Forests And Forestry

by | Jul 15, 2023 | Forest Management

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Forests are more than just trees – they are living ecosystems that have a profound impact on our planet. Managing and caring for these forests, known as forestry, is crucial for their well-being and the benefits they provide. From the breathtaking biodiversity they harbor to the critical role they play in mitigating climate change, forests and forestry are subjects of immense importance and global concern.

In this introductory chapter, we will explore the importance of forests, learn about the history of forest management, and discuss the challenges we face in protecting these valuable resources. Join us as we discover the wonders of forests and the practices that help sustain them.

History of Management of Forests

Forest management is described as the implementation of scientific, technical, and financial principles in forestry to increase the number of people who benefit.

Forest management is a branch of forestry that deals with organizational, legal, economic, and social issues, as well as scientific and technological issues like silviculture, forest protection, and forest regulation.

Historical Background of Forest Management in the USA

The Office of Special Agent in the United States Department of Agriculture was established in 1876 by Congress to assess the quality and conditions of the country’s forests. The Division of Forestry was established by the Department of Agriculture in 1881.

A decade later, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which gave the President the authority to designate public lands in the West as “forest reserves.”

The Department of the Interior was in charge of these reserves until 1905, when President Theodore Roosevelt transferred them to the Department of Agriculture’s new United States Forest Service. As the agency’s first Chief, Gifford Pinchot was tasked with looking after the newly renamed national forests.

Historical Background of Forest Management in India

Sustainable management and Forest conservation principles were well-known in prehistoric India. In Vedic forestry, the productive and protective aspects of forestry were emphasized. The Atharva Vedic teachings emphasize the importance of forest and other resource sustainability.

Worshipping and protecting forests and trees was quite common during Emperor Ashoka’s period (273-232 BC) and the Indus Valley civilization (3000 to 1700 BC) due to its higher medicinal benefits and a great boost for sustaining humanity.

Sir Dietrich Brandish took over as the first Inspector General of Forests in 1864 and began working to manage the Indian forests. He was known as the Father of Tropical Forestry because of his dedication and devotion.

To achieve the above goals, the Indian government recommended reorganizing state forestry departments and promoting the concept of social forestry in 1976.

The 1988 National Forest Policy, which focused on ensuring environmental stability, restoring ecological balance, and preserving the remaining forests, emphasized the importance of forests in the national economy and ecology.

Forest Geography of the World

A forest is defined as an area covered by trees growing to a height of at least five metres (16 feet) and covering at least 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres)—roughly the size of an American football field. Forests thrive in cold, temperate, and tropical climates and encompass around 31% of the world’s geographical area.

Forests occupy 31% of the total surface area on the planet. Moreover, a third of the forest is primary forest, and around half is quite intact. Forests cover 4.06 billion hectares or around 5000 meters square (or 50 x 100m) each person; however, they are not evenly distributed over the world.

Only five nations (Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America, and China) account for more than half of the world’s woods, with the other 10 accounting for two-thirds (66 per cent).

The area inhabited by forests globally dropped by 1% between 1990 and 2015, with the majority of the losses occurring in the tropics. According to scientists, deforestation to convert tropical forests to agricultural land will surely continue as human populations grow.

However, the extent of certain forests has grown, owing to the replanting of trees in particular places. If the area is nourished and safeguarded from future timber removal, forests may naturally replace themselves.

Forests and Forestry

Emerging Trends of Forest Management in the USA and India


Over the last decade, forestry practices in the United States have changed dramatically. These developments have mostly been brought about by the federal and state governments issuing and enforcing rules. Forest lands in the United States are owned by both private individuals and the government (federal, state, and municipal governments).

The federal government is responsible for forest practices in private and state-owned areas. While these governmental regulations on federal, state, and private property are legally separate, the activities of one governmental entity have a significant impact on the actions of the other.

In recent decades, two distinct but interconnected influences have conspired to alter forestry practices in the United States drastically.

The first was a growing environmental consciousness among a politically influential and outspoken portion of the public, which resulted in a flurry of environmental legislation in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Secondly, at the federal level, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (US Laws, Statutes, etc., Public Law 91-190) required the federal government to conduct a detailed assessment of the costs and benefits (including environmental effects) of all federally financed activities. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 established government policy that species would be preserved, and the National Forest Management Act of 1976 required the federal government to conduct a detailed assessment of cost.


Forestry is an important rural sector and a significant environmental resource in India as it is one of the world’s top 10 forest-rich countries. India and the other nine countries account for 67 per cent of the world’s total forest area. India’s forest cover increased by 0.20 per cent per year from 1990 to 2000 and by 0.7 per cent per year from 2000 to 2010.

The forest cover of the country covers any patches of land with a tree canopy density of more than 10% and an area of more than 1 hectare, regardless of land use, ownership, or tree type. The country’s total forest cover is 7,12,249 square kilometres or 21.67 per cent of its overall geographical area.

