Forestry in India has always been a matter of major environmental issue. A department of Indian government to look after the forestry in India which plans, promote, co-ordinate the environmental and forestry programs and policies, is the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
MoEF is the central government organization and a nodal agency to look after the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. Primary concern of this department is the implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of India’s natural resources including its forests, its biodiversity, wildlife and lakes and rivers and also the prevention of pollution. This department of Indian ministry, while implementing these policies and programmes, look after the sustainable development and enhancement of human well-being.
The broad objective of the department of forestry is:
- Conservation and survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife
- Prevention and the control over increasing pollution
- Afforestation and regeneration of degraded areas
- Protection of environment
- Ensuring the welfare of animals
In order to fulfil these objectives some of the set of legislative and regulatory measures have been taken, with an aim of preservation, conservation and protection of environment. Besides these measures, there are certain policies which guide the work of forest ministry. Some of them are: National Conservation Strategy and Policy statement on Environment and Development which comes into picture in 1992, National Forest Policy of 1988, Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution of 1992 and the National Environment Policy in 2006
Ministry of forests have various divisions which looks after various sensitive issues like department for control of pollution will look after the controlling of pollution, forest conservation and forest policy look after the forests and many more.
Similarly every state of India has its separate forests departments. These forests Departments are responsible for the management of forests and wildlife in the states. They work on the policies like Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. The various activities undertaken by these departments include Forest Protection, Forest Development Works, Wildlife Management, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works, Forest Planning, Harvesting, Ecotourism activities, Research, Extension and Training.
India is one of the First countries in the world to have stated scientific management of its forests. But from last decades forest covers of India are declining at a very fast rate. India’s forests are not only facing threat from over mining also being ravaged due to illegal human encroachment. According to the new survey about 1.25 million hectare of forest land has been illegally occupied by humans. This is not only resulting in the decline of the forest cover but also harming the wild life. Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Chhattisgarh are the worst culprits in this regard.
Forest areas in Karnataka (96,014 hectares), Kerala (44,420 hectares), Gujarat (34,791 hectares), Maharashtra (85,388 hectares), Tamil Nadu (14,352 hectares) have been illegally occupied. Forests in the Western Ghat region states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are also under threat of encroachment. The data is prepared based on the information provided by the state governments in 2010 and 2011 and 2012.
If we kept on exploiting the forest land, the natural inhabitant of the wild animals, then one day we will lose most of our wildlife. In order to maintain the balance in nature and to protect the forest land from uncontrolled human intervention departments of forestry are taking strict measures.