- Andhra Pradesh State is bestowed with two mighty river systems of Krishna and Godavari. The State has wide and varied vegetation types enriched by a variety of flora and fauna. Andhra Pradesh located strategically in the central region of the Indian sub-continent, has representatives of the magnificent Indian plant and animal life. Its varied topography ranging from the hills of Eastern Ghats and Nallamallas to the shores of Bay of Bengal supports varied ecotypes, which in turn support a rich diversity of flora & fauna.
- Packed with abundance of rich flora and fauna life, the forests in Andhra Pradesh make for highly rejuvenating getaways. Tourists often head to the forests near Andhra Pradesh to experience jungle safaris. The famed wildlife in Andhra Pradesh is mainly scattered across these forests. While the benefits from dense forests are numerous, the tangible benefits like Timber, Bamboo, Fuel wood, Fodder, Non-Timber Forest Products etc., are quantifiable. Intangible benefits like maintenance of ecological balance, conservation of soil and moisture, regulating the water flow, sequestering carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere etc., are not quantified but are of great signifiance.
- Forest cover has been recognized as critical for a living environment as it influences the quality and quantity of air and water. The role of forests as carbon sinks endows them added recognition as an important environmental factor. With the responsibility of management of forests vested with the State Forest administration, the Central interventions are directed essentially towards reinforcing the capacity of States to undertake the National Policy mandates towards conservation and sustainable use of resources. The core objective of forest sector development strategy is to enhance green cover by integrating it with livelihood opportunities.
- As per the forest records, the state ranks 9th in India having forest cover area of 36909.38 Sq. Kms which amounts to 23.04%. Of this forest area, the Very Dense Forest is 649.79 Sq. Kms the Moderate Dense Forest is 11792.18 Sq. Kms, Open Forest is 10931.01 Sq. Kms Scrub Forest is 9455.24. Kms Non-Forest is 3708.08 Sq. Kms and Water Bodies is 373.08 Sq. Kms.
- The Departmental Extraction of Timber, Fuel and Pulp Wood, Faggot Wood, Long Bamboo and Bamboo Industrial Cuts (BIC) from natural forests as well as plantations was introduced from the year 1976-77, after disbanding the previously existing contractor system.
- At present there is a moratorium on extraction of timber from natural forests except for bamboo from overlapping bamboo forests. The major activity comprises harvesting timber and poles from matured plantations of Teak, Eucalyptus, Casuarinas etc. and long bamboos and BIC from bamboo coupes as per prescriptions of the working plan of respective divisions. The physical targets and achievements of Departmental Extraction of Forest Produce of Timber, Fuel, Poles and Bamboos
- Forest products in the state include Red sander, Timber, Bamboo, Firewood & Charcoal etc. The income accrued from forestry sector in the State was Rs.18.92 crore in 2017- 18 (upto Nov, 2017).
Social Forestry :
- The State Government has launched a massive people’s movement involving public and farmers in a big way to increase tree cover outside reserve forests to improve environment and to provide gainful employment to thousands of unemployed youth. Public distribution of seedlings, raising community land plantations/ avenue/ shelterbelt plantations; and raising of institutional plantations have been done under Social Forestry programme.
- The Government has launched “Vanam-Manam” on 01.07.2017 witVana-mahostavam in Kondaveedu Forest Block at Obulanaidu Palem village of Guntur District. The tentative target of planting for 2017-18 under VanamManam is 25 crore by all stakeholders.
- The Vanam-Manam programme has two components viz. “Vanamahotsava”, a tree plantation programme and “Prakruthi Pilusthondi”, a programme for creating awareness and ensuring participation of various stakeholders. The Vanam–Manam Campaign has started on the 1st Saturday of July, 2017 and it is continued for 127 days. Every Saturday afternoon and 4th Saturday of each month were earmarked to reinforce environmental conservation efforts and to increase awareness on forest protection. The campaign ended with “Karthika Vana Samaaradhana” on 04-11-2017 at Nagaravanam Perecherla, Guntur.
- The department has raised 4850 ha of block plantation and 479 km of Avenue plantation as against the target of 4,739 ha. of block plantation and 650 km of Avenue plantation respectively for the year 2017-18. 158.99 lakh saplings have been utilised for planting in the forest areas and 418.49 lakh saplings have been utilised for distribution. Presently 54.11 lakh tall seedlings and 36.37 lakh fruit bearing species like Jama, Usiri, Neredu etc., are available in the year 2017-18 (upto December, 2017).
Forest Protection Schemes Intensification of Forest Management Scheme:
- The objectives of forest protection scheme include prevention and control of fi re, survey and maintenance of boundaries, preparation of working plans, development of infrastructure and protection of forests and wildlife. Under this scheme 1.74 lakh claims with an extent of 10.26 lakh acres are received. Of which 1.63 lakh claims with an extent of 9.81 lakh acres are surveyed. Remaining are under progress.
The APFDC has been raising Eucalyptus Clonal plantations and with 31963 Ha. it is the single largest grower among PSUs in India. There are proposals to raise another 1000-2000 Ha. in the next 3 to 4 years. Due to improved site preparation, use of quality planting material and management practices, optimum yields are obtained from the plantations.
Bamboo plantations are raised over an area of 2416 ha. The Corporation is intending to expand the Bamboo plantations over an area of 100 Ha in the next 3 to 4 years to ensure more supply of raw material per annum to the Paper Industries besides raw material to the artisans.
The Corporation is maintaining about 4,010 ha. of existing coffee plantations in the agency areas of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari Districts with intensive cultivation practices, by following scientifi c methods. These plantations are generating about 5.00 lakh mandays of employment to the tribals all-round the year
APFDC has 1.80 lakh Pepper standards in its Coffee Estates in the agency areas of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari Districts comprising of high yielding varieties like Panniyur-I, Purnima, Sreekara, Subhakara, Panchami, Panniyur-5. It is proposed to plant another 1.15 lakh standards with pepper in the next 5 years.
