New Delhi, May 13 : S. Regupathy, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, today said that forests, which were previously viewed as a resource for consumption, are now considered a resource for conservation.
Inaugurating a four-day International Workshop on Forest Products Statistics in India here, Regupathy said that with the ever increasing demands for forests products from the richest to the poorest, there is a lot of pressure on the forests.
"Forestry has left the environs of wilderness and sector has spread in other areas in the form of plantations, agro-forestry, cultivation of medicinal plants. The sector has been expanded to include entities other than State Forest Departments and made significant inroad in contributing to the national economy," he said.
Referring to the systematic parameters of meticulously laid out permanent sample plots, details of loggings and forest produce, the Minister added that with the advancement of technology, the reporting has now become more meticulous and expertise dependent.
He said the forestry structure is about to witness a renaissance in technological adaptation in its working, adding that this is the most appropriate time to organise this workshop.
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, Dehradun, 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 collection 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 constructing a concrete plan for development of a national forestry database management system.