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A. Forestry Research

4.1 Compatibility with Overarching National Priorities

Forestry research has traditionally been following an isolated path insulated from the topical national developmental priorities. This approach has resulted in relegation of the subject of forestry in general and that of forestry research in particular to a much lower level of importance in the matter of allocation of resources. This alienation needs to be stopped, and forestry research brought within the ambit of, and in consonance with the National Developmental Priorities.

Forestry research needs to reorient itself to fit into the national priorities, e.g., poverty alleviation, literacy and drinking water supply. This would mean focus on farmers and communities to enable them produce more from their landholdings, and consequently earn more. The research would, thus, need to be focused on integrating planting of trees and other non-traditional herbs and shrubs with the traditional agricultural crops with overall aim of increasing useful biomass production.

4.2 Shift from Traditional Research Approach to Community Welfare

Hitherto research has been strongly inclined towards traditional forestry within the confines of silviculture of well known timber or NTFP species. This approach manifested in research and studies on regeneration problems, spacing, tending, thinning, increment, planting and nursery techniques of well known forestry species or their produce like teak, sal, deodar, tendu leaves, resin, rosin and gums etc. This trend, however, was not helpful in making the community realize the importance of forestry in improving their livelihoods. As a result, people at large, and local community have developed apathy towards forests being perceived as of no use to them, rather having obstructive value to the local development projects.

Forestry research needs to move from the boundary of traditional silviculture to the realm of community welfare by focusing more on subjects, practices and problems that directly affect the economic well being of the local community. This would mean initiating and giving impetus by application of forestry science, to the research related to increasing productivity of private and community landholdings, removing or rationalizing barriers to the marketing and utilization of tree/forest produce, and developing management models of JFM based on the experience gained.

4.3 Increased Focus on Environmental Services

Although forests provide wide range of goods and services to the human society such as, wood, water, medicinal plants, recreation, soil amelioration, biodiversity and carbon sequestration, research, however, focused mainly on different aspects of goods being provided by the forests. No worthwhile research was commissioned on the property and ability of forests to generate environmental services. This is despite the increasing realization that most of these services are essential and invaluable for the very existence of mankind. This has resulted in undermining the economic contribution of the forests in the general economic and social well being of the citizens of the country. Even today, the contribution of these services is not recognized in the balance sheet of the national economy.

These services include watershed protection, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration. People are becoming aware of the implications and costs of allowing these services to go unrecognized, and consequently get degraded or lost. Forest degradation and loss of vegetation can have local impacts, such as floods and landslides, as well as broader impacts, such as global climate change. This growing awareness is drawing attention to the economic benefits of healthy forest ecosystems, benefits that until recently have often been taken for granted. This growing awareness about the positive role of forests needs to be matched by commissioning of appropriate research for quantification and valuation of the forests. Research also needs to be initiated to develop a recognized system and set of processes and procedures for proper valuation of the services from forests to enable proper accounting of such services in the national economy. Valuation exercise must encompass the spectrum of forest types, soils, topography and other related parameters, and different combinations thereof.

4.4 Global Competitiveness in Productivity

Productivity of our forests is one of the lowest in the world. Even the output of plantations under farm forestry and agroforestry is not high to match the productivity figures in other countries. Major reason for low productivity is the non-availability of quality planting material. So far this issue was being addressed on the technological front but without much success.

There is need to develop legislative framework to regulate the availability of good quality planting material in the market on the lines of Seed Act of the agriculture sector. The legislative framework would need to be supplemented by research on development of cost effective protocols and technologies for mass propagation of planting stock.

4.5 Simple, Adaptable Technologies

Forestry research undertaken so far can be termed as hardcore research without much use to the farming community. Because of this, there is hardly any appreciation for the research by the local community. All the same, potential of forestry science for providing alternate or supplementary sources of income to the rural community should not be underestimated.

There is need to channelize forestry research into development of simple technological packages that could easily be adopted by the farming community for supplementing its income. The packages could relate to establishment of nursery for raising quality planting stock, incorporating tree component with agricultural crops, soil improvement, value addition to NTFP, legislative and regulatory measures to promote tree planting on private lands etc.

4.6 Regulatory Reforms

Main regulatory framework of forestry sector comprises National Forest Policy, 1988; Indian Forest Act, 1927; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; and Biodiversity Act, 2002. Present policy and legislative prescriptions need to be reviewed, analyzed, researched and adjusted to suit the changing developmental perspectives and scientific knowledge. This analysis can also be used to develop synergies between different statutes and to remove obsolescence, as also to decide upon the degree of decentralization of the particular statute. Research studies may also be launched to streamline the processes and procedures for statutory forestry clearances.



