Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


Xu Chuande


Mr. Xu Chuande is a Program Officer, Department of Afforestation,
State Forestry Administration in People's Republic of China. He finished
his Bachelors Diploma in Forestry,in 1992 from Northeast Forestry
University, in Harbin, China. He is currently doing his Postgraduate Study
in Agriculture Economy and Administration from China Renmin University,
Beijing, China..

I am very pleased to attend the International Conference on Timber Plantation held in Manila. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Philippine's Forest Management Bureau for their hospitalities.

The 20th century was the time for rapid development of the industrial world and vast accumulation of wealth. It was also the time when forests were destroyed and decreased sharply in terms of forest area. In the past 50 years, the world forest cover fell in consecutive years with an annual loss of 22.49 million hectares. It has become a more and more concerned issue whether timber plantation can meet the demand of sustainable development of human society.

Now I would like to elaborate on the planning and development of timber plantation in China.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese government has paid great attention to forestry development and made "Planting trees and afforestating the country", a basic state policy. Over the past 50 years and especially after the reform and opening up policy was adopted, proceed from environment and development, the construction of forest ecological system was emphasized on the forest ecological programs. The forest industrial system was based on developing fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. Increasing resources, building vitality and gaining benefit were leading core to deepen reform and opening up policy and accelerate development so as to make break through in the process of China's forestry construction.

1. The achievements in China forestry construction

According to the 5th forest resources inventory, the forest area in China totals 158.941 million hectares, of which the standing stock volume totals to 12.49 billion m3, and forest cover 16.55% which is almost twice as that of the early founding of China. The timber forest reaches 46.667 million hectares ranking the first in the world. The stock volume of plantation is 1.01 billion m3. The timber plantation covers an area of 81.25 million hectares with the stock volume of 6.76 billion m3. It can be a milestone that 12 provinces and autonomous regions such as Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan and so on have almost eliminated barren hills. In recent years, the plantation area grows 4.2 million hectares per year, afforestation by aerial seeding 600,000 hectares, regeneration by hill-closing 4 million hectares. The fast development of China forestry plays an important role in improving ecological environment, expediting regeneration of forest resources and facilitating economic development.

In order to regenerate forest resources and ease the conflict between timber supply and demand, China launched a campaign to develop large-scale timber plantation and establish fast-growing and high-yielding timber base. This campaign has made progress. During the past 20 years, the total area of newly afforestated timber plantation reached 53.992 million hectares accounting for 46.8% of that developed since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The afforestated fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation covers 8.324 million hectares, accounting for 15.4% of the timber plantation in the same period. Timber plantation base scatters in the provinces east to the 400mm isohyet. Southwestern Shandong Province, Jiayu of Hubei Province and Yanxin Poplar high elliottii, Chinese fir Cunninghamia laceolata base in southeastern Guizhou, Anhui Province, Zhejiang Province and Jiangxi Province have been initially established and gained significant economic and ecological benefit.

The establishment of the fast-growing and high-yielding plantation has helped to enhance Chinese afforestation technology and turned advanced technology into productive force. It has also promoted administration level in forest production, adjusts agricultural industrial structure and increases forest comprehensive benefit.

2. Experiences in the establishment of China timber plantation

2.1 Enhancing awareness and expediting development of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation based on the practical situation.

The world's current annual consumption of timber per capita is 0.68 m3, while China's annual consumption of timber per capita is only 0.12 m3 accounting for one fourth of the world's. Along with the economic development, demand for timber is steadily increasing and the gap between demand and supply is widening. In addition, China's conservation program of protecting natural forests was launched in 1998. In 1999, the great development strategy to the west was taken out. In western region, the priority was focused on forestry ecological construction. The allowable cut on natural forests was greatly reduced and the policy of converting cultivated land into forest land and afforestating barren hills was implemented. To satisfy the demand for timber in the economic booming, China has to spend lots of foreign currency to import timber. Due to the current situation and the decrease of domestic timber supply, it is imperative to accelerate the establishment of fast growing and high-yielding timber plantation base in the eastern region so as to relieve the conflict of demand and supply.

