Great forest debate
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
(FROM THE WEB)
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.
(FROM THE WEB)