily. The Plan provides for the development of about 15,000 miles of forest roads.
11. Development of minor forest produce. Indian forests have a large variety of minor products, there being over 3,000 species, besides a number of animal products. Considerable scope for exploitation and development exists, for instance, in respect of medicinal plants, essential oils, resins, fatty oils, fats, waxes, starches, bamboos, canes, grasses, and insect products, such as, honey, lac, and bees' wax. Export possibilities also exist for certain medi-cinai plants, such as, Rauwolfia serpentina. Proposals for the exploitation of various forest products are provided for in the plans of States.
12. Timber Treatment.There are about 100 secondary species of timber which are not utilised properly at present. These secondary species can be used as a substitute for the primary timber after the necessary seasoning and preservation treatment. The Plan provides for the setting up of 27 seasoning and 3 seasoning-cum-preservation plants. It is important that high grade timber should be reserved for uses which are valuable and for which adequate substitutes are not available.
13. Survey and Demarcation.Large areas outside the reserved forests and those recently acquired by State have not yet been classified nor their legal status denned. Proper demarcation on the ground is essential for scientific working and rehabilitation of these areas. Survey and demarcation work is proposed to be taken up over an area of about 43,000 square miles.
Rehabilitation work on areas which were surveyed and demarcated previously, will be taken up and extended to about 600,000 acres, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Madras and Mysore.
14. Pre-investment survey of forest resources. The need for a comprehensive appraisal of the country's forest resources with a view to
FORESTS AND SOIL CONSERVATION
Developing forest-based industries such as rayon, chipboard, particle board, fibre board, etc. has been felt for some time. Until adequate and dependable supplies of raw material! are established, it is difficult to promote the formation of integrated industrial units. The Third Plan includes a project for a pre-investment survey of forest resources and industries. The main object of the survey is to facilitate the formulation of a long-term programme for planting quick-growing species, for opening up forest regions in the interior and for assessing the economic prospects of forest-based industries. The pre-investment survey will also take into account the requirements of different industries over the next 15 years or more. The survey is intended to be followed up by detailed programmes for the improvement of transport facilities, setting up of integrated wood utilisation units of saw milling, board manufacture, etc. Measures taken in the light of the survey should assist in filling the gap between the availability of timber and other forest products of economic value and the demand for these products to which reference has already been made.
15. Grazing and Pasture Improvement.In some parts of the country there is often acute shortage of fodder for cattle. There are certain hardy trees and bushes, the leaves of which have fodder value and are extensively used by locaB graziers for tiding over periods of scarcity. Where agriculture is precarious or where large non-arable lands exist and the people follow pastoral pursuits and maintain big herds of cattle, it is necessary to establish large pastures studded with suitabife trees and shrubs of fodder value. The Plan provides for the development of about 150.000 acres of pasture and grazing lands in such areas.
16. Forest Research.The programme of research initiated during the Second Plan at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun will be continued and further expanded. Three regional research stations are to be established for supplementing the work done at Dehra Dun. With a view to promoting the use of various species of wood available in forests in different regions, extensive studies will be undertaken at these centres on their properties, e.g., strength, durability and economic use. Investigations will also be made on factors affecting the yield of valuable products, such as, sandal, agar, etc. and the possibilities of more intensive utilisation of lesser known forest products. Experiments will be conducted on the utilisation and raising of various kinds of canes and bamboos which can be put to diverse use.
17. Training of technical personnel.For the efficient implementation of different programmes of forest development, a laree number of trained persons will be rermired. It is estimated that 480 officers and 1,520 rangers will have to be trained for State Forest Departments. It is. 25170 Plan. Com./ND/91 proposed to increase the rate of admission of the officer's course from &5 to 100 at the Forest College, Dehra Dun, and to the forest rangers' course from 200 to 300 at the Forest Rangers' Colleges at Dehra Dun and Coimbatore. In addition. States will provide facilities for the training of about 10,000 field personnel, such as, foresters and forest guards.
18. Nature conservation.Nature conservation is an important aspect of forest development and includes the protection and proper management of indigenous flora and fauna. Where fauna have been greatly depleted due to human interference, animals and birds will be re-introduced. The Plan includes a programme for the development and establishment of 5 zoological parks, 5 national parks and 10 wild Hfe sancturies. The Delhi zoological park is also to be developed further.
