Essay on Participation of Local People in the Management of Forests

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People’s participation in the management of forests can help in increasing forest produce as well as in their conservation. An example of how local people’s participation in the management of forests led to the revival of degraded forests is like this: In 1972, the West Bengal Forest Department formulated a novel scheme to revive the degraded sal forests by involving the local people.

A beginning was made in the Arabari forest range of Midnapore district. A far-sighted forest officer A.K. Banerjee involved the villagers If the area around the forest in the protection of 1272 hectares of badly degraded sal forest. In return for help in protecting the forest, the villagers were given employment in both silviculture and harvesting operations of the forest, 25 per cent of the final harvest produce, and were allowed to collect firewood and fodder from the forest area on a nominal payment.

With the active and willing participation of local people living around the forest, the degraded sal forest of Arabari became thick and green within ten pars. This is how participation of local people can lead to efficient management of forests.

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