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Analysing Systems: Simple and Complex



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5.12 Analysing Systems: Simple and Complex

There are significant differences in the nature of scientific activities focused on the simpler physical and chemical systems and the more complex ones of concern to the environment. Simpler physical and chemical systems may be described with the help of a small number of parameters; this permits the design of replicated experi­ments to test predictions. As a result, our understanding of simpler systems has progressed enormously. Observing new, hitherto unknown facts pertaining to such systems, therefore, calls for highly sophisticated equipment and chemicals, and this is out of the reach of most educational institutions. Hence, the laboratory exercises of physics and chemistry necessarily tend to take students over well-trodden ground.

But with more complex systems, the situation is different. Complex systems characteristically require a large number of parameters for their specification. As a result, each manifestation of the system tends to be unique. Thus, every cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is different from every other recorded so far; each takes a slightly different course. Every patch of forest harbours a set of animal species slightly different from every other forest patch in the world. With these animals variously serving as grazers, pollinators or seed dispersers, and because of many other differences in the environmental regimes, the rates of regeneration of the different plant species in any given forest patch also differ greatly from patch to patch.

The experimental method of science depends on the experimenters' ability to control all relevant parameters and to replicate conditions at will. This poses serious difficulties in the case of complex systems. The experience of a group of Bangalore-based ecologists investigating the fate of wild amla populations on the nearby BRT Hills provides an interesting example of dealing with a complex system. Their hypothesis was that the regeneration of amla is governed by the amount of fruit collected for commercial use, and that the low levels of regeneration in recent years were related to excessive harvests of the fruit. So they laid out statistically well-designed randomised block experiments to test the influence of different levels of harvests of fruit. The local Solliga tribals told them that these experiments would yield no results of interest, because, according to their understanding of the ecosystem based on many years of first-hand observations, the levels of regeneration were primarily influenced by forest fires. Amla seeds require fire to germinate well, and the Solligas felt that the low levels of regeneration were related to the suppression of forest fires in recent years. The scientists did not initially give credence to this view and continued with their experiments. Only later did they come to the conclusion that the Solligas had indeed been right. Thus, since it is so difficult to discern what the relevant parameters are in a complex system, it is difficult to design meaningful experiments. The study of the environment thus necessarily incorporates the third and fourth elements of the new paradigm of education outlined above, namely, (3) locale specificity, of course, in the broader context of our overall understanding providing a global vision, and (4) multidisciplinarity.



5.13 Evaluating Observations

The first-hand observations of the BRT Hills forest ecosystem by the Solligas had evidently provided them with an understanding of much value. On the other hand, elaborately designed experiments yielded little understanding because the experimenters had failed to identify the key parameters. Actual observations of these complex systems are, therefore, of vital importance in becoming acquainted with the empirical facts. Disciplines such as geology, hydrology, meteorology and ecology as well as the social sciences are, therefore, not amenable to the use of laboratory experiments in the same way as is possible in the case of physics or chemistry to acquaint students with empirical facts. Laboratory exercises do have a value in these fields as well, but the experiments must be complemented with actual observations in the field. Fieldwork has to be a vital component of learning in the study of complex natural and social systems. Hence, the study of the environment has to incorporate the fifth element of the new paradigm of education outlined above, namely, being (5) multi-sourced and accessed, often with one’s own initiative, rather than being a discipline with a top-down, controlled and orchestrated nature.



5.14 Adopting Comparative Method

Because of these difficulties, advancing knowledge through hypothesis testing in the sciences of complex systems has to take another route—that of the comparative method, taking advantage of natural experiments. The comparative method is based on compiling extensive information on a number of systems that differ from each other in a few features and generating hypotheses about the effects of such factors and testing them. For instance, lichens, symbiotic associations of algae and fungi that grow on rocks or tree trunks, are known to be sensitive to air quality in some parts of the world. India has several species that have not been studied in this fashion. So the best way for us to acquire an understanding of this phenomenon is to compare lichen floras on the trunks of the same species of trees growing on roads carrying heavy traffic and elsewhere where the air is cleaner. Similarly, one may use the comparative method to assess the impact of water pollution on fish and aquatic insect communities.