2.2 Mapping out master plan to guide the establishment of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation all over the country

In late 1980s, the Chinese Government decided that, in the next 30 years, fast-growing and high-yielding timber bases of 20 million ha would be established which, along with the approval of the Guidelines of National Afforestation 1989-2000 by the State Council became the basis for guiding the establishment of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. It is projected to develop 20 vast regions, 5 state-owned forest farms growing 7.98 million hectares fast-growing, and high-yielding timber plantation. In the procedures for project proposal compilation, feasibility study, project approval, master plan, operational plan, operation management, inspection and acceptance, record keeping and so on. The quality of afforestation has been greatly enhanced and rate was higher. During the past 12 years in implementing the Guidelines, the fast-growing and high-yielding plantation developed at an annual pace of 463,000 hectares.

2.3 Mobilizing financial resources through multi-channels to develop fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation.

Establishing a fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation requires advanced technology and substantial input. In the light of the practical situation and under the guidance of the state policy, financial resources from various channels have been mobilized to facilitate the development. Since 1976, the Government has allocated 20 million RMB every year as a special account for establishing a timber plantation base of Chinese fir, Cunninghamia laceolata, in 9 provinces in South China. In 1980, the grant was increased to 40 million RMB per year and the experimental area was expanded to 12 basic construction investments to set up a cross-province operated pilot spot to produce fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. From 1986, the Government gave loans with subsidized interests to forest projects, over 40% of which was spent in the establishment of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. The annual investment was 300 million RMB and it was increased to 500 million RMB in 1990, which gave constructive support to the development of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. In 1990, the government started to use loans from the World Bank to construct fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. The first phase of the program was US$300 million and US$ 200 million in the second phase from 1996. The timber plantation produced in the two phases altogether covered 2.5 million hectares. Along with it, local community has mobilized financial input through various channels to support timber plantation construction.

2.4 Focusing on site management and project administration

Establishing fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation has high requirement to land liable to forest and site condition. The area to be developed for timber plantation includes 20 regions and 5 state-owned forest farms, which are quite close. They will form a relatively large-scale timber plantation base when afforestated. For instance, the timber plantations in Hainan Province and Zhanjiang region in Guandong Province have joined covering 150,000-200,000 hectares with an annual production of 500,000 - 600,000 m3. The establishment of timber plantation is administered under project procedure. When the pilot spot for fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation base was set up, the former Ministry of Forestry, from 1985 to 1989, issued Master Plan and Operational Methods for Fast-growing and High-yielding Timber Plantation Base, and Temporary Measures on Seedling Management in Fast-growing and High-yielding Timber Plantation Base. In 1987, the National Afforestation Program Meeting was held and the technical standard of the program was further regulated. The foresters first need to submit feasibility report. After assessment and approval, it is required to make operation plan and then carry out program according to the plan. The inspection and acceptance of the program will be undertaken in accordance with the criteria and the expenses will be reimbursed when the tasks were finished. The forestry programs funded by World Bank Loans require reimbursement, that is, to reimburse the expenses according to the completed afforestation area. In this regard, it will ensure the quality of the plantation and the afforestation will be accomplished in due time. The rate of the qualified forests could reach over 85%.

2.5 Establishing multi-species timber base oriented at market and directional cultivation

The demand for timber is diverse, ranging from construction timber, paper-making timber to industrial material. With the development of booming economy and the living standard, the requirement of timber supply for furnishing and decoration becomes higher and the demand for rare species is increasing. Through the past decade's effort, the plantation species became diverse, such as Eucalyptus, Slash pine Pinus elliottii, Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda, Masson's pine Pinus massoniana, Chinese fir Cunninhamia laceolata, Dawn Redwood Metasequia glyptostroboides, Paulownia, Poplar, Korean Pine Pinus koreaiensis, Larch, Locust. The rate species are Manchurian Catalpa Catalpa bungei, Mourning cypress Cupressus funnebris, Suren Toona Toona sureni, Manchurian Ash Fraxinus mandshurica, Amur Cork-tree Phellodendron amurense, Manchurian Walnut Juglans mandshurica etc. Monoculture pattern of Chinese fir grown in the south and Poplar grown in the north have been changed. Along with it, directional cultivation is also undertaken. For instance, in Hainan and Guangdong Provinces Eucalyptus for paper-making has been cultivated. Veneer glued wood and timber for paper-making come from the Poplar suited for the South grown in the plain along the riverside of Yangtzi River. Large timber like Chinese fir and Masson's pine are also under cultivation. These efforts combine the timber plantation development with the market demand and increase the economic benefit.