4.7 Wildlife Research

4 .7.1 Participatory Approach

Wildlife management has, by and large, evolved in isolation, insulated from the local community. This has inculcated an attitude of apathy and at times of negative disposition on part of the local community towards the protection of wildlife. Even the statutes governing establishment and management of protected areas (PAs) have not been of any help as these turn the communities residing within the declared premises of the PAs as illegal occupants to be shifted outside the PAs. These communities who suddenly become persona non grata lose any interest, if any they had, in the protection of wildlife. There have been innumerable instances of such people colluding with poachers and smugglers of wildlife to earn money.

There is need to orient the philosophy of wildlife management in the country as it would be extremely difficult to ensure protection to wildlife without involvement of the local community, and without recognizing them as the important stakeholder. Research needs to be initiated to develop participatory models involving local communities for protection of, and discharging assigned responsibility for management of PAs. Participation should be based on the principle of sharing of income with the local community. Eco-tourism that promotes income generation in favour of the local community needs to be encouraged.

4 .7.2 Balance between Environment and Development

Present approach of summarily rejecting developmental projects in the PAs has led to discontent in the local community, and in some government quarters as well. Research is required to review and analyze policy options to ensure protection and management of PAs without hindering the local development.



4 .7.3 Conservation and Propagation of Animals and Plants

Plant and animal species have been included in the Schedules of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 without considering the hard data about their populations and population dynamics. This has affected the traditional use and economic benefits to the local community resulting in hardship.

Research needs to be undertaken to develop and standardize norms for inclusion and exclusion of animal and plant species in the Schedules. Schedules should be reviewed at regular intervals to determine status of species for the purpose of their inclusion in and exclusion from the Schedules. Also, research based scientific norms should be developed for identification of animal species for propagation through captive breeding.

4.8 Biodiversity Research

Till recently, there has not been any worthwhile research on various aspects affecting the biodiversity of an area. No systematic attempts have been made to document biodiversity at local, regional or national level.

Research needs to be initiated to study impacts of development like construction of roads, railways, dams, and mining activities in areas rich in biodiversity. Also, a systematic programme should be launched to document Phytodiversity including angiosperms, gymnosperms, bryophytes, fungi etc. in a phased manner.

Forestry Education

4.9 Linkages of ICFRE and ICAR

Agricultural universities supported by ICAR are running graduate and post-graduate courses in forestry. Funding from the ICFRE supports infrastructure development of forest faculty in these universities. However, the linkages between ICFRE and ICAR are non-existent in the matter of development of appropriate curricula and regular quality control, monitoring and upgrading of courses.

There is need to establish and institutionalize linkages between the two Councils for continuous monitoring and evaluation of the forestry courses. This can be done by constituting coordination mechanism having representation of both the sides for the purpose.

4.10 Harmonization and Integration of Courses with Developmental Priorities

Presently, the courses run in the universities and other organizations are not oriented to take care of the responsibilities expected to be discharged by the successful candidates. Many a time the students and trainees find their education of no practical use while dealing with field situation or working in the field. Most often, it is found that their training or education is not geared to address issues contributing to achievement of national development priorities like poverty alleviation. This results in isolation of the forestry professional from the mainstream development process.

As in case of forestry research, the forestry courses in universities and in the central government organizations must bear relevance to the job requirement of the students and trainees. Also, the compatibility of the courses with the national developmental priorities like poverty alleviation is of utmost importance. The academic and professional courses and trainings need to be remodeled and revised taking into consideration this essentiality.

4 .11 Need based Specialization

Present system does not provide for formulating and imparting need based training programmes for different target groups. This results in permanence of wasted efficiency and efforts.

Mechanism needs to be evolved and institutionalized for catering to such specific training needs. Such system has the potential of attracting even foreign candidates and thus help in augmenting financial resources of the academic institution or training organization.

Forestry Extension

4.12 Lab to Land: Effective Dissemination

Extension has been the weakest link in the system of forestry research. No effective mechanism exists that could disseminate the adaptable research findings to the user groups including farming community. Fine-tuning of research to suit the local needs could not be pursued due to absence of a proper dissemination mechanism including trained and skilled extension staff.

Subject of extension should receive one of the highest priorities in the 11th Plan. Mechanism on the lines of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra needs to be evolved and put in place to facilitate lab to land transfer of research, and also its fine-tuning in on the basis of regular feedback received from the research users mainly farmers. Capacity building of staff at grass root level needs to be ensured and institutionalized to raise a cadre of effective extension workers.

4.13 Strong and Extensive Coverage

Extensive coverage cannot be thought of at present due to absence of a proper extension mechanism in the first place. Coverage of extension system is as important as its initiation. To cater to the adaptation potential of the vast rural community, it will be imperative to have an extension mechanism that has extensive as well as effective reach. This would require a structured programme of capacity building of the existing staff of the ICFRE institutes and centres, state forest research institutes, forest department officials and village level workers of other sister departments like agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, rural development and tribal welfare etc.