5.15 Recording New Facts

Because of these limitations, science has made far more limited advances in documenting and understanding the behaviour of complex systems. A corollary of this is that new facts are being continually added to the storehouse of human knowledge. Even non-scientists may participate in this adventure. Thus, amateur astronomers find new comets and asteroids from time to time, and amateur bird watchers routinely publish lists of birds from new localities. Indeed, the barefoot ecologists of the country, common people close to the natural world, such as the Solliga tribals of the BRT Hills, have with them an enormous store of facts well above and beyond those recorded in the scientific literature. This is why high school or college students and teachers, too, can contribute their mite towards building a scientific understanding of the environment. Indeed, the systematic recording of such facts by students could help flesh out the picture of the state of human habitat; the students could engage not only in recording the basic facts, but also attempt to discern emergent patterns and understand underlying processes. This would be a most worthwhile learning experience as well. The study of the environment evidently incorporates the sixth and seventh elements of the new paradigm of education outlined above, namely, being (6) participatory with broad involvement of peers and other community members, and being (7) a life-long and continuous enterprise.



5.16 Adopting Step-by-Step Approach

The changes envisioned in this new paradigm involve a major shift in our thinking of education as a process of ‘learning’ rather than ‘teaching’, and, going even further, of involvement in the active generation of knowledge. This cannot be done by merely changing the curriculum and the textbooks, but needs a more fundamental change in the way that teaching-learning happens and the way that knowledge is viewed in the school. Unfortunately, the current examination system is not just a way of measuring what the student has learnt but it also actually governs what is learnt. The final examinations, especially for Classes X and XII, determine a child’s future in a way disproportionate to his or her achievements in other faculties. This is likely to continue to be the case for some time. Unless a change in the examination system happens simultaneously, one cannot expect to make a fundamental change in the system of school education.

The other major determinant of change is the teacher and his/her role. To move away from the traditional role of a teacher and to become a partner and facilitator in the process of the child’s learning and knowledge-generation activities is not a small step. First of all, it calls for a major change in perspective. It also involves learning certain new skills, competencies and techniques. In pre-service training, such changes would eventually and very gradually lead to such a transformation. To hasten the change, a very effective and efficient in-service training programme needs to be implemented.

The changes in the curriculum and teaching–learning materials need to be seen in this context. A lot of good materials are available and one can draw on the experiences of numerous experiments and projects. However, a system that links learning and the process of knowledge generation to the environment cannot be one that can be wholly based on centralised materials. It needs to capture local flavours, to be adapted to the needs of a particular region, to become locale specific. This will necessitate a change in the way that curricula are written and textbooks and teaching materials are prepared.

The education system in India is hampered by its huge inertia. Change in such a system cannot be brought about merely through a shift in policy. It will involve a total system change carefully executed in a step-by-step fashion, with the active involvement of both the Central Government and the governments of States/UTs. It needs to be stressed here that education being a subject on the Concurrent List, the involvement and commitment of the governments of States/UTs is vital.

5.16 Developing Material: Conventional Media

EE will require the development of locale-specific teacher, student and classroom material. ‘Greened’ textbooks, which are written from a holistic environmental perspective in terms of both their content and pedagogy, and which encourage flexibility to bring in locale specificities, are at the core of this endeavour. In order to arrive at such instructional material there needs to be a serious rethinking on the approach to writing textbooks. Teachers need handbooks that help them to teach the texts effectively. For the hands-on part of EE, student workbooks and teacher manuals are required. Charts, reference material, etc. are also needed. This would involve not only the print medium, but also audio and audio-visual material as well as the new electronic media. The approach need not have all the material developed centrally, but should be designed to facilitate the development of quality material regionally and locally.



5.17 Taking advantage of ICT

EE could lead the way in effectively including the manifold capabilities of the new media in changing the paradigm for education. Already, many students, especially in the metropolitan schools, are using computers to access curricular material. They also surf the web to access related information, especially to carry out project assignments. We are suggesting that we go beyond these activities, and use these media as tools to augment the knowledge base on India’s environment by getting students involved in generating knowledge. This calls for developing software to support EE project work of students through communicating proper methodologies of data collection, help validate identification of plant and animal species or of soil and rock types, and organise databases capable of accepting data from many sources. We need to design appropriate websites and put in place mechanisms for the moderation of the content. We need to organise experts’ and citizens’ discussion groups to comment on and add to the quality of the material on this website.



C. Training and Capacity Building

5.18 Analyzing Need for Capacity Building

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 all 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.



5.19 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.

5.20 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.

5.21 Approach

Education

5.21.1 Convergent and Unified

The education which is being dealt by numerous institutions- governmental as well as non-governmental require convergence, unification, and uniformity so as to enable the students and scholars to get a level playing field and better environment for career progression and higher learning.



5.21.2 Universal and Updated

A dynamic approach is needed to keep abreast of the contemporary topics of education and to get a grip of the global issues; through periodic and regular review of syllabi and curricula.