2.6 Give resilience to forestry with science and technology to enhance the quality and benefit of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation.

Science and technology are must for productivity. Compared with those in developed countries, China's forestry is relatively backward for its low content of science and technology. Since the reform and opening up policy was adopted, the priority in enhancing forestry science and technology has been focused on selected seeds. World Bank forestry program requires that the seeds, elite clone and seedlings by tissue culture come from the seed orchid, parent tree and provenance orchid. Seedlings should be of first class. The State Technical Monitoring Administration has issued the national criteria for major species used in fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation. The local community has also strengthened the construction of selected seeds base. For instance, in Hubei province there are 13 seed orchids, 6 parent tree gardens and 9 scion plucking nurseries. In the south and southeastern part of Guizhou Province, the seed orchids for Chinese fir and Masson's pine have been established covering 267 hectares, and the genetic benefit could be increased by 15%-25%. The second point is to ensure operation quality. It is required that construction be undertaken on the basis of operation plan and achieve favored tree for suitable land. Likewise, site preparation, qualified professional team and the practice of labeling the trees with the name of the sponsors guarantee the quality and effect of the plantation. The third measure is to disseminate practical technology, such as PT fungi root, ABT root-growing powder which all have achieved good results. In the World Bank forestry program, the extensive application of fertilizer and the administrative measures enabled the stand to meet the indicators for fast-growing and high-yielding plantation.

Generally speaking, China's development of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation has made great progress. The technical and administrative levels have been steadily enhanced and the relevant industries have been promoted and gained significant benefit. In the meantime, it greatly improved the region's ecological environment and played an important role in the national economy and social development, which made contribution to the two systems, i.e. a relatively comprehensive ecological system and a relatively developed industrial system. However, there are still quite a few problems to solve, which are as follows:

2 Guidelines, principles, objectives and layout of China's timber plantation development

2.1 Guidelines

To comply with the socialist market economy requirements and abide by the law of nature and economic practices, with the objective of sustainable development, modern forestry construction and the establishment of a relatively advanced forestry industrial system, the ecological, social and economic benefits have been greatly enhanced. Relying on the technology advancement, differentiated management, directional cultivation and intensive management have been implemented to develop fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation, industrial material plantation of short rotation and rare species timber plantation. It is aimed to expedite establishing a fast-growing, high-yielding, high quality, stable and productive timber plantation base to measure up to the demand for timber and its product in the national economic construction and social development.

2.2 Basic principles

i. Adjusting measures to local conditions, giving prominence to priority and efficiency, dual track on new planting and transformation

ii. Favored tree for suitable land, regional development, large scale management, and directional cultivation, promoting industrialization of the timber base.

iii. Depending on science and technology, implementing project procedures and intensive management, high quality and efficiency, integrating production base with relevant enterprises

iv. Multi-channel and multi-form of financial mobilization. Those who invest and develop get the benefit. Absorbing extensively the investment from home and abroad, allowing various kinds of economic components to exist.

v. Laying emphasis on economic return and unifying the benefits from the three sides of economy, society and ecology.

2.3 Development objective

The establishment of a fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation base has been incorporated into China Forestry Tenth Five-year Plan and 2015 Draft Development Plan and it is one of the six Foundations to be developed as priority.

The tentative plan is that by the year 2015 the fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation base develops to 9.48 million hectares, among which, the industrial material base covers 7.42 million hectares accounting for 78%, while the production base for rare and large timber covers 2.1 million hectares accounting for 22%.

The cultivation method is classified into newly established plantation that has 4.85 million hectares accounting for 51%, and transformed plantation that has 4.67 million hectares accounting for 49.2%.

From 2001 to 2005: the area of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation base to be constructed will be 4.85 million hectares, accounting for 55.6%. When it is established, the annual production of timber will be 44.289 million m3. It can support 4.5 million tons of pulp production so as to increase the home made pulp to 7 million tons. In that case, the homemade pulp production will account for 20% of the total paper making material. It will also provide 21.723 million m3 of manufactured lumber and large timber.

