Social Forestry – know what it is

The term ‘social forestry’ first came into existence in India in the year 1976. It was coined by the National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India. The aim was to share the load of forests with all other unused and fallow lands closed to human settlement for an ecologically sustainable future.

The Government of India had observed that forests particularly closer to the human settlement had deteriorated over the years due to increased activities of humans. Thus, there was a need for more plantations which could stretch to unused land like the ones beside the agricultural fields, rail tracks, rivers and roads. Many other portions of land were identified for social forestry like the Government’s wasteland, common land of the villages, panchayat land etc.

Benefits of social forestry scheme on humans

The rise in population has led to more demand for fuel wood, fodder, timber etc. The pressure on the forests has been mounting high. Degeneration of forests means degeneration of the healthy environments of humans as well as other living species. The government came up with the social forestry scheme so that the citizens realize and participate in afforestation of unused lands and also help restoration of degraded forests. Humans can enjoy benefits of following types of forestry under social forestry:

  • Agro-forestry – same piece of land is used to grow food crop and also for orchard farming and livestock ranching with good agricultural management techniques
  • Community forestry – fertilizers and seeds are provided by government to communities so that they can together maintain the community forest 
  • Farm forestry – trees are grown for commercial and non-commercial purposes
  • Extension forestry – forestry on all wastelands along the roads, rail tracks, river canals etc.

The benefits would be in the form of climate change and generation of employment opportunities by selling forest products apart from ofcourse the health benefits. 

Impact of social forestry on health

Forests are excellent for the ecosystem of the rural as well as urban areas. The temperature gets regulated, there is air-filtration and many kinds of medicinal plants are grown. Forestry creates a good visual environment which plays a great role in good mental health. People find the sight of forest very soothing for their overall cognitive and physiological well-being. If there are any four kinds of social forestry around (agro, community, farm or extension forestry), it stimulates physical activity which in return helps in dealing with contemporary health issues like obesity, diabetes and coronary diseases. Forest is a therapy in itself! Find it for yourself.

Tags : #socialforestry #socialforestryscheme #agroforestry #communityforestry #farmforestry #extensionforestry #healthbenefitsofsocialforestry

About the Author


Amrita Priya

The love for life-long learning brings me to this platform. There can be nothing better than learning from the experts when; it comes to; the domain of wellness and health-care. I am a writer who has loved exploring different mediums for the past two decades, be it the expression of ideas through books, magazine columns, newspaper articles, or digital content. This project is yet another satisfying avenue that keeps me hooked to the art of disseminating valuable information and in, this process enhancing the lives of fellow human beings and myself. You can write to me at [email protected]

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