Environment Research

4 .14 Freshwater Resources

Research to evaluate the impacts of pollution and climate change on freshwater resources is in nascent stage. Systematic research needs to be commissioned to evaluate the impacts of climate change on glaciers and river flows. Research based integrated approaches need to be developed for management of river basins taking into account the upstream and downstream seasonal inflows and withdrawals, land and water interface, pollution loads, and natural regenerating capacities of the rivers. Research is also required to study and mitigate the impacts of river valley projects, power plants and industries on riverine and estuarine flora and fauna.



4.15 Regulatory Reforms

Regulatory framework for environment sector comprises National Environment Policy, 2006; Environmental Protection Act, 1986; Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Water Cess Act, 1977; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; and Biodiversity Act, 2002. There is need for continuous review of the regulatory framework with a view to making adjustments in it with changing times.

The present policy and legislative prescriptions need to be analyzed, researched and adjusted to be in tune with the changing developmental perspectives and scientific knowledge. Such analysis will also be used to develop synergies between different statutes and to remove obsolescence, as also to decide upon the degree of decentralization of the particular statute. Research studies may also be launched to streamline the processes and procedures for statutory environmental clearances.

Also, Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification needs to be reviewed and analyzed with a view to making the underlying approach holistic to provide protection to the composite coastal ecological system.



4.16 Living Modified Organisms (LMOs)

Apprehensions have been raised time and again about the negative impacts of introduction on LMOs. Research studies need to be commissioned to ascertain risks posed by LMOs to the ecological resources with a view to defining safe processes and procedures for introduction of LMOs.



4.17 Land Degradation

Scientific substantiation and validation of traditional land use practices need to be done on priority followed by effective demonstration and extension projects with the overall aim of arresting degradation of soils and improving productivity of desert ecosystems.

Research needs to be initiated to develop workable multi-stakeholder partnership for adoption of science-based, traditional and sustainable land use practices with a view to optimizing production. Research based modules for increasing green cover in desert ecosystems incorporating the traditional knowledge need to be developed.

4.18 Mountain Ecosystems

Mountain ecosystems being one of the most fragile ecosystems, have traditionally suffered due to deforestation, unplanned urbanization, pollution of freshwater sources, and inadequate sanitation infrastructure. Research studies are required to be commissioned to develop best practices norms for infrastructure development, housing, other developmental activities, and for participation of local community in ecotourism activities.



4.19 Pollution Abatement

Pollution increases because of rising energy demand by individual consumers, and the industry. The problem needs to be tackled on technological as well as legislative fronts. Policy research needs to be initiated to effect statutory reforms to incentivize the use of renewable energy technologies, decentralization of energy generation and distribution, and use of bio-diesel to gradually replace fossil fuel. Research also needs to be accelerated to develop technology for reducing transmission losses, and bringing down cost of solar photovoltaic cells. Research studies need to be initiated to indicate regulatory shortcomings and to recommend efficient pricing of fossil fuel based energy. Research and development is also required for development of low cost technologies for sewage treatment. Research based models of sewage treatment, and solid waste disposal to be financed and managed by local community should be developed.



Environment Education

4.20 Need For A Paradigm Shift

4.20.1 Despite many major initiatives, there is still very inadequate exposure of the students to their ‘habitat’ there is little active learning from the natural and social worlds around them. The prescribed activities may simply be routinely taught as set material to be memorised through teaching in the classroom instead of being pursued by students on their own with an open mind. Activity-based projects may again be carried out in a routine fashion, sometimes with improper involvement of parents or even commercial agencies. It is clear that we need to recognise and address the challenges posed by these shortcomings as we attempt to forge ahead. This would be difficult to accomplish within the constraints posed by the current framework. Instead, we need to shift to a new paradigm.

4.20.2 The main focus of EE should be to expose students to the real-life world, natural and social, in which they live; to enable them to analyse, evaluate, and draw inferences about problems and concerns related to the environment; to add, where possible, to our understanding of environmental issues; and to promote positive environmental actions in order to facilitate the move towards sustainable development. To achieve these goals, the curriculum may be based on:

  • Learning about the environment;

  • Learning through the environment;

  • Learning for the environment.

These objectives assume great significance as humanity increasingly realises, after a long journey from Stockholm through Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg, that a development paradigm that largely ignores the environment has disastrous consequences. In a world entering the new Information Age, education is becoming increasingly central to the development process. It has to help raise awareness, and build the capacity of communities to elaborate a vision and participate in the pursuit of environmentally and socially sustainable development. It must draw upon the new tools of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to do so. Truly meaningful EE is, then, a crucial activity that must lead the way for a paradigm shift in education to promote the pursuit of sustainable development.