From 2006 to 2015: the area of fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation to be developed is 5.299 million hectares, accounting for 44.4%. When the foundation is completely set-up, it will provide annual timber production of 101.15 million m3 and support 10.2 million tons of pulp production enabling the home made pulp to reach 13-15 millions tons. In this connection, the home made pulp will account for 25% of the total paper making material. The manufactured lumber and large timber supplied will be 50.147 million m3.

2.4 General layout

In the east provinces to the equipluve of 400 mm with sound natural conditions, gentle slope terrain and the area which has no impact on the ecological environment, modern forestry technique has been put into full play. The establishment of seed production base and production of seedlings, the standardization of site management and afforestation, large scale operation of forest production and intensive management of forests have been steadily realized, which increase the supply of wood and wood product and satisfy the demand of the people's needs and economic development.

Based on the operational plan of the natural forests conservation program and the forest farms, - natural conditions, current status of forest land, market demand, the layout of relevant industries and the conditions for suited species, with the objectives of localization, large scale operation and the overall benefit, the fast-growing and high-yielding plantations are divided into 15 areas, 4 in the northeast of China, 1 in the middle and lower riches of Yellow River, 8 in the South collective forest farms and 1 in Hainan and Simao region.

The area covers 91 state-owned forest enterprises, 37 local forest administrative authorities and 18 provinces, 564 counties of prefectures such as Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and so on.

3 Measures to be adopted to establish fast-growing and high-yielding timber plantation base



Dr. Devendra Pandey

Dr. Devendra Pandey is a member of the India Forest Service since
1975. His academic qualifications are: Master's degree in Statistics
from Allahabad University (India), Post graduate Diploma (equivalent to
M.Sc.) in Forestry from Indian Forest College, Dehradum (India) and
Doctor of Forestry in Tropical Forest Plantation Resources from Swedish
University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden).

From July 1997 to October 2001, Dr. Pandey was the Director of Forest Survey of India, a premier national organization under the Union Government, responsible for forest resources assessment of the entire country. He also worked as a Director of Forest Education from July 1995 to 1997 and was responsible for directing, controlling and monitoring the training as well as education of professional level Foresters in India. Likewise, he also joined the faculty of Forest Research Institute and Colleges, Dehradum, India from 1982 to 1988.

Dr Pandey has had also a number of international experience since 1983. These include his short-term consultancies with FAO between 1992 to 1999. Just last November 2000, he joined the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) as a consultant.

Forest plantations constitute a very important part of the forest resource in India. Major portion of wood now produced in the country comes from tree plantations established within and outside forest reserves. The total production of industrial timber in the country during the early 1970s ranged between12-14 million m3, most of which came from forest reserves (Anon. 1976). Because of the increasing emphasis on the conservation of natural forests, protection of ecologically sensitive areas and ban on felling of trees from natural forests, the production of the industrial timber from forest reserves has gradually declined over the years. The present production is to the tune of about 4 million m3 (Anon 1999). Though there has been considerable reduction in the use of timber particularly, in the government sector; in railways, building construction etc due to popularisation of substitutes, like plastics, iron and concrete, the population of the country has grown by more than 50% during this period, resulting in over all increase of the requirement. To bridge the gap between the demand and supply, the government of India liberalised the import policy for timber in the early 1990s. The quantity of annually imported timber in the country at present, is around 1.5 million m3. In the absence of proper mechanism for accounting the timber produced by private planters and farmers from outside forest reserves, accurate information on its production is not available, it is estimated that the major gap is filled from plantations of such areas. According to one estimate, of the total timber production in the country, about 80% is being produced from outside forest areas under private ownership (Rai et al 1996).

Development of Plantation Forestry

The earliest plantation in India is reported to have been planted to native species teak, in 1840 at Nilambur in Kerala. Regular planting, mainly of teak, took off from 1865 in many teak growing central and southern provinces. Eucalyptus was introduced in the Nilgiri Hills of the present Tamil Nadu State in 1858. Plantation of other native species was accelerated after the taungya system was introduced in 1911 where agricultural crops are also raised along with tree seedlings for the first few years. Plantations, however, was not a regular activity until 1950.