19. Amenities for forest labour.Forest labour is not yet properly organised. To safeguard the interests of forest labour and the tribal people from exploitation by private contractors, as far as possible it is proposed to organise them into forest labour co-operative societies and give these societies suitable concessions in the matter of working of coupes and exploitation of other produce by way of encouragement. State plans provide for schemes for housing, medical aid, water supply and primary education for forest labourers.
20. Public co-operation.Public co-operation has a vital role in forest development. The contribution of the local community in village and extension forestry has been referred to earlier. Whether trees are planted by the people or by Government agencies, their care and protection can only be secured if the people as a whole are conscious of the value of trees and endeavour earnestly to preserve them. Village fuel plantations are important community assets and, village communities should be helped to build them up for themselves and, progressively, greater responsibility for managing forests should be placed on Panchayat Samitis and Panchayats.
21. One of the principal reasons for low productivity in agriculture in certain parts of the country is the progressive deterioration of soil due to erosion. In irrigated areas soil deterioration has occurred on account of water logging and consequent salinity and alkalinity. It has been estimated that about 200 million acres of land, that is, almost a fourth of the country's la"d surface is suffering from soil erosion. It will not be possible to maintain yields of crops on drv lands, much less to increase them. if the so'l is allowed to deteriorate. Effective steps, therefore, need to be taken to plan and undertake soil and moisture '"onservation. measures on a large scale.
Review of Progress
22. Thy urgency of a nation-wide policy for dealing with various problems relating to soil conservation was emphasised in the First Five Year Plan. In 1953, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture set up the Central Soil Conservation Board to initiate, organise and co-ordinate research in soil and water conservation, to train personnel and to assist States in carrying out soil conservation programmes. A sum of about Rs. 1.6 crores was spent in the First Five Year Plan on implementing soil conservation programmes. A large part of this was utilised for contour bunding and terracing of about 700,000 acres of agricultural lands, mostly in Maharashtra and Madras States. Eight regional research-cum-demonstration centres were established for the study of problems of soil and water conservation. In addition, the Desert Afforestation and Research Station was set up at Jodhpur for undertaking the study of the desert problems.
23. In the Second Plan about Rs. 18 crores were spent on carrying out soil conservation works. Contour bunding and terracing made good progress, especially in the earstwhile Bombay State, and an area of 2 million acres was benefited. An integrated all-India Soil Conservation and Land Use Survey was also initiated. About 12 million acres have been surveyed of which about 2 million acres are in the catchment areas of river valley projects.
24. Training centres started during the First Plan for training officers at Dehra Dun and for assistants at Kotah, Bellary, Ootacamund and Hazaribagh were continued during the Second Plan. About 170 officers and 900 assistants have been trained. In addition, arrangements were made for training community development personnel and for providing refresher courses.
25. With a view to popularising dry farming techniques, 40 demonstration projects, each covering about 1000 acres and undertaken on a catchment basis were sanctioned in the latter part of the Second Plan. Work has already begun on some of these projects and these will be extended and completed during the Third Plan.
26. Research work carried out at various research centres has yielded useful results. Methods for the reclamation of shallow ravines for agricultural purposes were worked out for Gujarat ravines. Techniques developed for the economic utilisation of deep and narrow ravines for horticultural crops, forest plantations and pasture improvement have brou.eht promising results. Experiments conducted in deep black soils have shown that contour cultivation increases the yield by 60 to 70 Ibs. per acre in the case of jowar grain and about twice that much amount in the case of fodder. At Jodhpur, techniques were developed for stabilising moving sand dunes and shifting sands, and about 1800 acres of sand dunes were stabilised. Studies on pasture development have indicated that closure and rotational grazing helped to increase materially the yield of grasses.
27. The Desert Afforestation and Research Station at Jodhpur was reorganised as a Central Arid Zone Research Institute in collaboration with UNESCO. The scope of its studies now extends to arid and semi-arid regions throughout the country. Experiments carried out at Jodhpur have emphasised the importance of pasture development and management for stabilisation of shifting sands. A scheme for pasture development was started in Rajasthan. The scheme envisages setting up of 55 paddocks of about 200 acres each on pasture improvement and management for demonstration and research purposes. About 50 paddocks in 18 extension blocks have been developed so far.
28. With experience gained during the Second Plan and larger numbers of persons trained in soil conservation, development work during the Third Plan is proposed to be stepped up considerably. An outlay of about Rs. 72 crores has been provided for the execution of various soil conservation programmes.
