It has been described as forestry of the people by the people and for the people. The main thrust of social forestry is to reduce pressure on the traditional forest areas by developing plantation of fuel wood, fodder and grasses. The practice of social forestry has become very popular during the last three decades. The social forestry system has various components such as – Agroforestry, community forestry, commercial form forestry, non commercial farm forestry, noncommercial farm forestry.
Agro forestry involves the raising of trees and agricultural crops either on the same land or in close association in such. The community forestry involves the raising of trees on public or community lands aimed at providing benefits to the community as a whole. Commercial farm forestry involves growing of trees in the fields in place of food and other agricultural crops.
Noncommercial farm forestry involves goring of trees ion the fields in place of food and other agricultural crops. Non commercial farm forestry involves tree planting by farmers on their own land for their own use and not for sale. The land mainly used for this purpose includes margins of agricultural fields, wastelands and marginal lands which are not usually cultivated.
This type of practice is done in Gujarat, Haryana, and Kerala, Karnataka etc. for obtaining fuel, fodder and fruit. But urban forestry pertains to raising and management of trees on public and privately owned lands in and around urban centers which includes green-belts, roadside avenues, recreational parks, wildlife parks etc. Its main objectives reduction of environmental pollution, recreation and improving aesthetic values.
As the social forestry is the special scheme of the government where plants and seedlings are provided by the forest department but the protection of plantations is the primarily the responsibility of the government. Remarkable success has been achieved in community forestry in some states like Gujarat, T.N., Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, and H.P. etc. However, the commercial forestry has become very popular in Haryana, Punjab, and Gujarat etc.
Thus, finally it can be said that the social forestry is the management ands protections of the forests as well as afforestation of barren lands. It is also aimed at helping in environmental, social and rural development as against the traditional objective of securing revenue.
Overall, the social forestry programme was started in 1976. It seeks the use of public and common land to produce firewood, fodder and small timber for the use of the rural community to relieve pressure on existing forests.