Planned afforestation for soil conservation and for production of industrial as well as fuel wood and fodder started on a low key in the late 1950s. Industrial plantations were mainly raised within the recorded forest area after clear felling the economically less important forests. The practice continued up to Fifth Five Year Plan (1974 -79). Till then, most of the plantations were of teak (Tectona grandis), sal (Shorea robusta), deodar (Cedrus deodara), chir (Pinus roxburghii), Eucalyptus, Acacia's etc. The cumulative area of such plantations until 1979 was 3.33 million ha. The annual planting rate during 1956-79 ranged between 62,000 ha to 244,000 ha. Availability of funding remained one of the limiting factors for the growth of plantation forestry in the country.

Plantation boom in the country occurred in 1979 after the establishment of the Forest Development Corporations in the States and launching of Social Forestry Projects with the assistance of external donors. While the Forest Corporations continued planting industrially important species after clear felling of the commercially less valued forests within forest reserves, plantations under social forestry were mostly done outside forest reserves, along rail, road and canal sides, other Government wastelands, in private farm lands with short rotation species. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests prepared a 20-point programme for the development of the country where tree planting was one of the main points. The annual planting rate increased to about 1.0 million ha during 1980-85. Plantation forestry received further impetus when a National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB) within the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests was created in 1985. The annual rate of planting increased to 1.78 million ha during 1985-90. Annual plantation rate since 1991 has slightly declined to 1.5 million ha due to winding up of many externally aided social forestry projects and lack of funds from the central sector. The areas planted in Sixth, Seventh and Eighth plans were 4.65 million ha, 8.86 million ha and 7.95 million ha, respectively. The cumulative area of forest plantations from 1951 until 1999 is 31.21 million ha (NAEB 1999).

Since 1980, the targets of all kinds of afforestations were fixed by the number of seedlings under the 20-point programme. The number of seedlings was then converted into area by a notional number, 2000 seedlings equivalent to 1 ha, at the national level. The practice continued until 1990. The target since then has been split up into area and seedlings. The same notional number is used to convert seedlings distributed to private individuals and institutions into area later on. The planted area reported by the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB), a new board after reorganisation of NWDB under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, therefore, has two components; area of block plantations and area estimated by converting distributed seedlings. About 35 to 40% area of the total annual plantations are achieved by converting seedlings into area. Of the total plantations of 31.21 million ha, 10.26 million ha has been achieved by distribution of seedlings to individuals, farmers, public and private institutions after 1980 (FSI 2000)

Plantations by Small Holders

Small holders in India have been planting scattered trees in their farmlands and homesteads for ages. Block plantations were limited to fruit bearing trees such as Mangifera indica, Artocarpus heterophylla, Anacardium occidentale etc and non forest species like rubber, coconut, oil palm. Plantation of forestry species boosted up since the launch of social forestry projects in many States and starting of 20-point development programme by Union Government in 1980. Distribution of seedlings free of cost and providing technical guidance by the forestry departments in the beginning were the main motivating forces. Besides expanding plantations of scattered trees, farmers started block and line plantations in their farmlands for production of timber, pulpwood, fuelwood, etc. The National Forest Policy 1988 of India (MoEF 1988) emphasises that raw material requirements of the forest based industries should be met by industry themselves by establishing direct relationship with individuals who can grow raw material through agro-forestry without adversely affecting the food production. But specific policy and rules to promote plantation of trees on agricultural lands have not been framed.

