Forest Protection Groups

The State of Andhra Pradesh has a forest area of 6.3 million ha, managed by about 300 professional and 3000 technical staff. The Forest Department has more than 100 years of forest management tradition but during TDP regime, the State saw a

—) Record in forest development
—) Development through Forest Protection Groups
—) Forest Development Plan with Rs 600 Cr.

The Telugu Desam Government had taken various schemes for the protection of forests. The indiscriminate felling of trees has been leading to environmental degradation and drastic change in the life style of the forest dwellers both socially and economically. Realising the ill-effects, the government has held many discussions to spread the message and awareness of forest and ecological conservation. With the help of those living close to the forests, the government had undertaken forest protection on a large scale. For the protection of 64 lakh hectare forest land, it is even taking the World Bank help. The cover for forest development and conservation has increased manifold.

In 1994, with financial assistance from a World Bank project, the state’s Forest Department initiated a major effort to improve its forestry programme. The project includes components focusing on forest management; plant propagation; research and training; joint forest management; biological diversity conservation; fodder development, and tribal development. The project is providing incremental inputs in equipment and materials, physical facilities, staff training, technical services and technical expertise to carry out basic surveys, formulate strategic investment plans, develop timely and adequate working plans and monitor their implementation.

It is supporting the development within the forest administration of a broad base of basic skills in computer data processing and in the use of satellite and other imagery for survey and mapping needed for the formulation of strategic plans and local operational plans. It provides financial assistance for improving the facilities for data collection, management and analysis and is also funding special surveys related to high-priority production and conservation areas within Andhra Pradesh’s forest estate as well as to forest production on non-forest areas. All of these activities are being developed within the framework of an integrated management information system.

In October 1994, within the context of the larger effort, the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department signed a special agreement with FAO to provide the following services through the capacity-building project:

—)  Conduct a relatively small-scale and low-cost, statewide forest survey based on remote sensing and limited field data;
—)  Establish a GIS with the specific capacity to guide activities in joint forest management;
—)  Improve planning capacity and computer infrastructure in order to permit the implementation of a new forest management system.

Results

—)  The development of forest grew from 10,000 hectares in 1995 to 17.36 in 2003.
—)  Establishment of 1500 training classes for members of forest protection groups.
—)  The forest conservation area grew from one lakh hectares in 1995 to 16.65 lakhs in 1999.
—)  Development of 17.36 lakh hectares through integrated forest management
—)  21 deep forests,4 national parks to be maintained in 1300 sq kilometers.
—)  Rs 500 to Rs 10000 reward for those providing information of illegal poaching of wild life.