29. Contour bunding and dry farming techniques.However much irrigation may spread in India, there will still be left an area of 140 to 150 million acres in which increased yields have to be obtained, mainly through contour bunding, soil conservation and dry farming techniques. Thus, for balanced development of the agricultural resources, it is essential that large-scale soil conservation and dry farming programmes are taken up on the basis of mass participation by the rural communities concerned. In the Third Plan, about 11 million acres will be covered by contour bunding and about 22 million acres will be benefited under dry farming techniques. In addition to contour bunding, the programmes which need special attention are rain water conservation, weed control, strip cropping and judicious use of organic manures including green manures.
30. River valley projects.Afforestation of catchment areas of rivers and allied measures of land-use are essential for (i) prolonging the life of storage reservoirs of river valley projects, (ii) effective functioning of the minor irrigation tanks, (iii) moderating Roods, (iv) avoidance of erosion of land, (v) improving fertility of soil, and (vi) augmenting the supply of timber and fuel. As explained in an earlier chapter, soil conservation measures in the catchment areas of Bhakra-Nangal. Damodar Valley Corporation. Hirakud and some other maior river vallev projects are specially urgent. Out of a total catchment area of about 37 million acres under these river valley projects, nearly 15 million acres need to be treated eventually with soil conservation measures. During the Second Plan. about 140,000 acrci were covered under these measures. An allocation of Rs. 11 crores has been made in the Third Plan for extending this programme to another million acres. Emphasis has also been laid on increasing the tempo of the programme of fringe plantations on river and canal banks as a measure to check bank erosion.
31. Reclamation of alkaline and usar lands. An important cause of deterioration of irrigated lands is the rise in sub-soil water level and the development of saline (usar) and alKaline soils. Out of about 12 million acres of such lands, a third of the area is damaged by water-logging and soil salinity, another third is altectea by salinity and alkalinity with low sub-soil water table, and the balance of the area is threatened by the water table rising to less than ten feet from the surface. Expansion of irrigation increases the risk of damage to soil. Provision for drainage in areas altecled by water-logging is therefore essential. A target of about 200,000 acres has been proposed during the Third Plan for reclaiming waterlogged, saline and alkaline lands, mainly in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Mysore, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi. As a result of experiments conducted at the Banthra Farm near Lucknow and at other centres encouraging results have been obtained, and further studies are being undertaken.
32. Problem of ravine lands.Large areas of lands along rivers such as the Yamuna, the Chambal and the Mahi and their tributaries have been badly eroded and transformed into ravines. The march of ravines is progressing unabated, resulting in loss of productive lands. About 3.5 million acres in Uttar Pradesh and about 800,000 acres each in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat are badly affected by ravine erosion. Work at research centres has emphasised the importance for the reclamation of the ravine lands by the adoption of controlled grazing, afforestation, terracing and other soil conservation measures in the catchment areas. Surveys to determine the severity of the problem in various areas and tlie action to be taken are, however, an essential preliminary. It is proposed to undertake the survey and preparation of topographical maps of ravine areas with a view to the formulation and execution of reclamation projects. A provision of Rs. 50 lakhs has been made for this purpose and for the survey and pilot work in connection with the reclamation of certain desert lands. During the Second Plan, a small beginning was made for the reclamation of ravines, and pilot projects were set up in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Programmes for the Third Plan at present provide for the reclamation of about 40,000 acres of ravine lands.
33. Desert areas.Overfelling of trees, excessive grazing and improper land use have ec-centuated the formation of desert. The desert in India extends from the Rann of Kutch to large streches of arid tracts to the north in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Due to the pressure of population, both human and livestock vegetation is disappearing in the neighbouring areas, creating conditions conducive to further desert formation and destruction of fertile agricultural lands in the States of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and LJttar Pradesh. Since the major occupation of the bulk of the population in these areas is rearing of cattle and breeding of sheep and goats, the wind erosion problem is linked with the problem of the pastoral areas. The Central Arid Zone Research Institute has taken up research in these and other related problems. A pilot project is also proposed to be undertaken for examining the methods and economics of reclaiming desert lands in a portion of the Rann of Kutch. It is proposed to bring about 100,000 acres of desert areas under suitable soil conservation measures including afforestation and pasture development in different States.