4.20.3 Presently environment education is being imparted at school and college level. However, at both the levels, there is general lack of adequately trained teaching staff as also of effective teaching aids and material. Field training required for graduate and post-graduate levels as per UGC norms is difficult to arrange for want of adequate resources. It is proposed to create a network of Nature Awareness Areas and Interpretation Centres to address this lacuna. State level infrastructure would require strengthening to institutionalize mass awareness. Capacity building of individuals and state based resource agencies would be essential to ensure efficient functioning of the awareness apparatus in the states.

F. Training and Capacity Building

4.21 Forestry sector, like any other sector, requires new technologies and management tools to keep pace with the developments at the local, national, regional and global levels. With the shift towards sustainable development and participatory mode of forest management, the forestry has been undergoing fundamental changes in recent times. There is an increasing emphasis on conservation practices and collaborative management by involving the stakeholder communities and individuals. On the other hand, there is pressure for increasing the productivity of wood and other Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) using modern technical inputs. Issues like biological record keeping, environmental impact indicators, biodiversity valuation principles, trade and intellectual property rights, biopiracy, gene pool management, protected area effectiveness, environmental economics, environmental valuation techniques, forest certification, monitoring indicators, carbon sequestration, sustainable development of forests and people, participatory natural resource management, new techniques for raising productivity of forests, bio-economic modeling, valuation of eco-system services, are gaining importance in the forestry sector. Though some of these issues are addressed in regular in-service courses offered by the training institutions and other organizations, there is need to further consolidate and streamline the capacity building regime to adequately address the emerging issues to achieve excellence in forestry sector.

4.22 The traditional approach to forest management demands adequate mix of many aspects of modern scientific management practices such as nursery techniques, seedling demand analysis, nutrient analysis, tree growth modeling, monitoring systems for afforestation, application of geographical information systems, impact assessment methodology, holistic approach to watershed management, soil and water conservation techniques in watersheds, low impact harvest technology, controlled burning using fire modeling, wood technology, international trade in wood products, cross border marketing of NTFPs including medicinal plants, forest research methodologies, protected area management, process documentation, forest management information system etc. The present-day foresters have to deal with a number of non-technical issues also, e.g., inter-sectoral policy and programme linkages, social mapping, community mobilization, forests as tool for rural development including income generation, micro-credit, micro-enterprise management, alternate energy technology, quality control skills, inventory management, accounting and fund management skills.

4.23 Hence, to build capacity of the forestry personnel at different levels enabling them to deal with the emerging issues efficiently, it will be imperative to pool forestry resources and establish linkages with other training and academic institutions not only from within the country but also with international organisations. The forestry training institutions in the country have been taking due care of the above mentioned issues while imparting training to the forestry personnel. However, every training institution has limited capabilities. The resources available to support forestry training are generally insufficient to sustain the requisite expanse and quality of training. It is important that the forestry personnel are provided opportunities to present their views at the international events related to forestry and environment. This will help in capacity building of not only the officer as an individual but also the forestry sector as a whole. Exchange of faculty among the forestry training institutions and other academic institutions including IIMs, sponsoring/organizing Training of Trainer (TOT) courses for the faculty of forestry training institutions, and encouraging forest officers to undertake higher studies in the institutions within the country and abroad, would be a right step for capacity development of the forestry sector. Creating awareness among the industrial houses about the conservation ethos and clean environment with a view to attracting their attention for investment in forestry projects will also help in achieving the goal of sustainable development of the people.

Information Management

4.24 We are today living in the age of technology. The internet provides a global path way for information exchange, and literally any information is available at the click of a button. Yet, for many of us, the computer still remains more of a decoration piece and a status symbol. We have yet not made adequate and effective use of the entire capabilities of computers and have not totally capitalized on the IT revolution. It would not be wrong to state that forestry, for the most part, still relies upon age old dependence on manual procedures and the human resource available. Forest inventory, growth and yield statistics, forest extent, species diversity and the like continue to be documented manually, as a result of which the activities are not just effort and time consuming but also subject to human error. Use of available and developing technology can help to a large extent in rapid assessment of forest resources as well as generating and updating the information and data that is the very basis for good planning. Geographic Information System (GIS) is an effective technology for storage, analysis and retrieval of spatial, temporal and tabular data for natural resources, yet a lot needs to be done by the State Forest Departments (SFD) in this area.

4.25 Substantial amount of information and data relating to the forestry sector have been generated over the last century and more, yet these are not readily available to anybody seeking them. Information exists and is available with SFDs, Institutions and universities, or even in the form of traditional knowledge in the minds of tribal and forest dwellers, but it needs to be brought together in a central repository if it is to be of any use for research, education or planning. So far not much emphasis has been placed on information compilation and dissemination. Today, with the importance being given to the citizens’ right to information, it has become mandatory for the forestry sector to create a central repository of forestry data and to use existing and future IT capabilities to link various existing sources of forestry information, an aspect that is one of the focus areas in this report.

