JFM - People's Participation
The National Forest Policy-1988 prescribes the strategy of Joint Forest Management (JFM) for protecting forests with the active involvement of the local people. The JFM is based on the principle of 'Care and Share'. The people are encouraged to protect forests in lieu of which they are permitted a share in the usufructs from the forests so protected. West Bengal is a pioneer in the field of JFM in India with about 4300 Forest Protection Committees (FPCs) and 115 Eco-Development Committees (EDCs) comprising about 5,10,000 members who provide protection to about 6460 sq km of forests i.e. about 54% of the total forest area of the State.
The WBFDCL seeks to promote JFM in various ways. There are 64 FPCs with about 3900 members in Kalimpong Division under the direct control of the Corporation. The WBFDCL employs members of the FPCs in timber harvesting operations and plantation activities in various parts of the State. The WBFDCL is responsible for marketing of timber harvested from the government forests and a substantial part of the revenue earned by the Corporation is shared with the FPC members in North and South Bengal in accordance with the directives of the State Government. The WBFDCL also helps the FPC / EDC members in marketing of NTFPs collected by them, in particular the honey collected from the Sundarbans. The WBFDCL also engages the members of the FPCs and EDCs in running its eco-resorts and for arranging catering facilities for the tourists. They are employed as tourist-guides. They are also encouraged to arrange transport facilities for the tourists. In many areas, the local people provide 'home-stays' for tourists, run their own resorts and manage picnic sites. They run small shops on the fringe of eco-resorts and sell local handicrafts to the tourists as souvenirs.
The WBFDCL views JFM as an effective tool for making the local people a stake-holder of the forests and other natural assets in their vicinity and ensuring their continuous support in protecting the same.
West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Limited
KB19 Sector-III, Salt Lake, Kolkata - 700098
Ph No. : 033 23350064 / 033 23358320
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