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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1996

SOCIAL FORESTRY AS AN ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY FOR FORESTRY PLANTATION DEVELOPMENT

T Hewage
Forest Sector Development Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forestry

The alarming trend of deforestation and forest degradation has created the need to adopt alternative strategies for sustainable forest plantation development. It is widely accepted that planting activities undertaken by the forest Department (FD) alone are inadequate to create the tree cover necessary to meet all the wood related needs of the country. Studies conducted for the preparation of the Forestry Sector Master Plan (FSMP) have revealed that about 60% of the country's wood supply is derived from non - forest wood resources and that this trend would continue for the next 25 years.

In these circumstances, ways and means of increasing the role of the rural population in tree growing have to be found in order to intensify the non- wood forest resources. In keeping with the government's economic policy, ways of involving local organised farmers, estate sector, organised communities and other local private sector groups in forest plantation establishment and management must be developed and promoted.

The National Forestry Policy ( NFP ) of 1995 , already includes provisions to give emphasis to the promotion of social forestry under three main policy statements:

Tree growing on homesteads and other agroforestry will be promoted as a main strategy to supply wood and other forest products for meeting household and market needs.
The establishment, management and harvesting of industrial forest plantations by local people,communities,industries and others in the private sector will be promoted.
The state will promote tree growing by local people, rural communities, NGOs and other non - state sector bodies, for the protection of environmentally sensitive areas.

In order to give effect to these policies ,several far reaching strategies have been proposed under the FSMP such as allowing home gardens and other agroforestry systems on leased degraded or deforested state land, introduction of incentives to encourage the maintenance of home gardens and conversely to discourage the conversion of home gardens to other land uses etc. Various types of institutional support including credit, technical assistance and research will be provided as required for the development of social forestry by state agencies who will work with the rural people.



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