Forest management has been defined as the practical application of the scientific, technical and economic principles of forestry.
Forest management or forest maintenance is essential to achieve the two objectives.
1. For climatic or protective purposes which are sometimes referred to as indirect objectives.
2. For productive purposes or economic objectives which are sometimes referred to as direct objectives.
The forest protection is essential due to the following physical reasons:
1. Protection of mountain slopes and catchment areas,
2. Protection against wind,
3. Protection against erosion and ravine formation,
4. Protection of aesthetic value or recreation,
5. Protection of pasture, and
6. Protection of wildlife.
7. Protection of soil
For all these, the forest management must be such as to conserve moisture, preserve climatic factors, and prevent soil erosion. The forests have significant role in the improvement of economic condition of the country. Therefore, scientific management, conservation and utilization of forests wealth need special attention of the scientists.
At the first step, the existing forests should be protected and the forest area should be expanded. The National Commission for agriculture has taken up the problem of deforestation seriously and recommended plantation through social forestry and other programmes. Thus plantation is the best method of conservation of forest. The forest plays vital role in the amelioration of environment and improves the quality of life. Therefore, considerable attention must be paid for its proper management.
There is an urgent need to restore the ecological loss through afforestation in all areas including arid and semi- arid zones. This is essential for conservation of biological diversity, increasing catchment for water conservation, reducing the sediment load of rivers thus preventing flood. National Forest Policy of 1952 recommended that at least 33 per cent of the land area should be covered by forest. The forest area of different states of India are presented in Table 16.3.
The forest cover of India specially of Uttar Pradesh is much less than recommended by the National Forest Policy (1952). In view of this fact, vigorous afforestation and social forestry programmes have been launched by Govt. of India to bring one third of the total land area under forest cover. One of the important aspects of these programmes is the selection of suitable land for afforestation.
The best location for afforestation programme in the first instance would be degraded and waste lands which are not suitable for agriculture. This would increase the productivity of the wastelands and lead to qualitative improvement of such degraded lands. Under afforestation programme indigenous and exotic fast growing tree species are being planted on selected land. Social forestry programme will also fulfill the demands of local people.
Every year plenty of seedlings are distributed for plantation. Besides this, many plans and programmes for conserving forests are being implemented by the government and voluntary organizations. Government of India has recently brought legislation to preserve forests, wildlife and biosphere reserves. Current National Forest Policy has recommended the following categories of forest to reduce environmental degradation caused by deforestation which are presented in Table 16.4.
The various aspects of forest management are as follows:
1. Conservation or Protection forestry or Reserve forestry
2. Production or commercial forestry
3. Social forestry including afforestation of waste land
Conservation or Protection or Reserve Forestry:
Reserve forests are the most important subject for conservation and scientific management. Conservation forests are also called reserve forests. The major aims of conservation forestry are protection or conservation of existing forests and restoration of the degraded forests in ecologically sensitive areas as Himalayan region, western and eastern Ghats, catchment areas. National parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves etc. These areas are restricted from commercial exploitation.
When the afforestation is undertaken and managed intensively for much higher productivity on limited area of forest land it is called commercial forestry. The main aim of commercial forestry is to provide and fulfill the requirements of the people and industries.
Social forestry means afforestation or developing of forests with the participation and cooperation of public to meet the requirements for domestic consumption and cottage industries. The main objects of social forestry are to provide adequate fuel wood for cooking, green fodder for domestic animals, edible fruits for improved nutrition and timber for house construction.
Forest management programme includes the following activities:
2. Forest protection from encroachment and shifting cultivation.
3. Control of forest fires.
4. Restriction on over-grazing by domestic animals.
5. Extension of forest areas.
6 Control of excessive cutting.
7. Cultivation of useful trees on wastelands in rural and urban areas.
8. Plantation of fast growing trees.
9. Control of harmful agents.
10. Improvement of timber quality through cultivation of improved varieties.
11. Converting wasteful cutting into quality yield harvesting.
12. Legislation to check deforestation.
13. Controlling of forest diseases.
The forest diseases can be controlled up to some extent by:
(i) Eradication of diseased host plants.
(ii) Spraying of suitable antibiotics, fungicides, nematodes.
(iii) Spraying of effective insecticides.
(v) Planting of resistant varieties.