Development of the forestry sector is intrinsically linked with the availability of data on forestry resources as data or information is the key to planning process. In the case of the forestry and environment sector all policy issues, planning and development activities are formulated on the basis of available data.



4.26 Even though forestry in the country is around 150 years old, the availability of data is very fragmented. It is true that over the years, a wealth of data has been generated regarding the forest resource available in various parts of the country. Apart from data regarding the species diversity, the extent of different types of forests, their legal and ecological status, data also exists regarding the growth of trees, volume and yield, nursery and regeneration practices etc. Policies have been framed, Acts and Rules notified, and management plans, maps etc have been generated over a period of time. These are all available with the individual Forest Departments, as well as with the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

4.27 Most of the information on forest resources is linked to maps or spatial data. However, there are many data/information which will be statistical in nature like data pertaining to afforestation, harvesting, diversion of forest lands for various purposes, employment, forest dependence, various forest products, status of wild flora and fauna, budgetary data, and the like. This information too needs to be compiled and collated in a central repository, from where it can be availed of by interested planners, researchers and students. The database, which is needed, therefore, has to be essentially a spatial database with GIS capabilities and also having capability of processing and analyzing non spatial or statistical data. Organization and structuring of data which is available with a large number of institutions, State Forest Departments, NGOs etc would be the most challenging task in creation of the database. A mechanism will have to be evolved for regular updating and entry of data at different levels. Considering the complexity of the issue and technicality involved in creation and management of the desired kind of information management system, obviously the task will have to assigned to an expert organization having capability in such a field. Adequate resources in terms of manpower and funds would be essentially required for the endeavour.

4.28 In so far as environmental matters are concerned, the Ministry of Environment & Forests is the nodal agency for decision-making on environment-related matters at the national level as well as for dissemination of information to the users in its allotted field. The Ministry of Environment & Forests has set up a National Environmental Information System (ENVIS) as a decentralized network for collecting, collating, storing, retrieving and disseminating information in the field of environment and its associated areas.

Since environment for sustainable development is a broad-ranging, multi-disciplinary subject, a comprehensive information system on environment has necessitated effective participation of institutions/ organisations in the country that are actively engaged in work relating to different subject areas of environment.



4.29 Data Gaps in Forestry

Though scientific forest management in India for the last 150 years has yielded considerable data on the forest resources of the country, the gaps in the database are still significant. The high diversity of forest types in the country and the vastness and spread of the forest resource are primarily responsible for this gap. As a result, the value of forest resources and its contribution to the country’s GDP is poorly understood and grossly undervalued. Many important information on forestry resources for planners and policy makers are still not available. Some of them are availability of precise data of timber resources in the country for wood supply, accurate data on plantations (both young and old), data on availability of Non-timber Forest Produce (NTFP) including medicinal plants, carbon stock in forest & forest soil, accurate and precise data on forest fire, grazing, regeneration, fuel wood availability and demand, impact of forestry on livelihoods specially in JFM areas etc. In absence of these information, it is very difficult for planners to make any short/long term strategy for conservation and sustainable development of forestry resources. Besides lack of proper data on tangible benefits from forests, benefits occurring from intangible data of forest resources have not been estimated and assessed which is reflected in the grossly undervalued contribution of forestry sector to the nation’s GDP.



4.30 Substantial amounts of information and data relating to the forestry sector have been generated over the last century and more, yet these are not readily available to anybody seeking them. Information exists and is available with SFDs, Institutions and universities, or even in the form of traditional knowledge in the minds of tribal and forest dwellers, but it needs to be brought together in a central repository if it is to be of any use for research, education or planning. Harmonization of data collected by various agencies (Central govt. institutions/State Forest Departments/ NGOs/Researchers etc.) is the need of the hour.

4.31 There is an urgent need to develop a unified database for forestry related data by all concerned agencies without duplication of efforts. So far not much emphasis has been placed on information compilation and dissemination. Today, with the importance being given to the citizens’ right to information, it has become mandatory for the forestry sector to create a central repository of forestry data and to use existing and future IT capabilities to link various existing sources of forestry information. The importance of forestry data has been recognized both for policy formulation and planning purposes on one hand and for monitoring and evaluation of programmes on the other hand at all levels. For effective planning at various levels (national, state, region, district, village etc) a reliable, accessible and regularly updated data base on traditional as well as non-traditional aspects of forest resources containing spatial and non-spatial information is essential as it will improve efficiency of sustainable planning, evaluation and monitoring of forest resources.

