Ever since the launching of Five Year Plans regular provisions have been made for forestry development and forest based programmes. In first five year plan a sum of Rs. 9.5 crore was spent on forestry programmers in which emphasis was laid on afforestation, forest transport and communication, forest administration and small scale plantation by state governments. Similarly the central government gave priority to forest research, forestry education and wild life conservation.
In Second Five Year Plan 193 million rupees was allocated for forestry development programmes. Here main focus was towards afforestation, development of plant species of commercial and industrial importance, increase production of timber and important minor forest products, wild life conservation, improvement in the living conditions of forest personnel, forestry research, extension of new technological facilities and widening the scope of cooperation with the Central Government. Due to these efforts value of major forest products increased from 190 million rupees to 590 million rupees and minor forest products from 69.3 million rupees to 111.3 million rupees during 1951-61.
The area of reserved forests also increased from 27.3 million sq. km. to 36.5 million sq. km and the number of forest personnel grew from 4 to 50 lakhs.
In Third Five Year Plan a provision of Rs. 510 million was made for forestry development which laid to the planting of quick growing varieties of trees on 64,000 ha. And trees of economic importance on 240,000 ha. Of area. About 2 lakh hectares of forest land was replanted and 11,000 km long new roads were constructed besides the repairing of 4,000 km long old roads.
During Fourth Five Year Plan quick growing varieties of trees were planted on 4 lakh ha. Of land to meet industrial demand (paper, plywood and match industries) besides the a forestation on 3.4 lakh ha. Of area for economically important trees (teak, semen and shisham) and 75 lakh ha. For fuel wood. During this period about 2 lakh ha. Of old forest land was reforested. For the proper development of forests about 16,000 km. long new roads were constructed and 2,000 km long old roads were repaired. About 2 lakh ha. Of forest land was also developed for providing fodder to the cattle.
During Fifth five Year Plan provision was made for planting quick growing varieties of trees on 8.6 lakh ha. Of area along the roads, rivers, canals and rail lines and trees of economic and industrial use on 16 lakh ha of area. The plan also proposed the construction of about 60,000 km long roads for the maintenance and development of forest areas.
During Sixth Five Year Plan an outlay of 692.64 crore rupees was made for forestry development with main objectives for the conservation of existing forests and the launching of country-wide afforestation and social forestry programmes to fulfill three sets of needs: (a) ecological security, (b) fuel, fodder and other domestic needs of the population; and (c) the needs of village, small scale and large scale industries.
The programmes included forest conservation, social forestry, fuel wood, forest labour, forest survey, forest research and people’s participation in forest development. The new thrusts included ‘tree for every child programme’, eco-development force, eco-development camps and agro-forestry programmes. During this period affoestation was made over 21.5 lakh ha. Of area. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 restricted the transfer of forest land to other uses.
During Seventh Five Year Plan (1985-90) a sum of Rs. 1859.10 crore was allocated for forestry development. It fixed up target for planting trees on 50 lakh ha. of area with main programmes like (i) conservation of important flora and fauna for ecosystem, (ii) increasing forest area through afforestation programmes like social forestry, agro forestry etc, (iii) fulfilling the needs of fuel wood, fodder, timber and minor forest products, (iv) maintaining balance between forestry programmes and welfare of tribal’s dependent on forests, (v) laying emphasis on forestry research, forestry education, and forestry training, and (vi) seeking people’s participation for forestry development under JFM (Joint Forest Management) Scheme.
During the Eighth Five Year Plan an outlay of Rs. 525 crore has been provided for forestry development under Central Sector. The programmes include: (i) rehabilitation of degraded forests, (ii) soil and moisture conservation, (iii) farm forestry, (iv) roadside and canal bank plantation, (v) creation of wind-breaks, and (vi) wood lots on community land and pasture development. Under these programmes besides social forestry scheme, rural fuel wood plantation has been introduced in 101 districts of the country which are chronically deficient in fuel wood and fodder resources.