Forests are the resource base of India. Grazing activity in the forests provides occupation to millions of people. Firewood and charcoal is a cheap source of fuel in rural areas.
Timber is the major produce and is used for furniture making, doors, windows and even houses. Railways use sleepers for new construction and for maintenance of existing railway lines.
Railways use a lot of timber for coaches. Industries use resin, lac, wood pulp for paper making, artificial cloth, match box, plywood etc. The sports goods industry draws its raw material from trees.
India ‘s Wood Resources.
India has 2,388 million cubic metres of wood. Out of this potential wood, only 5% is coniferous and the rest 95% is non-coniferous.
The average total wood production is 16 million cubic metres. Our per capita consumption is one-fourth that of the U.S.A. We cannot meet even half of our wood demand as the forests are being fast depleted.
India’s teak is in great demand in European countries due to its timber and furniture making qualities. Rosewood is a heavy wood but is also in demand in Europe because of its close grained texture. We export sandalwood (for its fragrance), teak and rosewood worth about Rs. 60 million.
1. Reserved Forests.
These are very significant for preserving environment and checking erosion of soil. Cutting of trees and grazing is strictly prohibited in such forest areas.
2. Protected Forests.
In such forests grazing and wood cutting is permitted.
3. Unclassified Forests.
Not much government protection is provided. Grazing and tree cutting is allowed.
Forests contribute nearly 1-7% to die national income whereas agriculture’s contribution is nearly 30%.
Forest Survey of India was reorganized and set up at Dehradun. It aims at:
(i) Mapping of forest area.
(ii)Collection of forest statistics, assessing and monitoring forest wealth.
(iii) Training to forest guards, rangers, forest officers etc.
(iv) Research in forestry.
A mass movement undertaken in Uttaranchal with the sole object of protecting forest vegetation.
The movement has attained prominence within the last 2 decades. It is being run under the leadership of Sh S. L. Bahugana.