Forest Resources

Forest Resources

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, students will be able to

• Explain Forest Resources

• Discuss the use and over-exploitation Forest Resources

• Describe Deforestation

• Explain the effect of Timber extraction, mining, dams on forests and tribal people


• Introduction to Forest Resources

• Use and over-exploitation Forest Resources

• Deforestation

• Timber extraction, mining, dams and their effects on forests and tribal people

Forest Resources

Use and overexploitation

• Scientists estimate that India had 33% of its land under forests (today we have only about 12%)

• Not only to protect existing forests but also to increase our forest cover

• People who live in or near forests know the value of forest resources

• Water we use depends on the existence of forests on the watersheds around river valleys

• Our homes, furniture and paper are made from wood from the forest

• We use many medicines that are based on forest produce

• We depend on the O2 that plants give out and removal of CO2 breathe

• Forests once extended over large tracts of our country

• As agriculture spread the forests were left in patches which were controlled mostly by tribal people

• They hunted animals and gathered plants and lived entirely on forest resources

• Deforestation  became  a  major  concern  in  British  times  when  a  large amount of timber was extracted for building their ships

• Alienated local people by creating Reserved and Protected Forests, which curtailed access to the resources

• Another period of over utilisation and forest degradation occurred in the early period following independence as people felt that now that the British had gone they had a right to using our forests in any way we pleased

• Timber extraction continued to remain the Forest Department’s main concern up to the 1970s

• Forest degradation and deforestation was creating a serious loss of the important functions of the forest began to override its utilisation as a source of revenue from timber


• Where civilizations have looked after forests by using forest resources cautiously, they have prospered, where forests were destroyed, the people were gradually impoverished

• Today  logging  and  mining  are  serious  causes  of  loss  of  forests  in  our country and all over the world

• Dams built for hydroelectric power or irrigation have submerged forests and have displaced tribal people whose lives are closely knit to the forest

• One of India’s serious environmental problems is forest degradation due to timber extraction and our dependence on fuel wood

• A large number of poor rural people are still highly dependent on wood to cook their meals and heat their homes

• We have not been able to plant enough trees to support the need for timber and fuel wood

• National Forest Policy of 1988 was started

• Another resolution in 1990 provided a formal structure for community participation though the formation of Village Forest Committees

• Based on these experiences, new guidelines were issued in 2000

• This stipulates that at least 25% income from the area must go to the

• From the initiation of the program, until 2002, there were 63,618 JFM Committees managing over 140,953 sq. km of forest under JFM in 27 States in India

• Timber extraction, mining and dams are invariably parts of the needs of a developing country

• If timber is overharvested the ecological functions of the forest are lost

• Unfortunately forests are located in areas where there are rich mineral resources

  Forests  also  cover  the  steep  embankments  of  river  valleys,  which  are

• Thus there is a constant conflict of interests between the conservation interests of environmental scientists and the Mining and Irrigation Departments

• What needs to be understood is that long-term ecological gains cannot be sacrificed for short-term economic gains that unfortunately lead to deforestation

• These forests where development projects are planned can displace thousands of tribal people who lose their homes when these plans are executed

• This leads to high levels of suffering for which there is rarely a satisfactory


Watershed protection:

• Reduce the rate of surface run-off of water

• Prevent flash floods and soil erosion

• Produces prolonged gradual run-off and thus prevent effects of drought

Atmospheric regulation:

• Absorption of solar heat during evapo-transpiration

• Maintaining carbon dioxide levels for plant growth

Erosion control:

• Holding soil (by preventing rain from directly washing soil away)

Land bank:

• Maintenance of soil nutrients and structure

Local use

• Consumption of forest produce by local people who collect it for subsistence – (Consumptive use)

• Food - gathering plants, fishing, hunting from the forest

• Fodder - for cattle       

• Fuel wood and charcoal for cooking, heating

• Poles - building homes especially in rural and wilderness areas

• Timber – household articles and construction

• Fiber - weaving of baskets, ropes, nets, string, etc

• Sericulture – for silk

• Apiculture - bees for honey, forest bees also pollinate crops

•Medicinal plants - traditionally used medicines, investigating them as potential source for new modern drugs

Market use - (Productive use)

• Most of the above products used for consumptive purposes are also sold as a source of income for supporting the livelihoods of forest dwelling people

• Minor forest produce (non-wood products): Fuel wood, fruit fiber, etc

• Major timber extraction for construction, industrial uses, paper pulp, etc.

• Timber extraction is done in India by the Forest Department, but illegal logging continues in many of the forests of India and the world


• Scientists estimate that India had 33% of its land under forests (today we have only about 12%)

• Deforestation became a major concern in British times when a large amount of timber was extracted for building their ships

• Today logging and mining are serious causes of loss of forests in our country and all over the world

• National Forest Policy of 1988 was started

• Timber extraction, mining and dams are invariably parts of the needs of a developing country

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