Diagnostic Study of Indigenous and Institutionalized Participatory Forest Management in Himachal Pradesh.

Principal Investigator: K.D. Sharma, IFS, DCF & Jagdish Singh, Scientist-E
Duration: 5Years (1st April, 2005 to 31st March, 2009)

Diagnostic study of indigenous and institutionalized Participatory Forest Management in Himachal Pradesh was carried out with the objective to document most preferred species, gender role, attitudinal change, investigation of indigenous participation and identification of constraints and to suggest management prescription for improvement of participatory forest management programme. It was found in all the selected sites of different circles that people preferred traditional species growing in the area. Grewia optiva was recorded most preferred species for fodder in most of the forest circles except in high temperate region of the state such as parts of Kullu, Shimla and parts of Mandi circles. In these areas Quercus dialatata was most preferred species for fodder. It was found that women were chosen as members of VFDCs in all the studied VFDCs of different forest circles of Himachal Pradesh. The most successful involvement of women was recorded in Mandi forest circles followed in Dharamshala and Nahan. The women involvement in apple zone of the state was not found up to desired label. The PFM scheme had played important role in awareness among rural people especially women throughout the state. The Participatory Forest management may not have achieved its objectives completely but it has brought positive change in mind frame and thinking of local people and field staff towards the forest conservation. The PFM scheme has brought positive change in attitude of people throughout the state barring few places. Despite all the claim made by front line field staff it was found during study that lot more needs to be achieved. Many constraints were identified in the PFM scheme; however shortage of fund, post project care, scheme viewed as source of daily wages, involvement of VFDC members etc, were major constraints. The involvement of women needs to be ensured not just to fulfill the obligations of the scheme but has to be made more relevant. The newly recruits field staff needs to be made well equipped and informed about the scheme. The PFM scheme was viewed as income generation source on daily wages basis by common people for short duration. Barring the few shortcomings PFM scheme has helped in creation of awareness among common people regarding the importance of forest and its conservation.