Great for­est de­bate

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

I fully agree with the point ex­pressed in the ed­i­to­rial “How to plant trees for de­vel­op­ment” (16-31 May, 2015) that par­tic­i­pa­tion of the lo­cal com­mu­nity in for­est man­age­ment should help in re­gen­er­a­tion of forests over vast ar­eas. Per­haps, com­mu­nity own­er­ship of the land should be a pre-req­ui­site for this type of pro­ject. It is an eco­log­i­cal ser­vice and ad­e­quate com­pen­sa­tion should be pro­vided. Along with it, re­gen­er­a­tion of grass­lands in bar­ren ar­eas by wa­ter har­vest­ing should also be taken up. SWA­PAN KU­MAR MUKHOPAD­HYAY


We have in­deed suc­ceeded in fully dis­con­nect­ing the idea of for­est con­ser­va­tion with that of de­vel­op­ment. It is crit­i­cal to un­der­stand why the for­est de­part­ments are un­able to form “part­ner­ships” with peo­ple. The ‘face’ of the for­est de­part­ments that ac­tu­ally in­ter­acts with peo­ple on a reg­u­lar ba­sis is the for­est guard. It also hap­pens that the for­est guard, who is at the bot­tom of the for­est hi­er­ar­chy, be­longs to the most ne­glected, mis­man­aged and ill-trained cadre in the depart­ment. Re­cruit­ment of for­est guards in all states is done spo­rad­i­cally, mak­ing it even more dif­fi­cult to put guards through the lit­tle train­ing that they get in a proper man­ner. These guards do not have the train­ing and the skills to deal with vil­lagers and for­est dwellers. What com­pounds for­est man­age­ment fur­ther is that there is no feed­back sys­tem to tell de­ci­sion-mak­ers what peo­ple think.



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