4.32 Data Gaps in Environment Sector: Some Challenges

  • Conservation programmes of mangroves, wetlands, estuaries, etc.;

  • Biodiversity conservation;

  • Control of pollution in air, water including marine;

  • Hazardous substances management;

  • Development of eco-friendly products;

  • Coastal zone regulations and managements;

  • Joint Forest Management;

  • Documentation of medicinal plants, both traditional and herbarium based; and

  • Development of eco-cities and eco-villages, etc.

  • The user-groups like decision-makers, scientists, environmentalists are at the first level, researchers at the second level and the general public at the tertiary level.

4.33 In order to achieve an economically sound society and environmentally friendly development system, it is necessary that a comprehensive information system is established. Presently, no systematic approach has been adopted to collect and collate data on conservation of forestry resources. The study of controlling parameters through generation and digitization of forestry data along with bio-physical factors on a continuous basis is essential to objectively monitor and evaluate the current and future forestry growth and development. This has been made possible with the advent of computer era and availability of computer network and advanced software packages for storage, retrieval, analysis and dissemination of information in a systematic manner, to develop a data warehouse that is easy and has rapid accessibility. This effort can supplement and strengthen the existing database and generate new data, if required, to form an information management system at the national level that will be of great help to the forest managers and planners.

4.34 The major critical gaps identified are as follows:

  • No systematic approach adopted to generate collate and correlate data on natural forest resources.

  • Non-standard and scattered database are not in a position to give holistic views on the present problems, causing hindrance in forestry development.

  • No modern information system i.e. warehouse has been conceptualized for creation of database on natural resources.

  • No appreciable accessibility of information available.

  • Psychological data sharing blockage as data are normally thought to be something very personal /institutional.

4.35 Long Term Vision

The forthcoming 21st century will experience its own uniqueness in the light of growing population, shrinking resources and advancement in technology. The management of India’s vast forest resources needs a balance between the ever-increasing demands and conservation of the fragile eco-system. This entails the judicious use of the forest resources to promote sustainable development and environmental protection. The creation of central forestry information management system is a huge task, but once put in a logical framework, the information can be updated and revised based on the need and use.



4.36 Information Demand Analysis

The information that are either generated and/or used for planning and management at national level can be broadly categorized as: Natural Forest Resources, Forest Inventory, Research Projects, Institutional inventory, Technologies Generated, Genetic Biodiversity Resources, Meteorological Data, Market Intelligence (Prices, Trade, Commerce), State Level Information, Online Forest Library, NWFP, Finance, Budget and Expenditure, etc. This information can be obtained from the already existing forestry and allied institutions in different forms like tables, text files, databases (non-spatial and spatial) publications etc.

Chapter 5

STRATEGIES AND APPROACH FOR THE XI FIVE YEAR PLAN


A. RESEARCH

5.1 Steering Research to Address National Priorities

The Environment and Forest sector of the country is facing an uphill task of satisfying an exponentially rising country-wide demand of goods and services from a limited land area, which is already under extensive local use, and simultaneously subjected to a variety of restrictions to safeguard biological diversity and environmental imperatives. It is essential that the Research Institutions and Organizations in cooperation with the Ministry and State Departments define research priorities and strategies to steer forestry research to address emerging national priorities, and to link research with the redefined objectives of forest management, and extension of tree planting on non-forest lands in tune with the national priorities of poverty alleviation, and enhanced environmental services. Conceiving appropriate scenarios for development of the environment and forest sector in tune with the national priorities should form the main platform for the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) approach. Analyzing these scenarios and reducing the same to the most appropriate scenario after thorough discussions with stakeholders including policy makers, scientists, people representatives, forest industries and other concerned organizations, would be the next logical step.



5.1.1 The National Environmental Policy (NEP) 2006 has set as its objectives, conservation of critical environmental resources, livelihood security of poor, inter and intra generational equity, integration of environmental concern in economic and social development, efficiency in the environmental resource use, in environmental governance, and in enhancement of resources for environmental services. It further states that while a large number of actions are already currently underway, some new themes will have to be pursued to realize the objectives of NEP at all levels – Central, State, and Local which will further require empowerment of the panchayats and the urban local bodies.

The National Environment Policy, 2006 has evolved from the recognition that only such development is sustainable, which recognizes finiteness of resources, respects ecological constraints, and the imperatives of justice. The multistakeholder character of environmental issues and continuous developments in the field of environment, make it necessary to have a continuous focus on capacity building in all concerned institutions: public, private, voluntary, academic, research and the media.



5.1.2 National Forest Policy, 1988 lists the priority areas of research and development, needing special attention for achieving the policy objectives of environmental stability, and increasing productivity. Forest productivity is envisaged to be enhanced by increasing productivity of wood and other forest produce per unit area, per unit time by the application of modern scientific and technological methods, through re-vegetation of barren/marginal/waste/mined lands and watershed areas, and effective conservation and management of existing forest resources, mainly natural forest ecosystems.

