Forest policy of Punjab
Enterprise and endeavor, these two words symbolize the essential spirit of the people of Punjab.
Since Independence, over 5 decades, the state has earned its epithet: "of Granary India" through the enterprising spirit, and untiring toil of its people.
Its average growth rate of 10% is amongst the highest in the country, clearly reflecting the progressive economy of the state.
Punjab also boasts a 58% literacy rate and the highest per capita income in India.
Today's Punjab has become a land of boundless opportunities, offering distinct advantages for investment and industry.
Since the recent liberalization of India's economy, Punjab has started making its mark on the global business mainstream,
with major players from various corner of the world forming joint ventures in the field of agri-business.
Privileged by nature and the dynamism of its people, Punjab is a land of rivers, fertile soils and steady achievement.
With its inimitable style of transforming every potential opportunity into a success story,
the state was the first to translate agricultural technology into the "green revolution", recording highest growth rate in food production.
From a minor producer it emerged a major rice surplus state. Providing the impetus for the "White revolution", during Operation Flood,
it was Punjab that recorded the highest per capita availability of milk.
Today's Punjab has over 2.04 lakhs of small and medium industries and about 600 large scale industries.
It leads in the manufacture of machine and hand tools; printing and paper cutting machinery; auto parts and electrical switch gear.
The state also provides more than 75% of the country's requirement for bicycles, sewing machines, hosiery and sports goods.
At par with the highest quality standards in the world, these products have carved a niche for themselves in markets across the globe.
The State of Punjab shares the national vision of sustainable management of forests to meet the needs of present and future generations.
This vision has following characteristics : The total area under the forest and tree cover is increased through forestation and land use diversification.
The forest resources are well protected and managed to retain their integrity and biodiversity using modern technologies and scientific knowledge.
The forest resources are managed in an eco-sensitive and sustainable manner to optimize all types of benefits to the society.
Forest management is effective and responsive to the society, which has a sound perception of importance of the State’s forests and participates in their protection and sustainable management.
To achieve the State’s forestry vision, the mission of the Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation will be:
To increase the area under forests and tree cover from present 6.3% to 15% of the State’s geographical area.
To protect, conserve and improve the State’s forests and other natural resources for improving the quality of soil, air and water.
To practice sustainable forestry based on sound principles of sustainable forest management through use of modern technologies and scientific knowledge.
To protect, conserve and enhance the wildlife and remnant biodiversity resources of the State by developing a suitable Protected Area Network.
To promote non-timber uses of forests such as eco-tourism, Non-Timber Forest Produce, medicinal plants and biodiversity.
To practice socially-inclusive forestry and solicit cooperation and participation of the rural and forest dependent
communities and other stakeholders in greening the State.
To provide technical assistance, financial incentives and extension services to the people for promoting social forestry,
agro forestry and tree farming for land use diversification.
To implement Government policies and programmes by adopting innovative approaches for optimizing social,
economic and environmental benefits from the forestry sector to the state and its people.
Basic Principles of Forest Policy :
The forest resources of the state are an environmental resource and not a revenue-earning source.
Therefore the forest resources of the State need to be protected, conserved and enhanced for gaining maximum environmental benefits for the society.
To achieve this:
Utilize modern technologies to streamline the forestry administration and scientific management of forests.
Apply scientific research and knowledge for improving vegetation cover and productivity of State Forests.
Protect the existing forest areas through proper survey, demarcation and raising of appropriate boundary fencing, pillars or wall and trench as per local requirement
Forest area of Punjab
The forest cover in Punjab is 3.14 per cent of the total area.
As per the latest report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), the dense forest cover in Punjab has decreased by whopping 80,600 hectares.
The vested interests cleverly concealed the figures that reveal the real picture of the state of the forests in Punjab.
The worst affected districts in terms of forest cover depletion are:
Ferozpur that has witnessed 111 per cent depletion, Amritsar 106 per cent,
Hoshiarpur 84 per cent, Bathinda 76 per cent, Gurdaspur 21 per cent and Ludhiana 55 per cent during the period extending from 2001 to 2003.
Hoshiarpur district comprised of 22 per cent of the total state forest cover as per the 2001 forest survey report.
However, in just two years the percentage of forest in the district has gone down to 18 percent.
The dense forest areas in Hoshiarpur have gone down by 51 sq km.
INTERESTINGLY, on the World Environment Day, 2005, the Department of Forests, publicized in leading newspapers,
claiming that the forest cover in the state increased from 1,387 sq km in 1997 to 1,580 sq km in 2003.
However, the department deliberately concealed the figures as regards the forest cover in 2001.
As per the Forest Survey of India report, the forest cover in the state in 2001 was 2,432 sq km.
It included 1,549 sq km dense forest cover and 883 sq km open forest cover.