Forests now a resource for consservation: S Regupathy

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New Delhi, May 13 (UNI) With ever increasing demands on forest produce from the richest to the poorest sections, there is a lot of pressure on forests, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S Regupathy today said.

Forestry has left the environs of wilderness and spread in other areas in the form of plantations, agro-forestry, cultivation of medicinal plants. The sector has expanded to include entities other than state forest departments and made a significant contribution to the national economy, he said.

Once viewed as a resource for consumption, forests are now considered a resource for conservation, he said while inaugurating a four-day international workshop on Forest Products Statistics in India.

Referring to the systematic parameters of meticulously laid out permanent sample plots, details of loggings, and forest produce, the Minister said that with the advancement of technology the reporting has now become more meticulous and based on expertise. The forestry structure was about to witness a renaissance in technological adaptation in its working, he added.

The workshop has been organised by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and is sponsored by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO). The Indian Council of Forest Research and Education, Dehra Dun, which brings out a biennial publication 'Forestry Statistics in India' covers the sectoral data comprehensively. However, there are few data gaps which are to be plugged in order to provide an exhaustive collections of figures to really understand the health of forests.

During the workshop, deliberations will be made on issues that can help in increasing the quality of forestry statistics of the country, problems being faced by the state forests departments in reporting, status of the statistical cells and their requirements, definitions of forest products and variations from them, estimates of removal of timber of all categories and production of paper and pulp, charcoal and other products. The recommendations of the workshop will be useful in drafting a roadmap for the forestry statistics in India and will help in constructing a concrete plan for development of a national forestry database management system.

The inaugural session of the workshop was addressed by Mr G K Prasad, Additional Director General of Forests, Dr Bipin Behari, Deputy Inspector General of Forests and the National Focal Point for ITTO in India , Dr Steven E Johnson, and Ms Frances Marie from ITTO and Mr Felice Padovani, Forestry Officer, FAO.

UNI SD LS RN1713

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