Criteria and Indicator (C&I) Approach for Sustainable Management of Natural Forests in India | Original Article
Forests of India have been managed scientifically since 19th century. Forest policy of India has been guiding the sector to manage natural forests of the country sustainably. During the early and mid twentieth century, forests were managed on the principles of sustainable yield management. In the later stages of the century, the sector adopted progressive yield management to meet the requirements of forest industries besides demands from railways and domestic sector. Forests of India have been losing its productivity due to many reasons. One of the known reasons is being the poor investment and non-participation of local community in the management, who have been the bonafide users of forests. Due to loss of forest productivity, non-continuous flow of goods and services, these local communities are losing their livelihood base. Ecological and economic aspects of forests have been addressed under the comprehensive forest division level plan (working plan). But the monitoring of various initiatives of forest development and societal benefit is found to be lacking in the current system of forest management. The current system of forest accounting is not reporting the true contribution of the sector to the national economic development. Looking to these gaps and requirement of a monitoring system, the country has initiated Criteria & Indicators (C&I) approach for managing the forests sustainably. The C&I framework developed, helps to enhance stakeholders participation and define the sustainability of the forests by them. When data are collected for these indicators, and analyzed, it provides the direction of change. At the same time, it also helps to identify those aspects of management which requires more input and additional efforts. The paper demonstrate the use of C&I framework with help of a case study. The study not only enhances our knowledge about the forest resources, but also achieving the goal of sustainable forest management in the country.