In India, scientific forestry began in 1856 and advanced to a high level during colonial times. After independence, management practices were improved even further, with the focus staying on long-term wood output from state forest reserves.

A paradigm change from low-investment, slow-growing forestry to high-investment, fast-growing forestry occurred in the mid-1970s under the National Commission on Agriculture. The National Forest Policy of 1988 introduced participatory forest management, which slowed but did not totally eliminate forest loss.

Two trends have emerged in recent years: 1) agroforestry produces much more wood than state forests, and 2) non-timber forest products have grown more important than timber. These developments will promote India’s Planning Commission’s plan for quicker, more inclusive growth.

Modern Tools and Techniques in Forestry

Forest management is one of the sectors which is profiting due to technological advancements. Another industry that might profit from these technological advancements is forest management.

An intelligent and compatible network of devices networked through a dynamic, universal infrastructure network may be established based on the Internet of Things idea to connect and exchange data across places at any time. These technology-driven smart sensors have the potential to help India’s forests be preserved while also giving data that can help with more sustainable forest management. These smart sensors can use predictive analytics to aid in sustainable forest management and conservation techniques by utilizing data on soil and weather conditions.

1. Monitoring Through Smart Sensors

For some years, discussions at the international level have centred on the use of “forest-smart interventions” to monitor forest action plans. In this sense, some countries have shown to be trailblazers. In Brazil, for example, where forests comprise around 64% of the total land area, the start-up Treevia created the SmartForest remote forest monitoring system in 2014.

2. Building a Database

Climate parameters such as humidity, rainfall, and sunshine may be monitored remotely using sensors and remote sensing devices. When sensors are placed in the soil, sensors can monitor moisture, groundwater level, and nutrients, allowing for the appropriate action to be performed.  Artificial intelligence can operate as an early warning system for situations other than forest fires, such as droughts, floods, and storms, which are typically neglected by satellites because the locations they monitor are often distant.

IoT, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and Big Data analytics are being progressively embraced globally in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, and environmental management. Green bots can be used to gather data and improve policymakers for activities like poaching and illicit logging that are difficult to detect using remote sensing. They can also promote openness and accountability in this way.

Read More: Tools and Applications in Forest Management

Forest Mapping and Statistics

Forest mapping is a critical problem for every National Forest Inventory and a significant source of information for assessing forest resources (NFI). New possibilities for automated forest mapping are developing as a result of recent advances in remote sensing data and methodologies.

The Forest Survey of India uses satellite data to examine the country’s forest cover mapping every two years. The major goal is to offer information on the country’s forest resources at the state and district levels, as well as to create 1:50,000-scale forest cover maps.

Thematic maps include maps of rainfall, forest distribution, and industry dispersion, among other things. On the basis of the information presented in these maps, appropriate titles are assigned. Distance, direction, and symbol are the three components of maps.

Thematic maps are among the greatest forest-related maps in FSI. Various State Forest Departments utilise these maps for stock map updates, working plan preparations, forest resource management, and land use planning.

Exploratory geographical data analysis, verifying hypotheses, synthesising spatial data by showing patterns and linkages, and data presentation may all be done with thematic maps.

Historical analysis, stand inventories, soil types, changing weather patterns, and land-use practices may all be utilized to analyse conditions using GIS in forest mapping. Users may test and assess ideas in both temporal and geographical settings using modelling. Forest managers might use geospatial information to provide a baseline for reviewing strategies.

FSI Report Year-Wise>>>

Forestry Training and Education

Forestry education serves as a bridge between people and the environment. It has the capacity to bridge the gap between social, economic, and political sciences. The National Commission on Agriculture (NCA, 1976), under the Ministry of Agriculture, proposed the establishment of forestry education in India in 1986 for better forest conservation, natural resource management, and environmental protection, which was properly released in the third National Forest Policy of India in 1988.

Promoting forestry education in the country can help to diversify and integrate biodiversity, ecology, and management knowledge on a shared platform. With their knowledge, forestry graduates might contribute to the development of a knowledge-driven scientific working plan for managing forest resources and contributing to carbon trading and climate change mitigation. By growing the forest area and accomplishing the aims of forest cover, forestry graduates may contribute to the country’s economic viability and livelihood security. This can help the country’s current GDP in certain ways.

Education and training in forestry assist management practitioners in broadening their horizons and facilitating the mobility of services in accordance with scientific principles. Forestry and environmental education is critical, and it should be thorough and practical, covering all aspects of the many issues that must be addressed. In India, forestry education and training began in the early twentieth century, and the current system is well-tailored to produce skilled forest managers who can manage, protect, and conserve forests in accordance with the National Forest Policy, 1988, and the National Forestry Action Programme, 1999.

Also Read: Is Amazon Rainforest Dying? Detailed Report


  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.


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