The legislation to harvest and market such trees varies from state to state. A number of States have enacted Tree Preservation/Protection Act with specific aim to restrict uncontrolled felling of trees on private lands. Transportation of timber in most of the states is governed by the Transit Pass Rules under which specific permission is required from the local Forest Officer before transporting the timber /wood. For example, in Gujarat State, felling and removal of trees from private lands have been governed by the Saurashtra Felling of Trees (Inflicting of Punishment) Act 1951. Felling of 21 listed tree species is controlled by the Revenue Department and transportation by the Forest Department. In addition, there are five reserve tree species (Tectona grandis, Madhuca latifolia, Acacia catechu, Dalbergia latifolia and Santalum album) whose felling, transportation and marketing are done by the Forest Department. The owner is paid the balance after deducting charges on these activities and royalty of the trees from the total price fetched. During the 1980s restriction on felling and transportation on two most commonly planted species (Eucalyptus spp and Leucaena leucacephala ) in non forest area, was removed by deleting them from the list of 21 species. Sandalwood (Santalum album) has been declared as a Reserve tree in its native States (Tamil Nadu, Karnatak and Kerala)

In Punjab and Haryana, there is no restriction on felling and transportation of trees in most parts of these States except in the narrow belt of Shiwalik Hills where trees are required for conserving soil and water. Such areas have been notified in these two states and felling of trees is regulated under Punjab Land Reservation Act 1900.

Further, Tree Preservation Act 1976 of Uttar Pradesh imposes restriction on felling of trees on private lands without permission. This law has now been simplified since 1991 under which 19 tree species have been exempted. Farmers are free to cut such tree species if planted /naturally growing in their private lands, in the districts where forest cover is less than 1% of the geographic area. The simplification of rule to support planting of trees in private lands is in progress in several states of the country.

Strict regulations on felling of trees on private lands have been found to adversely affect the tempo of tree planting problem on private lands in the past. In addition, Land Revenue Rules and Regulations of the State Governments have indirectly put restrictions on tree planting activities as the change of land use is not permissible in the rule (Hedge 1991).

In the early 1990s many private companies started teak plantations by raising funds from public sources. They promised very attractive rate of return. Their calculation was based on the assumption of high volume per tree on a 20-year rotation, which was found unrealistic and wrong. The plantation sites were mostly degraded and less productive and the planting material was also not of genetically superior quality. On scrutiny of accounts of some planting companies by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), it was found that the companies depended on the fresh investors and not on interim returns of teak plantations to honor the commitment of earlier investors. The companies also could not prove their claims of high productivity, as a result most of the companies were closed down during late 1998 (Chundamannil 1999). The total area brought under teak plantation by them was around 5,000 ha.

Area of existing plantations

Some plantations do not survive and plantations of fast growing short rotation (7-10) species are clear felled and replanted. In cumulative area of plantations, replanted areas are counted doubly and areas of failed plantations are also not excluded. Uncertainty, therefore, exists about the actual area of existing plantations in the country.

Though the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun has been assessing the forest cover of the country biennially using remote sensing technology, due to technological limitations, it has not been able to assess scattered tree plantations in agro-forestry situations and elsewhere and those on smaller parcel of lands established outside forests. The reflectance of young plantations with small crown development and low chlorophyll content is also not registered in the satellite sensors. Therefore, usually 3-4 year old even large-scale plantations are also not assessed. Special effort on national level has not been made to assess the forest plantations at any one point of time. The mechanism of regular survey and inventory of plantations in most of the state forest departments is also inadequate. As a result the actual area of existing plantations with breakdown of species, location, etc. is not known either on state or national level.

During the 1980s, some state forest departments and NWDB carried survival assessment of several plantations. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations analysed the surveys reports. The weighted average of success rate was found to be about 62% (Pandey 1995). Since 1992, NAEB has started survival assessment of the first year plantations in limited areas (about 10 %), but the results of the assessment are not used to correct the area figures reported.

Species composition

Due to varied agro-climatic conditions, a large number of species are planted. But detailed information about the composition of species in the plantation is lacking at the state and national levels. Species-wise the area of plantations presented in Table No.1 has been mainly derived from reports of forest statistics furnished by state forest departments and refined after discussion with the concerned officials (FSI 2000). The composition of species mentioned in this table pertains to the area of plantations done by the forest departments only.

Tectona grandis and Eucalyptus spp are the main species having larger area under the plantations compared to other species followed by Shorea robusta and Casuarina equisetifolia. Among eucalyptus, E. globulus, E. grandis, E. tereticornis are most common. Plantations of acacias also cover considerable area. Among acacias, A. auriculiformis, A. catechu, A. mearnsii, A. nilotica and A. tortalis are common. Other commonly planted broadleaved are Albizia spp., Azadirachta indica, Dalbergia sissoo, Gmelina arborea, Populus spp. Prosopis spp. and Terminalia spp. Among conifers, Cedrus deodara and Pinus roxburghii occupy major area. Pinus patula and P. carribaea have been planted in a limited area.

