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in Forestry Development
important for the survival of humanity. They provide shelter, protect
agriculture, influence local climatic extremes and help preserve the fertility
and the structure of the soil preventing in its erosion. They also ensure clean
and sustained water supply and help reduce both atmospheric and noise
pollution. Apart from this, they provide fodder and fruits.
forests are essential components of landscapes they are becoming increasingly
important in terms of recreational values. What is more, it the forests
resources of a country are developed well, they can be one of the main contributors
to the economy of the country.
several advantages of forests, deforestation continues and may continue for
many years to come in our country unless concrete steps are taken on a large
scale. In the past decade alone, a quarter of the forest has been destroyed and
if the present trend persists, there will be very little vegetation cover left
by the end of the century. The existing situation demands us to bring about
development in this sector.
Due to the loss of trees and ground
cover, there has been a change in the productivity of the land reduction of
plant material leading to soil infertility, deforestation of vulnerable land
areas and their gradual destabilization. Diminishing fertile land has forced
many farmers to cultivate in fragile and marginal lands bringing about a
vicious circle because such lands have been found less stable and prone to
and forest productions are dwindling while the population growth rate is
galloping. It has been observed that the pressure on the land is greatest in
those areas which are now least capable of sustaining it
deforestation has affected everyone who depends on the land for any livelihood.
For rural women, deforestation has caused a waste of more time and energy than
what used to be spent beyond household chores and other works as they have to
gather forest products. Due to their daily involvement with resource collection
and use, rural women are found to be more aware of any reduction in the quality
or quantity of their supplies. They are also found interested in the
implications of declining resources for themselves, their families and
communities. Therefore, they are undoubtedly, a potentially receptive target
group for the commencement of any forestry program.
Forest Department’s control was not fruitful for effective forest management or
protection. Realizing the problem, community forest legislation was enacted in
1978. But studies have revealed that technical expertise and financial
assistance alone can not solve the problem. It has been increasingly recognized
that members of targeted communities should be actively engaged in checking
further destruction of forests.
past few years, community forestry programs have been launched in various parts
of the country. However, no community forestry program can be successful
without utilizing the energy of the concerned people. In each community the
people actually involved in forest-related activities have the power to
contribute to and cooperate with or resist program. The people with that power
are the women who go to forests to gather wood.
Time and job
allocations studies conducted in our country have shown that women are largely
responsible for fuel and fodder collection. More time is spent by women on
expanded economic activities including food processing, fetching water and fuel
For the past
few decades, the government has been implementing various programs with the
assistance of foreign donor agencies for combating deforestation. However, the
deteriorating condition of forest has not been improved. Blame has been laid on
spiraling population growth, slash and burn agriculture, low peoples
participation in plant protection and frequent change of government policies.
No doubt, these factors contribute
a lot to forest degradation. But one more fact is worth mentioning here. Until
now no forestry program, plan or policy has specifically included women- which are
a gross oversight especially while pondering over the fact that women not only
constitute half of the total population but are also responsible for procuring
firewood and fodder products from the forests.
Rural women in many parts of our
country use traditional methods of harvesting forest products. This select and
cut method is very simple and needs no technical knowledge. It is a technique
that developed when forests were thick and plentiful. Rural women know no other
method and do not see any reason to change. They know how a tree grows and to
what purposes it can be put to but they do not see that their lopping method
prevents re-growth. Most damage is done when they collect firewood. Felled
trees are split into manageable pieces in forests, which are then carried to
has practically hindered women from participating in forest resource
development projects. For this reason, education as well as training programs
should be frequently launched in different parts of the country to get adequate
women’s participation in the forestry sector.