5.21.3 Knowledge Management Driven

In a multisectoral and varied stakeholder scenario, and in order to pool resources and interlink institutions/organizations, a knowledge management based approach to establish and consolidate knowledge augmenting/sharing framework to be adopted.



Extension

5.21.4 Capacity Building of Line Departments for Forestry Extension

It is essential to dovetail forestry extension activities with the general activities of the line departments to make up for the shortage of the trained extension personnel. This would require structured capacity building of the extension staff of the line departments to enable them to disseminate information about adaptable forestry technologies.



5.21.5 Synergy and Harmony

The extension programme and activities need an approach of synergy and harmony so as to make the programmes more clearly pronounced and more cost effective.


Chapter 6

MAJOR THRUST AREAS FOR XI PLAN


A. Forestry Research, Education and Extension

6.1 Farm and Agroforestry

Farm and agro forestry have immense potential to support rural livelihood, generate employment, increase production of fuel, fodder and wood alongwith agriculture crops. There is need to wean away rural people from being dependent on government forests for fulfilling their need of fuel wood, fodder and timber. This re-emerging land use system has been recognized as a major alternative for the future. It can be practiced in temperate as well as tropical areas. There are a myriad of aspects in agro-forestry, which need intensive research efforts. These are:



  • Interactive role of fodder tree on hill slopes.

  • Plantation crops like tea and coffee in agroforestry with N2 fixing shade giving trees. Research on future choice of trees on farms, especially with regard to the desirability of tree with respect to their and use i.e. timber, fodder, fruit, fuel wood yielding or N2 fixing or a combination of two or more of these characteristics. Research on MPTS.

  • Timber production in agro forestry systems.

  • Agroforestry and biodiversity of crops and trees.

  • Indigenous knowledge of farmers and forestry science.

  • Agroforestry systems in sustainable forest management.

  • Development and management of pastures.

  • Research on the extent of damage caused by migratory herds of cattle to the forests on way.

  • Introduction of suitable tree species to wean away ‘jhum’ cultivators of North Eastern India.

6.2 Watershed Management

Water is a very important output from forests. The important research areas required to be covered are:



  • Effect of forest cover on water balances in catchments area and run off dynamics.

  • Hydrological pathways.

  • Surface erosion and slope stability.

  • Remote sensing and hydrology.

  • Surface water management.

6.3 Non-wood forest products (NWFP)

These are also known as non-timber products (NTFP) and are extremely important because a large number of rural people specially tribals are engaged in its collection and sale for their livelihood and existence. Proper management of this product is very crucial for a long term benefit and poverty alleviation programmes.

The important research areas may include:


  • Preservation and multiplication of endangered medicinal plants.

  • Exploitation of non-timber forest products for the benefits of rural and tribal masses.

  • Establishment of center of excellence for medicinal plants to be examined and implemented at Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur.

6.4 Bamboos

Bamboos are poor men’s timber. Important areas of research include: -



  • Study of bamboo diversity in the country.

  • Clonal multiplication of bamboos.

  • In situ and ex situ conservation of bamboo species.

  • Research on various aspects of bamboo utilization like artifacts, bamboo mat boards, bamboo mat veneer, bamboo mat overlaid particleboard, bamboo mat molded articles and bamboo as construction material.

  • Improved production, management and utilization of Bamboos and rattan especially in the western and central parts of the country. Bamboos need to be grown widely.

6.5 Productivity

Research on forest productivity has many facets, Timber resources changes in national forest cover, Forest production, growth and yield models, Remote sensing and GIS techniques, etc.



6.6 Landscape rehabilitation

A need is felt to rehabilitate and restore the natural landscape, as it existed in the past. Research on the following lines will be pertinent:



  • Visualization of the landscape in land planning in the rural areas, hill areas, tribal areas, North Eastern areas and other problem areas.

  • Protection against natural calamities like flood, earthquake, landslide in the mountains, cyclones etc.

  • Strategies for the rehabilitation of the deforested landscape with a view to recover biodiversity.

  • Studies on the role of Joint Forest Management.

  • Wetlands and mangroves, mountain and desert ecosystems, degraded ecosystems.

  • Lantana and other exotic weeds, weeds of water bodies.

  • Forest conservation research and the ‘Periyar Model’.

  • Eco-agriculture concept.