5.2 Reorienting Research towards People/Community Welfare

India is a true, vibrant democracy where entire governance is directed towards achieving the ultimate goal of upliftment of the people, and ensuring their all-round welfare. The mandate, agenda and direction of any sector and its underlying themes including research, education and capacity building have to be attuned to the principles of democratic polity, and, if need be, reoriented accordingly. Forestry research also, which has mainly focused on scientific achievements and has remained a major tool for knowledge enhancement so far, should be focused towards community welfare in general and problem solving activities in particular.



5.3 Expanding Research to encompass Biodiversity and Ecosystem

A major part of research effort has either been focused on single species or has considered forests as commercial entities and not as ecosystems. Grassland and wetland ecosystems have been largely left out from the ambit of forestry research, although they are very important landscape components of forest biomes. There is a need to adopt a more integrative approach instead of the current disciplinary fragmentation of the forest science community located in forestry institutes as well as universities. Scientific efforts need to be integrated to deal with the large-scale changes affecting the land based systems. Research is needed to identify species, which have key ecological functions that affect productivity, diversity and sustainability of forest communities as a whole. Effects of chronic and acute disturbances (e.g. periodic vs. accidental fire, head load removal of biomass vs. deforestation), and those of invasive alien species on structure, functioning and regeneration of forest need to be examined through long-term field experiments. Economic evaluation of ecosystem services and their delivery in response to disturbances and global changes across social groups need to be focused upon in future researches. Urban forestry is another emerging area needing attention of forest scientists.



5.4 Assessing International Research Needs

There has been a growing concern about conservation and sustainability of resources, and the rise in environmental problems, such as global warming, biodiversity loss, pollution of water, depletion of the ozone layer, desertification and carbon release in atmosphere. These concerns and related research obligations were manifest through international conventions and agreements including the Agenda 21 of the Rio Conference. The international forestry-related instruments are discussed in Chapter 18 of the Agenda 21.

CIFOR (Centre for International Forestry Research) and ICRAF (International Centre for Research in Agroforestry) have identified the following forestry research priorities on international basis: causes of deforestation, forest degradation and poverty in forest margin, landscape conservation and management of forest ecosystems, multiple resource management of natural forests, and agroforestry research under the natural resource strategies and policy.

5.5 Coordination of Collaborative/Joint Research by ICFRE

As multidisciplinary research is vital for addressing global issues in environment and forestry research, the research programmes and schemes need to be carried out by different stakeholders in consultation and collaboration with each other. Also, Public Private Partnership (PPP) or more correctly Multi-stakeholder Partnership (MSP) is the right strategy in the changed economic and global scenario. These partnerships are intended to bring together the respective institutional, technical and financial strengths and capabilities of the collaborating partners in pursuing research agendas of common interest. However, to ensure that such composite efforts are within the framework of the national research priorities, the ICFRE shall assume the lead role of facilitating and guiding such collaborations together with vetting of the research subject/agenda. ICFRE being the apex research body shall oversee the coordinated implementation of all research schemes and programmes. Some other important areas where joint/collaborative research input could be vital are: homestead forestry/agroforestry, watershed management, coastal area management, bioshields and protective afforestation (coastal areas), high yield germplasm/plantation, technological factors limiting yields, wildlife conservation and management, multipurpose forest management, genetic resources conservation, etc.



5.6 Strengthening Inter-Sectoral Linkages

There are institutions specializing in different sectors, which carry out research on similar or closely aligned subjects. Areas like geosphere and biosphere interactions, soil microbiology, eco-friendly technologies, natural disaster management, e.g., floods, coastal cyclones and landslides, coastal resources, mountain ecosystems, freshwater resources and wetlands etc. invariably have multisectoral research programmes. Purposeful pursuit of such programmes makes the exchange of information among the sectors unavoidably essential. Also, academic and infrastructure exchange, and sharing and updating of information and knowledge among different sectors are also important. To make aforesaid possible, strong and effective linkages need to be established amongst different sectoral institutions.



5.7 Focusing on need based Simple Technologies

Based on scientific advancement, modern technologies are being developed, and to a small extent being implemented also. However, large-scale adoption of such technologies by farmers, rural communities, and urban dwellers is not possible as these technologies are complex, cost prohibitive and, therefore, unviable. In this background, there is an urgent need to undertake research that would result in development and validation of simple, viable and adoptable technology packages. Common rural and urban dwellers and village communities need such technologies not only for improvement of livelihood and employment generation, but also to have access to a cleaner and healthier environment.



5.8 Developing Green Accounting Models

One of the emerging global issues relates to development of rational and acceptable accounting methodologies in order to accommodate values of the intangible and tangible benefits provided by forest ecosystems. Also, this is the high time when numerous environmental services provided by forest and biodiversity resources ought to be quantified and properly reflected in the national accounting system. Research needs to be commissioned with a view to developing practical green accounting methodologies that could be used by agencies and authorities at local, regional and national level.