34. Hilly areas and other wastelands.From the point of view of soil erosion, hilly areas, denuded forests and wastelands pose a serious problem. Soil erosion taking place in these areas nas adverse effects on agriculture in the hills and in the plains. Overgrazing, shifting cultivation and indiscriminate felling of trees have led to this situation. To control soil erosion and to restore productivity for normal utilisation, afforestation and pasture development will be extended to about 700,000 acres covering hilly areas, denuded forests and wastelands.
35. Survey, research, demonstration and training.The Central Soil Conservation Board has worked out an integrated programme of survey, research, demonstration and training. During the Third Plan it is proposed to survey an area of over 15 million acres, most of which lies in the catchment areas of river valley projects. The regional research-cum-demonstration centres set up by the Board for the study of regional soil erosion problems will be strengthened. These centres have been located at Dehra Dun (Hima-layan region), Chandigarh (Siwalik region), Kotah (ravines in Rajasthan), Vasad (ravine lands of Gujarat), Agra (Yamuna ravines), Bellary (black soil), Ootacamund (hilly areas), Chhatra (water-shed of Kosi) and Jodhpur (desert). Two more centres, in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, for studying the problems of red soil areas are proposed to be set up. The Central Arid Zone Research Institute will undertake research on fundamental and applied problems of the arid zones. To stabilise the drifting sands of the desert, a pasture development scheme is also in progress. Provision has also been made for improvement of shifting cultivation. There will be one main centre in assam, with two sub-centres and a centre each in Manipur, NEFA and Tripuia. Research studies on shifting cultivation will aim at developing suitable techniques of stabilised farming for conservation of soil and water and maintenance of soil productivity. Socio-economic aspects of shifting cultivation in the region will also be studied.
36. Facilities for imparting training to officers exist at Dehra Dun and those for assistants at the four training centres, namely, Ootacamund, Bellary, Kotah and Hazaribagh. The training of sub-assistants is arranged by States. In addition to regular training courses for officers and assistants, the Central Government have also provided facilities at Dehra Dun for conducting special three months' refresher course for gazetted officers and 2 to 4 weeks' short intensive training course for extension and block development officers. The additional requirements of technical personnel during the Third Plan are estimated at about 350 officers, 1700 assistants and 9000 sub-assistants. The existing facilities for training are being expanded accordingly.
37. Administrative organisation.Soil conservation work has assumed great importance, both in river valleys where costly projects have to be executed and in dry areas where contour bunding and other soil conservation measures are proposed to be undertaken on a large scale. Each State requires a strong soil conservation organisation, for initiating, planning and executing soil conservation programmes. Whether it takes the form of a Department or of a Wing in an existing Department, it is essential that a full-time officer at an appropriate level should be responsible for its work and direction. The organisation should include in it personnel with requisite qualifications and training in the fields of agriculture, engineering and forestry. There is also need at the State headquarters of a coordination committee which includes the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Irrigation, Forests and Soil Conservation as its members. Such a committee can assist in obtaining policy decisions expeditiously and in providing expert guidance and coordination in activities relating to soil conservation.
38. People's participation.In the execution of soil conservation programmes, such as contour bunding and dry farming, the aim should be to secure on as large a scale as possible the participation of the people by encouraging owners and users of land in taking up these measures on a voluntary basis. Erosion consciousness should be aroused among cultivators so that they are willing to take up soil conservation work on their own initiative. For this, intensive educational programmes will have to be undertaken with the help of village institutions and other voluntary organisations to develop proper know-how among the farmers. As experience in several areas, notably in Maharashtra shows, mobilisation of local leadership for securing adequate and timely public participation will go a long way in speeding up soil and water conservation programmes. Panchayati Raj institutions should be able to play an increasing role in putting across the programme to the people on a mass scale.
39. Legislation.For effective execution of contour bunding, soil conservation and other land improvement measures, the introduction of suitable legislation, empowering State Governments to frame soil conservation schemes for the basin of a river or a stream or for groups of villages has been recommended. The cost of works to be undertaken on Government lands will be borne by the Slate. Works to be undertaken in individual holdings should be executed by the beneficiaries themselves under suitable technical supervision. If a work is not undertaken by the beneficiaries concerned, it may be carried out by the Government or on its behalf by the Panchayat Samiti or the Panchayat, and the cost recovered from them. Legislation broadly on these lines has been enacted in nine Slates, and five more States propose to undertake similar legislation in the near future.
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