Centre of minor forest products
Centre of Minor Forest Products
Dehra Dun (India)
Minor forest products (MFPs), or non-timber forest products (NTFPs), are the potential pillars of sustainable forestry, catering to the changing needs of the people in the changing environment. Hence they throw out a strong challenge: planning and growing forests for the future to ensure a sustained and increased flow of NTFP resources. This calls for a sound information base and an integrated multidisciplinary approach for implementation in development schemes.
The Center of Minor Forest Products (COMFORPTS) is devoted to the promotion of MFPs/NTFPs through need-based sustainable forest management. To support these efforts, COMFORPTS is building up a pool of information on all categories of NTFPs and their hitherto unknown and under appreciated economic aspects. Seminars, technical assistance, and liaison with research, manufacturing and marketing organizations and individuals are all attempts to fulfill the above objective.
The objectives of COMFORPTS are to:
1. Create awareness of the role and utilization of minor forest products (MFPs) including aspects of ethno-botany through various media including television to create interest in growing MFP crops and sustainable management of MFPs in different forest ecosystems.
2. Encourage people's participation in needbased scientific management of minor forest products.
3. Alleviate poverty through economically-viable packages based on MFP species of multiple uses, including medicinal plants.
4. Increase forest cover and ensure environmental conservation through different land husbandry programmes.
5. Enhance production of MFP species useful for fuel and fodder (energy plantations).
6. Establish demonstration farms and herbal gardens in 21 agro-ecological regions recently recognised by the government of India.
7. Set up and promote MFP-based industries for economic development.
8. Boost trade of MFPs to earn more foreign exchange by increasing production and introducing MFP species for import substitution.
9. Distribute publicity materials (e.g., handouts on ethnobotany of MFPs, and methods of propagation, harvesting, grading, processing etc.).
10. Build computerised data bank on minor forest products to support better scientific management.
11. Provide job-oriented courses and training on exploitation of minor-forest products at the national level and offer consultancy services.
12. Maintain international liaison with personnel and organisations in the MFP Network.
The Centre publishes a quarterly newsletter,
"MFP News" in both English and Hindi. It has a wide circulation in India and abroad and is abstracted by CAB International. The Centre also publishes a "Journal of NTFP." Its inaugural issue is devoted to proceedings of the "International Seminar on MFPs in Forestry" held in April, 1993. Various other publications, including a number of case studies and books on NTFPs, are also underway.
The Centre is an active participant in the Indian Joint Forest Management (JFMI Network and has been proposed to act as a nucleus of information on NTFPs which shall be reflected in MFP News.
The Centre is currently executing a project on "assessment of NTFP Resources or Better Management" funded by the Ford Foundation, while a number of projects are forthcoming for implementation.
In the years to come, the Centre plans to organize short-term training and, refresher courses on various aspects of NTFPs.