6.7 Forest industries

Some important identified thrust are as follows:



  • Involvement of user industries to support teaching programmes

  • Technology adoption

  • Product improvement mainly with a view to export

  • Industrial toxicology

  • Wood technology

  • Linkages with the trade

  • IPR and forest industry

  • Utilization and consumer aspect

6.8 Forest fire

The prevalence of forest fires in the country is an annual affair. The loss due to forest fires is enormous and depleting our forest quality. ICFRE jointly with NRSA/DOS centers could initiate a research program on fire mapping and slowly evolve a fire alarming system development as part of decision support system. The role of satellite technology and IMD need to be optimally integrated.

Fire in the forest plays a very vital role either by way of diversifying successional trends or by destroying vegetation. The important research areas in this direction are:


  • Forest fires and their control.

  • Fire and weather relationship with special emphasis on wind and humidity, and fire forecasting models.

  • Fire and natural regeneration of commercial species like teak, chir pine, etc.

  • Fire and loss of biodiversity.

  • Fire and forest soil microbiology.

  • Shifting cultivation (jhum).

  • Detection and Monitoring of Forest Fires.

6.9 Conservation of forest genetic resources

The important research areas include:



  • In situ conservation of tropical and temperate forest genetic resources.

  • Impact of silviculture and management practice on genetic diversity of trees. Assessment, conservation and monitoring of biodiversity.

  • Population genetics and gene conservation.

  • Social and economic considerations of conservation.

  • Impact of pollution on forest tree populations.

  • Wild life.

  • Sustainable natural forest management.

  • Development of indicators of sustainability and models of sustainable development.

  • Development of bio-resources approach and technologies.

6.10 Impact of pest, diseases and air pollution on forest sustainability

Research on forest insect and pathogen along with effect of pollution on forest health needs to be strengthened. Health of trees under urban environment needs special attention. Mortality of Shisham and problem of sal heartwood borer need further exploration. Strategies to control the insect pests by use of bio control agent need to be strengthened. To achieve the above goals research in the following areas is recommended:-



  • Sal borer Identification, Mapping and analysis for prevention

  • Teak defoliator studies

  • Shisham Mortality

6.11 Wood products

  • Production of slow growing valuable timber trees like teak, sal, rosewood, shisham, toon, etc.

  • Plantation forests and their social impacts.

  • Plantation forest and their impact on the environment.

  • Plantations for fuel wood production.

6.12 Services

Forest provide many types of recreational services like hiking, mountaineering, camping, eco-tourism, etc. the social functions of the forests should be researched on the following aspects.



  • Recreational functions of national parks, botanical gardens, religious forests, and mountain forests should be documented.

  • Social functions of the village forests and their sustainability should be documented.

  • Amenities obtained form forests should be investigated.

  • Research on public education vital to the well being of the forests and the communities living in and around forest areas.

  • Quantification of indirect benefits from forests.

  • Human rights and especially women rights component, gender issues in forests and mean of livelihood.

6.13 Silviculture, physiology and genetics

The Indian forests contain nearly 4000-5000 tree species and their compositional pattern though studied extensively, but lacks the synthesized tree diversity maps needed for the forest management on a large scale. Towards this direction the detailed forest taxonomical studies with systematic phyto-sociology and GPS based surveys may significantly contribute in revising the forest tree floras of the states. These inputs contribute as valuable information in conservation, preservation and introduction of declining tree species in the region. This aspect ensures our rich heritage of tropical biodiversity as a first step.

Some of the important areas would be:


  • Silviculture of tropical trees in southern and eastern parts of India.

  • Short rotation forestry for biomass production. Some of the fast growing shrubs and small trees must be evaluated.

  • Rehabilitation of mined areas through afforestation with a variety of tree species. Other waste lands along railway lines, canals and roads too must be afforested after developing suitable plantation technologies on the suitable species.

  • Forest meteorology and climate and dendrochronolgy the Indian forests though occupy nearly 22% of the geographical area does not contain systematic meteorology data collection platforms to serve as inputs on the changing conditions and influence on forest composition and productivity. In this direction, establishment of automatic weather stations across the Indian forest would provide considerable forest meteorology data and micro-climatic conditions. This kind of scientifically organized data is required for better understanding of the forest influences on climate and weather.

  • Development of vegetation propagation techniques for mass scale multiplication of elite clones.

  • Most of the Indian forest trees of commercial importance are not properly researched from genetic variation point of view. There is need to study provenance variation and selection of superior trees for further genetic improvement work.

  • Seed physiology and seed technology.

  • Conservation and management of forest gene resources.

  • Establishment of seed production areas, progeny trails and seed orchards of different important trees in each region/zone. Seed certification and timber certification.

  • Research on improvement of planting stock of important plantation forestry tree species.

