Social Forestry - A Brief Overview

Social Forestry means making use of unused and fallow lands so that deeper forests are safeguarded from exploitation, by using fast-growing trees to meet the needs of fodder and fuelwood. This article covers details on the 6 important benefits of social forestry and the 5 different types of social forestry. 

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Social Forestry – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

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The National Commission on Forests used the term Social Forestry in 1976. The main aim of the commission was to use land surrounding urban settlements, deforested due to human activities.

Objectives of Social Forestry

Social forestry schemes have the main objectives to

  • Improve the environment for protecting agriculture from adverse climatic factors
  • Increase the supply of fuelwood for domestic use, small timber for rural housing, fodder for livestock, and minor forest produce forlocal industries,
  • Increase the natural beauty of the landscape; create recreational forests for the benefit of rural and urban populations,
  • Provide jobs for unskilled workers,
  • Effect land rehabilitation
  • Raise the standard of living and quality of life of rural and urban people.

Social Forestry – 6 Important Benefits

There are many benefits associated with Social Forestry. The 6 Important benefits are shared below.

Fight Against Global Warming

Trees have a vital role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Areas having tree cover will be much cooler than the areas without it, thus helping in reducing the energy use. Trees reduce carbon dioxide by acting as a carbon dioxide sink.

Soil Conservation

Social forestry helps in soil conservation through the following ways.

  1. Tree roots help in preventing soil erosion by holding the soil in its place. 
  2. Trees reduce soil erosion by reducing the impact of raindrops on the barren surface.
  3. Decaying leaves makes the soil richer by forming an organic layer on top and reducing the soil erosion.
  4. It also helps in increasing the capacity of soil in storing water.

Biodiversity will be Increased

Well grown trees will offer habitation for various animals, plants, shrubs, birds, insects etc. The trees become a source of food and shelter.

Health Benefits by Improving Air Quality

It helps people by removing various pollutants present in the atmosphere and gives clean and fresh air to breath. Clean air is vital for the health of human beings. Moreover, many types of trees have medicinal values.

Conservation of Energy

It provides a cooling effect to an area it has been planted. Thus it helps in reduced consumption of air conditioners, which directly reduces energy consumption. Lesser energy consumption means a lesser demand for power, which directly leads to lesser power generation through power plants that consume fossil fuels.

Social Benefits

Social forestry helps in the creation of recreation parks, which will help people destress due to busy schedules in their lives. 

Social Forestry – 5 Different Types

There are 5 different types of social forestry, which are listed below.

  1. Scientific Forestry or Silviculture 
  2. Farm Forestry
  3. Community Forestry
  4. Agro-Forestry
  5. Extension Forestry

Scientific Forestry (Silviculture)

Scientific forestry focuses on replacing and replanting of new crops and trees. The various objectives of scientific forestry are listed below.

  1. Afforestation in blank areas
  2. Trying to increase raw materials for forest-based industries.
  3. Increase employment opportunities.
  4. Production of high-quality timber species
  5. Raise species which will give more economic value
  6. Ensuring soil conservation

Farm Forestry

Farm forestry is the management of trees for a specific purpose within a farming context. Benefits offered by farm forestry range from improving the environment, maintenance of soil, water; additional earnings, providing shelter and pasture for animals.

Community Forestry

It refers to the planning, managing and harvesting of forest crops by the local population. The purpose is to boost the involvement and reward local people. This is a village-level forestry activity.


It is a combination of agriculture and tree growing activity with an objective of producing agricultural products and tree products on a commercial basis. This method of forestry helps in increasing the productivity, economic benefits, social outcomes and the ecological goods and services.

Extension Forestry

This type of forestry helps in increasing the boundaries of the forests. Planting of trees on the government wastelands, panchayat lands, village common lands. 

Social Forestry – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

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