Table 1. Species wise plantation up to 1997 by the state forest departments


Area in '000 ha.


Tectona grandis






Shorea robusta



Casurina equisetifolia



Bombax ceiba












Acacia auriculiformis



Acacia nilotica






Dalbergia sissoo



Pinus roxburghii



Cedrus deodara



Pinus patula



Gmelina arborea



Acacia mearnsii






Sandal wood



Fir spruce









It may be noted that the area shown in the category `others' is more than 61%. This category includes a large number of species mentioned in the above table and some additional ones, but exclude teak, sal, chir, deodar and wattle.

Growth and yield Studies

In India, growth and yield studies of a large number of native species growing in plantations and uniform natural forests were carried out during 1950-70 (FRI 1967/70). This was followed up until mid 1980s. The plantation sites (sample plots) for most of species were, however, limited to reserve forests. Growth and yield studies of the plantations established out side forest reserves are quite scarce. The site condition of areas outside forests being different, it would not be scientific to apply earlier models without refinement. Even volume equations for tree species growing in scattered form and in farm forestry have not been developed.

The data on production of timber from the forest/tree plantations is not properly accounted and is therefore, not available. It is reported that productivity from plantations in general is quite low. For example, MAI for teak at the average rotation age of 58 years varies between 0.6 m3 to 7 m3/ha/year with a mean of 2.5 m3 /ha/year, in one of the major teak producing states, Kerala (Chundamannil 1999). Productivity levels of limited plantations mainly of eucalyptus and poplar raised by farmers under private ownership are relatively better. As per FSI (1999) indicative yield of selected species, other than teak are as below:

Table 2. Indicative yield of selected species other than teak


Rotation (year)

MAI (m3/ha/year)

Dalbergia sissoo


4 - 6

Eucalyptus spp.


8 - 12

Gmelina arborea


10 - 15

Acacia nilotica


3 - 4

Populus spp.


20 - 25


National Forestry Action Programme- India has proposed to bring 33% area under the forest cover in the next 20 years by planting 21.8 million ha non forest lands, besides planting trees in agroforestry /farm forestry and other scrub lands (MOEF 1999). Present trend of plantation is, therefore, likely to accelerate in the future. Plantation of high yielding clones, particularly of teak, eucalyptus and poplar and root trainer technology is being adopted to enhance the productivity (Oberoi et al 1999). However, the use of the quality planting materials in the plantations is still in insignificant proportion.

Joint Forest Management

Though joint forest management practiced in India has no direct linkage with the development of plantations, a passing reference of JFM practices is made here , as these activities may support protection of plantations and in the choice of species.

The National Forest Policy, 1988 emphasises on creating massive people's movement through involvement of village communities living close to the forest in the protection and development of forests. Pursuant to this policy, the Government of India issued a resolution in June 1990 requesting the State Governments to involve local communities in the management of forests. It is envisaged that the communities, in lieu of their participation in protection and development of forest areas, will be entitled to sharing of usufructs in a manner specified by the concerned State Forest Departments. This has led to the development of Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme.

Subsequently, State Governments started issuing enabling resolutions one by one, except West Bengal, which has issued resolution one year, in advance. Two States notified in 1990, four in 1991, three in 1992, four 1993 and so on. So far, 22 State Governments out of 25 States in India have issued resolutions in this regard. The state governments have decided their own mechanisms of involving local communities in conformity with the proclaimed policy. The local institutions engaged in the task are known by different names in different states like Forest Protection Committee (FPC), Village Forest Committee (VFC), Van Samrakshan Samiti (VSS), Village Forest Protection Management Committee (VFPMC) etc. The nature of usufruct sharing also varies from state to state. In the constitution of committees, representation of women is also ensured. About 36,130 Forest Protection Committees are managing a total of 10.25 million ha of forest area. The details of number of committees and area under their management are given in Table 2. The table reveals that the state of Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for more than 50 per cent of the area under JFM. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa follow it. The practice of JFM is generally confined to degraded forests. The micro-plans in conformity with the working plans are to be prepared for the areas where JFM is to be practiced.