  • Enhancing production through scientific management of insects pest and diseases.

  • Forest biotechnology research should be given an impetus in the fields of clonal forestry, cryopreservation, DNA finger printing, genetic transformation studies, biofertilization etc.

  • For most part of the Silviculture practices the lianas are considered as weeds and parasites, compete with the tree cover in resource allocation. However, the lianas also represent highly diverse and fast growing plant species. The record of their diversity, the inter-relationship with forest ecosystem, productivity potential may require sufficient attention to understand their role. Apparently their luxuriance also indicates as a measure of disturbance in the ecosystem. In this context the role and functional aspects of lianas and their taxonomy in different forests of India may be given adequate emphasis.

6.14 Forest inventory techniques

Inventorization of the forest resource with the help of modern techniques is of great importance. The monitoring of forest types and specific tree species and attack of pests and diseases are mandatory. We must pay attention to research needs in the following areas:



  • Stand dynamics and growth models and their use for better forest management.

  • Environment changes and forest growth.

  • Forest products collection and sustainability.

  • Use of remote sensing techniques in inventory and integration with GIS.

  • Estimation and production of national bio-resources through biometrical approach.

  • Research on continuous cover forestry and build up of growing stock, especially for such forest areas in the county where the growing stock is very poor.

India’s rich forest wealth and diversity together constitutes a rich heritage supporting our environment through many tangible and intangible benefits. The increased population pressure and demand for it’s resources require continual effort on forest research to ameliorate the growth conditions to meet the basic requirements and also to combat the changing ecology of the region. Towards this direction, the advent of modern technologies especially Satellite data applications, air-borne multispectral imaging, biotechnology and fast communication and information technology should be taken to the best advantage for forest research in the 10th five year plan by ICFRE.

6.15 Forest type distribution and analysis

The India’s forest types were defined by Champion and Seth way back in 1968 and subsequent to that there was no concerted effort to properly redefine the spatial distribution and analysis of forest types in the country. NRSA, Hyderabad have made some patch scale attempts in this direction using satellite, metrology and physiographic data. However the continental scale attempt is one of the research gray areas, which can be taken up by ICFRE in joint collaboration with NRSA and large university infrastructure in the country.



6.16 Forest products

Wood is now rarely used in the natural form. A lot of advancement has occurred in the areas of wood technology. The following areas need attention for better and economical use of wood.



  • Quality of wood produced under different plantation regimes. The quality and value of the product depends upon the quality of wood produced so it should be monitored.

  • Protection of wood against decay and attack of insects and pathogens.

  • Processing of wood through modern treatments, and use of wood bonding, utilization of wood waste.

  • Research on composite and reconstituted wood products, reconstituted wood from bamboos.

  • Wood carbonization, energy and chemicals from wood biomass.

  • Utilization of a versatile product such as bamboos and rattan.

  • Collection, processing, sale and utilization of non-wood products and threat of their extinction.

  • Research on the domestication, cultivation, processing and standardization of aromatic and medicinal plants and their conservation in nature.

  • Research on recycling of paper.

6.17 Social, economic and information sciences

Major strategies are as follows:-



  • People’s participation and impact of JFM

  • Economic analysis of forest degradation

  • Sociological research on forest and society

  • History of forest in India

  • Research on social forestry

  • Indigenous technical knowledge

  • Role of forests in natural disasters e.g. floods, coastal cyclones and land slides.

SPECIFIC ISSUES

6.18 Carbon sequestration

Researches need to be carried out on the carbon sequestration capabilities of different forest eco-systems with special reference to some selective tree species. Emphasis should be laid upon those trees, which can grow very well in the urban environment and bind carbon dioxide more efficiently/effectively. Role of some tree species in binding heavy metals should also be studied from environment amelioration point of view. Besides this commercially important and valuable timber species should be encouraged which have such capabilities. The concept of modern nurseries, technologically equipped to produce large number of healthy seedlings from genetically superior sees must be realized during the ensuing plan period so that impetus can be given to mechanized nursery production so as to give a boost to commercial nursery production for undertaking large scale plantations. Similarly, mechanized seasoning and fumigation facilities must be researched and their economic viability be assessed for going into large scale timber production and value addition. Emphasis must be put on the use of such chemicals, which have very little harmful effect on the environment.

The sources and sinks of carbon have always been an unresolved scientific issue. The systematic effort on the Indian forest biomass and subsequent carbon storage potential through wood analysis samples may contribute the sink potential of Indian forests and their distribution pattern in various forest types.

