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close this bookObstacles to Tree Planting in Arid and Semi-Arid lands: Comparative Case Studies from India and Kenya (UNU, 1982, 63 p.)
close this folder2. India
View the documentForestry policy, strategy, and organization
View the documentSelection of the study area
View the documentResources and needs for forest products and services
View the documentOvercoming the major obstacles to tree planting
View the documentThe Gujarat community forestry project

Selection of the study area

There can be no precise delimitation of the arid zone because of the paucity of meteorological data, the annual variablility of climatic factors, and the range of methods for calculating climatic indices; many of these were referred to in ICRISAT (1978), in chapters by Gupta and Prakash, Ramaswamy, and Meher-Homji in Gupta and Prakash (1975), and in chapters by Krishnan and Meher-Homji in ICAR (1977). For practical purposes India is zoned into eight agro-ecological regions (Murty and Pandey 1978; Krishna Murty 1979) of which the arid western plains (region 6) include Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Haryana. These lie to the east of the core-in Pakistan-of the arid zone in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. An outline of the geology, soils, hydrology, climate, and vegetation of this south-west Asian arid zone was given by Kaui and Thalen (1979). Detailed studies of some 20 different environmental and biological features of the most arid portion in India, the Thar Desert, were described by 17 contributors and compiled by Gupta and Prakash (1975). See also CAZRI (1964, 1974, 1977), FRI (1963), and Indian Ministry of Education (1964).

TABLE 1. India: Physical Achievements in Establishing Forests (thousands of hectares)

period (i)
for industrial
and com-
mercial uses (ii)
forest (iii)
plantations (iv)
of fast-
species (v)
Total (vi) iv as
of vi (vii)
First to
post annual
594.5 477.6 72.8 255.6 1,400.5 5.2
291.2 127.3 63.0 232.8 714.3 8.8
760.0 200.0 180.0 350.0 1,490.0b 12.1
Totala 1,645.7 804.9 315.8 838.4 3,604.8b 8.8

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and IBRD 11978).

a. Estimates only: actual establishment will not be known until the end of the Fifth Plan period.

b. Some 186,200 ha of plantations established by the State Forestry Corporations must be added to these figures to arrive at total estimated physical achievements by the end of the Fifth Plan (i.e.., some 3,791,000 ha).

TABLE 2. India: Estimated Financial Commitment to Social Forestry in the Fifth Plan (in millions of rupees)


Suggested allocation
in NCA Report on Social Forestry

Actual allocation total

Percentage of suggested
  Centre State Total    
1. Farrn forestry 20 - 20 155.8 780
2. Extension forestry
(a) Mixed forestry 100 - 100 66.6 67
(b) Shelterbelts 75 75 1501    
(c) Road/rail sides and canal banks - 100 100 100.0 40
3. Reforestation of degraded forest 150 150 300 50.6 17
4. Recreation forestry - 100 100      
Grand total 345 425 700a 373.0 48

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and IBRO (1978)

a. Includes expenditure for setting up the extension organization but not the funds required for research or the preliminary survey needed for selecting suitable districts and areas within districts. If research and survey were included total could amount to Rs 800 million.

For the purpose of this study attention was concentrated on the semi-desert of Gujarat rather than the drier areas of Rajasthan, not because the slightly better conditions of Guiarat are more conducive to tree growth but because an active, successful programme of tree planting is in progress and has demonstrated methods of overcoming constraints. However, contrasts with Rajasthan are drawn where possible and, later in this report, with Kenya where no comparable social forestry activities exist.