The mechanism of usufruct sharing varies from state to state. In Madhya Pradesh there are two type of committees viz. VFC and FPC. The sharing of usufructory benefit in case of areas under VFC is in the proportion of 70% to Govt., 15% to committee formed, 10% to the individual members and remaining 5% is ploughed to back for the development of area. In case of FPC the benefit is to be shared in the proportion of 90%, 5%, 3% and 2% among the above. In case of Andhra and Orissa, the sharing is in the proportion of 50% each between Government. and committee members, while in West Bengal, the sharing is in the proportion of 75% and 25%. In Bihar, the benefit accrued is divided into three equal parts, one part each to be deposited in Village Development Fund, Forest Development Fund and Working Fund, respectively (TERI 1999).

The extent of involvement of local communities in the north- eastern states is quite limited as at present there are 426 committees managing 31,092 ha area only.

In order to assess the impact of JFM programmes, it is essential to make periodical comprehensive evaluation of the biophysical aspect of the forest areas where JFM is practiced as well as the socio-economic status of the participating communities. Such studies are quite inadequate so far. The State of Forest Report -1999 published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI 2000) has, however, identified JFM programmes as one of the reasons for marginal increase in the forest cover of the country. An analysis of a small area, where JFM is practiced since 12 years, done in Orissa State showed a better regeneration status and better protection of the more valued trees compared to the reference area which was protected only for two years (Ostwald 2000).

Table 3. Area under Joint Forest Management in the different States

State / year of resolution

Total Forest Cover (`000 ha)

No. of JFM Committees

Area under JFM (`000ha)

Andhra Pradesh




Arunachal Pradesh
















Himachal Pradesh








Jammu & Kashmir












Madhya Pradesh








































Uttar Pradesh




West Bengal








Source: JFM cell, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India and data on forest cover is based on the latest State of Forest Report (FSI 2000)


Anon. 1976. National Commission of Agriculture, Vol. IX.

Anon. 1999. Forestry Statistics India -1996, Directorate of Statistics, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, New Forest, Dehradun, 288 pp.

Chundamannil, M. 1999.Teak Plantations in Kerala: an economic review, paper presented to the Regional Seminar on Site, Technology and Productivity of Teak Plantation at Chiang Mai, Thailand, 26-29 January, 1999.

FRI 1967/70. Growth and Yield Statistics of Common Indian Timber Species, Volume I/II, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun.

FSI. 1999. FRA 2000 Input tables of India, Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dehradun.

FSI. 2000. State of Forest Report 1999, Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dehradun.

Hegde N.G. 1991. Agroforestry in India: Scope and Strategies, in Agroforestry in Asia and Pacific, RAPA publication: 1991/5 Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, FAO, Bangkok, 47-63pp.

MoEF 1988. Forest Policy of India 1988, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.

MOEF. 1999. National Forestry Action Programme- India, Volume-2 Issues and Programmes, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of Inda, New Delhi, June 1999, under the project IND93/021 of the UNDP and FAO, 242pp.

NAEB. 1999. National Afforestation Eco-development Board (NAEB)

Ministry of Environment And Forests, Government Of India (unpublished report).

Oberoi, C.P. Srivastava, A.K. and Pathak, P.K. 1999. Plantation Forestry - Key to Sustainable Forest Management in Proceedings of International Expert Meeting on the Role of Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management, Santiago, Chile, April 6-10, 1999.

Ostwald, M. 2000. Biophysical effects of ten years local protection forest management Dhani Hill, Orissa, India in Local Protection of Tropical dry Natural Forest, Orissa, India, Ph.D. thesis, Department of Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Goteborg University, Sweden

Pandey, D. 1995. Forest Resources Assessment 1990- Tropical forest plantation resources, FAO Forestry Paper 128, FAO Rome, 81 pp.

Rai, S.N. and Chakrabarty, S.K. 1996. Demand and Supply of Fuelwood, Timber and Fodder in India, Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dehradun.

TERI 1999. National Study on Joint Forest Management: Government orders, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, Project Report No. 98 SF 64.


Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page