The first human being was not much different from wild animals in their daily livelihood. The human race differentiated from rest of the animal kingdom through rational thinking, which led them to civilized life. Rational thinking and scientific discovery have led human society from various human societies differ among themselves due to difference in the philosophy of life and standard of living. However, the basic need of all social being-food, cloth and shelter-have remained the same.

Man has gathered the basic amenities for living from the gift of nature. Undoubtedly, it is the forests, which have supplied human beings more for his livelihood then anything else in nature. Trees have given food, fuel wood to make fire, timber to make shelter and bark to cover his body. Life and life-style have changed over time. Man of today does not use the natural products from forest in the form it is available. Through scientific input they have modified forest produce into forms more suited to his modern life.

6.19 Bio-diesel plantations

Production of energy and fuel from forest biomass are yet another important area of investigation. A number of forest trees have the potential to yield fuel after chemical processing. It is, therefore, very important that research efforts should be concentrated on standardization of the chemical processing method for conversion of forest biomass into fuel. Once these techniques are developed and standardized, the bio-diesel plantations can be taken up.



6.20 Development of bamboo and rattan

Bamboo and rattan are very versatile materials, finding advantages of uses such as household, industrial and pulp material. These are fast growing with easy multiplication. Their short rotations make them very valuable material to grow at the village level. Research on choice of species, growth behavior, culm properties and utilization needs to be strengthened, so that their significant role is realized in the country’s economy during the coming years.

The vast stretches of Bamboo and its occurrence through out the country in various proportions limit the resource managers to properly account the bamboo potential available in the region. Complying with the forest action plan requirements the Bamboo resource assessment in the country state wise can be made through use of satellite data supplemented by adequate ground verification. Subsequent to the mapping efforts should be made to identify the species and generate a database on the possible sources of germplasm collection and to create gene bank of Bamboos based on the growth conditions.

6.21 Bamboo gregarious flowering

Bamboo resources in the country contribute significantly for the paper, agarbatti and minor forest produce for the tribal community. The valuable resource at several ecological regions prone to spurious flowering causing the complete desiccation of Bamboo forests in the habitat. The role of microclimate, soil etc., is rather inexhaustive. Towards this the areas affected due to spurious flowering and their frequency of occurrence over a region can be studied as base line data to pick up the hotspots for detail analysis in an integrated manner. In this direction high-resolution satellite data with multi-temporal analysis in the time frame of Resource Sat (IRS 2 series) may enhance the capability.

Research efforts should be made to spatially map through GIS based spatial models in conjunction with ground observations on the extent and location of Canes and Reed resources in various forest ecosystems. The record of various genetic diversity and germ plasms be made through a database creation.

6.22 Identification & documentation of sound technologies

This is high time to strengthen research in the fields of wood technology, use of sawmill waste, composite wood, wood adhesives, plywood and laminated wood vis-a-vis wood preservatives. With the current interest in alternative systems of medicine and herbal cosmetics the medicinal and aromatic plants of the country have come under a lot of pressure. Many of the species are fast depleting from their known source of habitat. There is need to generate/document technologies related to conservation, growing, processing, value-addition, marketing and utilization of these plant resources. Eco-friendly technologies already developed in these areas must be documented and popularized. Again, the dwindling wild life calls for immediate intensive research and development of technology in this sub-sector. Technology for the development of various kinds of wastelands, including tree crop cultivation technology should be area based and need oriented. Tried technology should be used rather than trying a new one.



6.23 Contours of economic tree species

ICFRE during the 11th Five Year Plan could consider the first top 20 economic tree species and their spatial distribution pattern across the country be made through systematic organized surveys and through use of GPS instrument. These kinds of contours of spatial mapping of tree species extent provide the spread conditions as baseline information. As an example the extent of teak is believed from south to north up to Madhya Pradesh. Beyond certain latitudes its occurrence is negligible. Likewise the establishment of the contours of the tree species may give adequate reasons to interpret the controls governing the growth of these economic species.



6.24 Permanent silvicultural database

Though ICFRE maintains the record of permanent plots information; it may now be extended to large number of habitats accounting not only the structural aspects but also involving biophysical and biodiversity aspects. This kind of information database may be kept open to the all academia through a website such that the populating of information and research contributions from individuals may enhance understanding the behavior of India forests. The locations and database organization may need to be updated every year with all the parameters plot wise with analysis be made open to the public.



6.25 Role of protected areas in preserving biodiversity

Nearly 4% of forested area is reserved for protected area management. There should be detailed studies as to what extent these PA’s are contributing to the biodiversity enrichment.