Cashew Plantations: The Corporation has got cashew plantations over an area of 5795 ha. along the coastal belt in Prakasam and Nellore districts and in the inlands of West Godavari and Chittoor districts. Presently, the older plantations are being replanted with high yielding Cashew varieties using scion banks.
The National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India, first used the term ‘social forestry’ in 1976. It was then that India embarked upon a social forestry project with the aim of taking the pressure off the forests and making use of all unused and fallow land. Government forest areas that are close to human settlement and have been degraded over the years due to human activities needed to be afforested. Trees were to be planted in and around agricultural fields. Plantation of trees along railway lines and roadsides, and river and canal banks were carried out. They were planted in village common land, Government wasteland and Panchayat land.
Social forestry also aims at raising plantations by the common man so as to meet the growing demand for timber, fuel wood, fodder, etc, thereby reducing the pressure on the traditional forest area. This concept of village forests to meet the needs of the rural people is not new. It has existed through the centuries all over the country but it was now given a new character.
With the introduction of this scheme the government formally recognised the local communities’ rights to forest resources, and is now encouraging rural participation in the management of natural resources. Through the social forestry scheme, the government has involved community participation, as part of a drive towards afforestation, and rehabilitating the degraded forest and common lands.
This need for a social forestry scheme was felt as India has a dominant rural population that still depends largely on fuelwood and other biomass for their cooking and heating. This demand for fuel wood will not come down but the area under forest will reduce further due to the growing population and increasing human activities. Yet The government managed the projects for five years then gave them over to the village panchayats (village council) to manage for themselves and generate products or revenue as they saw fit.
Social forestry scheme can be categorized into groups : farm forestry, community forestry, extension forestry and agro-forestry.
It is a term applied to the process under which farmers grows trees for commercial and non-commercial purposes on their farm lands. At present in almost all the countries where social forestry programmes have been taken up, both commercial and non-commercial farm forestry is being promoted in one form or the other. Individual farmers are being encouraged to plant trees on their own farmland to meet the domestic needs of the family. In many areas, this tradition of growing trees on the farmland already exists. Non-commercial farm forestry is the main thrust of most of the social forestry projects in the country today. It is not always necessary that the farmer grows trees for fuelwood, but very often they are interested in growing trees without any economic motive. They may want it to provide shade for the agricultural crops; as wind shelters; soil conservation or to use wasteland. Farm Forestry is another name for Agroforestry; a part of Social Forestry.
Due to huge requirement of pulpwood for production virgin cellulosic fibre based paper, the pulp and paper industry has become a major demand driver for certain species of tree such as Eucalyptus, Babul Acacia catechu, Subabul(Leucaena leucocephala) and was the connected Casuarina equisetifolia. As a rough estimate, the total demand for pulpwood is approximately 10 million ADMT (i.e. wood having 10% moisture). Indian Paper Manufacturer’s Association is an umbrella organisation of Indian Pulp and Paper Industry which coordinates and drives plantation efforts by member organisations in India. It is very important to us but on the evil side, it is causing damage to the forest. A full grown up pulp tree takes at least 40 years and gets cut down in 4 mins.
Community forestry is a village-level forestry activity, decided on collectively and implemented on communal land, where local populations participate in the planning, establishing, managing and harvesting of forest crops, and so receive a major proportion of the socio-economic and ecological benefits from the forest.
Community forestry is a process of increasing the involvement of and reward for local people, of seeking balance between outside and community interests and of increasing local responsibility for the management of the forest resource. Also, like sustainable development, community forestry should be a learning experience for all involved parties.
Planting of trees on the sides of roads, canals and railways, along with planting on wastelands is known as ‘extension’ forestry. Extension forestry helps in increasing the boundaries of forests. Under this project, there has been creation of forests on the village common lands, government wastelands and panchayat lands. Schemes for afforesting degraded government forests that are close to villages are being carried out all over the country.
This is the combination of agriculture and tree growing in order to produce both agricultural products and tree products on a commercial basis. The purpose of this scheme is to gain positive interactions between the two systems at both the paddock level and the enterprise level. The two systems may be fully physically integrated, or treated as separate entities within a single business enterprise. It is therefore ideally suited to the landholder seeking to enter farm forestry on a small scale, whilst maintaining an existing agricultural enterprise.
Objectives of Social Forestry
Increasing Forest Area and Restoring Ecological Balance
Moisture conservation: trees take water from the lower soil strata and bring it to the upper layers through long tap root system and, also, trees check evaporation of water; Soil conservation: trees help in checking erosion by wind and water;
Natural habitat conservation:Trees provide habitat to many birds and animals, some of which are agro-friendly.
Meeting Basic Rural Needs
Social forestry satisfies the basic rural needs referred to as ‘five Fs’—food, fuel, fodder, fertiliser (green manure) and fibre. The large-scale depletion of easily accessible forests has resulted in acute scarcity of fuel-wood and fodder. What is disturbing is that the deficit in fuel wood is met by using cow-dung cakes, thus wasting a rich and cheap source of manure.
Ensuring Better Land Use
Social forestry helps achieve a balanced and viable land use by checking soil erosion, facilitating reclamation of marginal lands, checking waterlogging and by bringing about monolithic integration of forestry, agriculture and animal husbandry.
Generation of Employment
Social forestry operations have the potential of improving the employment situation in rural areas especially during the lean agricultural season. This helps in stabilising incomes of weaker sections of Society.
Trees are known to absorb harmful gases and release oxygen. This way they help reduce air pollution especially in urban areas.
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