5.9 Approach

5.9.1 Coordinated and Integrated Approach

Forestry and environment research by its very nature is multi-disciplinary and multi- sectoral. The research initiatives, therefore, in the sector need to be coordinated at the conception, formulation and implementation stage at the highest level. This would require exchange of adequate and appropriate information amongst all the research stakeholders, and ultimately lead to integration and dovetailing of the objectives of their strengths and capabilities. All India Forestry/Environment Coordinated Research Programmes on themes of multisectoral interest coordinated by ICFRE are intended to be launched. There should be national integrated research programmes approach.



5.9.2 Partnership Research

Apex environment and forestry research bodies like ICFRE ought to make use of strengths and capabilities of the SAUs, private sector and NGOs to pursue national research agenda. In other words, apex organizations like ICFRE should be technically and financially capable to farm out research to partner entities like SAUs, industry and NGOs. A Research Grant Fund (RGF) may be instituted for the purpose.



5.9.3 Research as an Essential Component of Schemes/Programmes

Each important scheme/programme requires input of research as it encounters problems during its course of implementation. It is, therefore, essential that every sizable scheme/programme has an inbuilt component of research. This would facilitate mobilization of more resources for carrying out project related research.



5.9.4 Flexible and Rolling

The research programmes and schemes should be flexible as well as rolling in nature. Based on regular evaluation and monitoring of progress, there should be provision of intermediate course correction of as also for continuance or strengthening or termination of the schemes.



5.9.5 People-centric, Participatory

Bottom up approach in research is the need of the hour with essential provision for proper input from local community projecting its research requirements. This will make research programmes people centric, and usable and adaptable by the community.



5.9.6 Ecosystem (holistic) Approach

It is well understood now that research pertaining to natural resources should be carried out at ecosystem level. This holistic research approach is essential for understating the sum total effect of individual elements of the ecosystem and for replication of research results. The researches of environment and forest sector should not be done in isolation but in a holistic manner taking into account the influences and interaction of other natural elements and resources.



B. EDUCATION

5.10 Visualizing New Paradigm

The new paradigm of education, embodying the spirit of science, of democracy, and of caring for the environment, would emphasize a number of key elements:



  • Learning rather than teaching;

  • Building capacity for critical thinking and problem solving;

  • Locale specificity in the context of a global vision;

  • Multidisciplinary approach;

  • Multi-sourced and accessed, rather than top-down, controlled and orchestrated in nature;

  • Participatory with broad involvement of peers and other community members;

  • Life long and continuous in character;

  • Sensitivity to diversity, equity and gender;

  • Knowledge generation; and

  • Empowerment, rather than indoctrination.

5.11 Scientific Method of Imparting Education

Human knowledge has progressed through a series of stages. In its early stages, knowledge grew very slowly through a process of trial and error. It was often viewed as being revealed from some divine source, and called for an unquestioning acceptance of such an authority.

Modern science has elaborated a far more effective way of growing knowledge. This involves rejection of all authority other than that of empirical facts. Science has thus firmly grounded itself on the hard rock of empirical facts. Simply put, the methodology of science entails: observing facts directly; discerning patterns; inferring processes that give rise to observed patterns; making models of the working of the system under consideration; formulating hypotheses about the system; making predictions; verifying predictions through fresh observations of facts; revising models of the working of the system; and then making new predictions in an ever-continuing process. In the march of science anybody is welcome to challenge any assertion, whether it be of facts supposedly observed, or of models of how the system works. Along with rejection of all authority, science has also given up claims of arriving at any absolute truth. Science deals in knowledge that is always treated as provisional, that is, open to being supplanted by newer and more effective observations and theories. This open, democratic and participatory exercise of science has proved tremendously effective in rapidly increasing our knowledge of the natural world.

Science should, therefore, be learnt as a dynamic experience rather than as a mechanical accumulation of facts. Engaging in the process of science; of undertaking first-hand observation of facts; of looking for patterns; of postulating models of processes that might be generating the observed patterns; of making predictions based on such hypotheses; of attempting to verify the predictions—this is by far the best way of imbibing the spirit of science. Of course, one must also endeavour to become acquainted with the great deal of knowledge that has been accumulated thus far—with the facts, patterns and processes ascertained by others and with the models of the working of the world developed by them. But reading all these accounts second hand in books and journals can never be a substitute for first-hand engagement with scientific activities, and there should be a proper balance between learning the facts of science and first-hand engagement in scientific activities. Many of these elements of the scientific method are equally pertinent to the exploration of other branches of knowledge as well. Science thus, very importantly, incorporates the first two elements of the new paradigm of education outlined above, namely, (1) learning rather than teaching, and (2) building capacity for critical thinking and problem solving.




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