6.26 Tree growth models

The first top 20 economic tree species and their growth conditions have to be studied in detail such that the growth models of each species is very well understood both silviculturally and physiologically. The growth model analysis is required to simulate the growth profiles in the naturals systems where they are predominant and to assign the site quality depending on the dynamics. These kinds of studies are very limited in the Indian context and hence deserve attention in the Eleventh Five Year Plan.



Other areas for the research identified may be as follows:

  • Micro-Finance and Micro-Enterprise

  • Participatory Forest Resource Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Legal and Policy Analysis in Forestry

  • Valuation of Forests and Natural Resource Accounting

  • Gender in Forestry

B. ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH

  • Status assessment, Monitoring, Documentation

  • Yield increasing technologies

  • Income generating technologies

  • Life support technologies

  • Value addition and other supporting activities

  • Conservation and Mangement

  • Development Options/Strategies/Plans

  • Demonbstration and Disseminations

Within the framework of the NEP, the subgroup on training and capacity building has assessed the following to recommend the action plan for the Eleventh Five Year Plan:

  • Assessment of the current capacity and existing system of training in all key thrust areas of NEP including forestry and wildlife research and management, pollution control management, monitoring and enforcement, health risk analysis and risk management, environment and economic risk assessment and the capacity for international negotiations in the specific areas of climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation.

  • Assessment of available and projected need of skills, capacity of institutions for regulatory development and mainstreaming of training in all regulatory programmes.

  • Assessment of the current infrastructure for training and suggest improvement for quality training.

  • Ways to build skills within the Ministry and its agencies for its own research, monitoring, data generation, regulatory impact assessment, compliance assurance, public consultation etc related tasks.

  • Assess the ways to work with other scientific agencies and stakeholders within and outside the government sector to build capacity for training of the staff and the trainers.

  • Recommendations for capacity building and training have been made to cover the following regulatory segments:

  • Pollution control and management and health risk assessment (air, water and hazardous waste), risk assessment, standards setting process, environmental clearance monitoring of compliance, use of economic instruments.

  • Forest and wildlife management and conservation of environmental resources which will cover land degradation, desert ecosystem, biodiversity and traditional knowledge, freshwater resources, mountain ecosystem, coastal resources, pollution abatement, among others.

  • Enabling participation and steering negotiations on international environmental treaties and bilateral cooperation on environmental matters.

  • Workshops for training college teachers on implementing the UGCs core module course on Environment.

  • Developing material as handouts for the classroom to supplement UGCs prescribed Text Book on Environment Studies.

  • Developing audio visual programs to supplement teaching the course.

  • Training for implementing the field work component and utilizing the output for developing competencies in managing local environment through data collected by the college students.

  • Support for college level activities and action programs such as greening the campus , use of canteen waste for vermicomposting, documenting local biodiversity and natural resources and documenting sustainable practices in traditional communities.

  • Support for sharing of experiences through competitions, exhibitions , quiz programs, biodiversity festivals etc.

C. TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING

6.27 Knowledge Management System in the Forestry Sector

‘Knowledge Management’ is the management of knowledge within organizations. It caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in the face of increasingly discontinuous environmental changes. Knowledge Management System (KMS) for forestry will be evolved to systematically and formally share and transfer learning concepts, best practices, innovations and other implicit knowledge among all the conservation lovers. It will provide an open and transparent way of sharing knowledge and information amongst the forestry personnel and all others persons and organizations interested in subject of forestry and environment.

Proposed Activities under the KMS


  • Developing an on-line link knowledge base (network) in which know-how is stored and is made widely accessible

  • Building thematic groups/focus areas

  • Building of sectoral best practices and making available key sectoral statistics

  • Building a directory of expertise/resource persons on different themes

  • Providing a dialogue space for professional conversations/debates/discussions

  • Establishing access and outreach to external agencies, e.g., NGOs, people and others

  • Providing access to users about relevant information

  • Establishing help desks and advisory services

  • Databases (up-to-date) managed by the State Forest Departments (SFDs)

  • Modalities for encouraging forestry personnel to develop expertise/undertake in-depth studies on topics of their interest

