Timber and fuel-wood are the two common commodities for which forests are usually ravaged and depleted. A better alternative for meeting the timber and fuel wood demand could be fast growing species of woody plants which can be grown on degraded land and wood used to produce ply-wood and straw boards which can be substituted for commercial timber.
Plants like Gmelina arborea, Albizzia falcataria, Leucaenia species, Eucalyptus species, Pinus carribes etc. grow at a rate 4-5 times faster than typical timber species most of which take 60-85 years to mature. This will reduce the demand on slow growing timber species which occur in natural habitats.
It has been estimated that in the Asian region all the needs for industrial wood by 2000 A.D. can be met by growing fast growing trees over 25 million hectares which is less that 10% of the remaining forest area (John Spears 1989).
Thus, support for agroforestry programme outside forests could provide the people of village communities with fire wood for structural works and forest products – thereby reducing the! pressure of demand on natural forests.