14. Undertaking afforestation with particular emphasis on fuel and fodder plants.
15. More attention for forestry research, personnel management and data base in the field of forestry.
The Present Programmes for the Development of Forestry and Wildlife:
The Ministry of Environment and Forest is implementing the following Projects:
1. Biosphere Reserves.
2. Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries.
3. Project tiger.
4. Project elephant.
5. Modem forest fire control methods.
6. Eco-development around National Parks.
7. National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB).
8. Integrated action oriented research demonstration and projects for Himalayan regions.
9. Association and involvement of Scheduled Tribes and Rural poor’s in the programmes of region of degraded forests.
State Governments have also many schemes to implement which are:
1. Afforestation and regeneration of degraded forests.
2. Greening of rural and urban areas.
3. Development and conservation of minor forest produce.
4. Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries.
5. Regeneration of Sal and Oak forests.
Afforestation in Denuded Hill Slopes:
Denuded hill slopes are found throughout the country. In most of the humid regions vegetational cover establishes naturally, but in drier parts of the country, the afforestation importance not only for productive reasons but also for conservation of soil and water. The incidences of grazing is one of the important causes of denudation and the protection of plants raised under afforestation is a tidies problem.
Soil preparation for afforestation work is done in the form of contour trenches, patches and pits. The selection of species for plantation is made taking into consideration the various factor prevailing in the region. The surviving indigenous or local species give a clear indication of the species which may be most suited for the area under afforestation. Thus fast growing species can survive under the adverse condition of the locality.
Examples of few plant species suitable for denuded hill slopes are given below:
Chir or pine trees ___________ in moist subtropical area
Acacia modesta ____________ Dry subtropical area
A. Catechu, Olia ”
Dodonea, Prosopis juliflora ”
Pinus wallichiana and Deodar_____________ Temperate zone
Afforestation in Ravine Lands:
The ravines of Yamuna and Chambal have not only rendered vast areas of land barren but are causing serious danger to the cultivated lands. Continuous development of ravines results in the formation of hillocks and ridges in between two adjoin ravines. These hillocks and ridges have practically no contact with the permanent water table and their own moisture retaining capacity is low, their soil becomes extremely dry during summer. Uncontrolled cutting of trees, grazing and fire which are said to be generally responsible for the formation of the ravines continue to pose a serious threat to afforestation.
The following species have been successfully raised in ravine areas:
In sandy soils:
Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo, Albizzia spp, Azardirachta indica, Pongamia pinnata, Prosopis juliflora, etc.
In clayey soils:
Acacia leucophloea. Acacia arabica, Albizzia, Syzygium, Terminalia arjuna, Holoptaha, Haplophragma, Pongamia, Prosopis spicigera, etc.
Afforestation in Shifting Sands:
Shifting sands are found along sea coasts as well as in the interior. The inland sands are found along rivers and deserts.
All along sea coast large quantities of sand get accumulated as a result of tides. Such sand deposits are found in the estuaries of big rivers. Coastal sand keeps on shifting under the pressure of strong wind. It is not capable of retaining moisture, water table is found a few meters below the surface. The winds are strong and carry salt particles with them. For most of the sea coasts Casuarma equisetifolia has been found to be the best species. It is quick growing and hardy. Other species which have been successfully raised are Eucalyptus, Pongamia pinnata, Casuarina, etc.
Inland river sand:
The inland sand generally occurs along the rivers and deserts. The soil is sandy, unstable and deficient in nutrients, water table is not deep and so irrigation is possible. Soil preparation is made by digging trenches and pits. The plant species which have been successfully grown in inland sands are Dalbergia sissoo. Acacia catechu. Acacia arabica Albizzia procera and Pongamia pinnata.
In desert areas climate is characterised by extreme temperature, dry condition and scanty rainfall. Soil varies from place to place. In order to reduce the velocity of wind and prevent sand movement, mulching is done in April and May. For this purpose. Crotolana bruhia Aerua tomentosa, Leptadenia pyrotechnica plants are used.
Before the onset of rains seeds of the following species are sown along the windward side of the mulch lines:
Tree species – Prosopis spicigera, Prosopis juliflora. Acacia arabica. Acacia Senegal, etc.
Shrubs – Calligonum polygonoides, Ziziphus spp, Cassia auriculata etc.
Grasses – Panicum antidotate, Lasiurnum spp.
Importance Tree Species Suitable for Planting in different soils group are summarized in Table 16.5.