IGNFA has been made the nodal agency for KMS in the forestry sector. A ‘Knowledge Management Cell’ (KMC) is being established in the Academy with responsibilities for coordinating the activities of different committees on domains besides assisting the monitoring committee in suggesting policy interventions etc. This Cell will share some of the infrastructure of the IGNFA to reduce costs. It will develop and maintain the website on KMS which will have links with websites of the SFDs, various central organizations, NGOs and other related organizations. The ‘KMS’ will have database of resource persons, specialist and consultants and information on various knowledge domains and their contents such as case studies, success stories, innovations, best practices, workshop reports, project documents, working plans, video & audio records, photos etc. The infrastructure will be developed to fully operationalise the KMC in the IGNFA. The KMCs being established in the SFDs will also be strengthened by providing some financial support for outsourcing services of the data-entry operators, software development and purchase of information and communication technology and related hardware etc. The GOI will provide only catalytic support and all other expenses will be born by the SFDs. In most of the SFDs, IT Cell/Research/Extension wing already exists. To avoid duplication of works presently being done by these wings, one of such wings can establish KMC and co-ordinate the activities of KMS. The IGNFA will hold annual meetings of all the State KMC nodal officers to review the progress of KMS in different SFDs.

6.28 Exposure of Forestry Personnel to Developments at International Level

The forestry profession has gained tremendous importance in view of the recent developments and concerns expressed for protection of global environment. The forest and wildlife management being a dynamic subject, the forest officers need to keep themselves abreast of latest developments in the sector at national, regional as well as global levels. They need to broaden their horizon by availing opportunities of participating in international workshops, seminars, short-term training courses, study tours and meetings relating to forest and wildlife management, biodiversity conservation, climate change and other environmental issues etc.



6.29 Organizing/Sponsoring Courses for Other Stakeholders

Over the years, the SFDs have been managing the forest and wildlife resources mainly through policing. However, in the last two decades there has been increasing realization that these resources cannot be managed in isolation without actively involving the local people, who have larger stake in these resources including various types of rights and concessions being enjoyed by them in the forests since long. In the changing scenario in the forestry sector, local people’s participation is now considered essential for better management and conservation. It is, therefore, necessary to create awareness among the people and different stakeholders about the importance of conserving forests and their sustainable management. A number of specially designed short-term courses, study tours, workshops, seminars and interactive meetings on various aspects of forest and environmental conservation are required to be organised for different stakeholders which may include NGOs, students in educational institutions, personnel of banking institutions, nature clubs/eco-clubs, panchayats, public representatives, social activists, press and media persons etc.



6.30 Organizing/Sponsoring In-service Training for Personnel of Other Services

Forest management being a multi-disciplinary subject, it cannot be practised in isolation. Recent initiatives on eco-development have given enough lessons that there should be strong linkages between conservation and development strategies. The responsibility for providing clean environment rests with different sectors of the government as well as the society. It is in this context that the sensitization and capacity building of officers and personnel of other services on the importance of conservation of natural resources and environmental protection, is highly essential.



D. Information Management

The status of data collection for Forestry Statistics in India has not been up to the mark due to inertia on the part of State Forest Department and also due to lack of institutional framework for this. The issue of strengthening the Forestry Statistics was taken up by various forums most importantly by the National Statistical Commission, which has pointed out the current status & deficiencies and has also given recommendation for strengthening the Forestry Statistics of India. The workshop on Forestry Statistics, “FORSTAT - 1996” was held at ICFRE on 28th February, 1996 in which many important recommendations were given and several formats for data collection were finalized. Unfortunately, the data flow in these formats has reduced in the successive years. This has raised concern not only in India but also in the various International Organizations.

The non-spatial data collected by ICFRE and the spatial data collected by Forest Survey of India (FSI) forms two major components of the national forestry database. The methodology to link these up to make them compatible and synchronize them for dissemination is one of the major exercises that has to be undertaken to bring about uniformity in database management. There is a need to develop a synergy of these two organizations that can provide reliable and precise data of high integrity in time. In addition, the capacity of state forest department needs to be developed on the same line so that the data collection efforts of the Central Warehouse and the data providing efforts of State Forest Department dovetail at some point.

As part of the recommendation of the Sub-Group on Information Management, capacity building in forest informatics at the Central and State level needs to be looked at critically. As has been mentioned in the earlier chapters that a central organization (FSI/ICFRE) who will be the repository of all forestry related data will be the nodal point for collection, analysis and dissemination of both spatial and non-spatial data. The data flow will be from the concerned forest divisions to the Sate Forest Department headquarters and the on to the Central Nodal Organisation. Dissemination of data will follow the reverse route.

To achieve the above, it is mandatory to strengthen both the Central Organisation (FSI/ICFRE) as well as State Forest Departments (SFDs) in terms of manpower and infrastructure which will include both hardware and software. The important tasks to be carried out by different focal points for data collection and the requirement in terms of staff, training, equipment are highlighted below:



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