Making a beginning

Additional image:: 

With modernisation has come the pressure on the forests. Though almost three-fourths of the country is still covered by dense foliage, the demands from a growing population can put unprecedented demands on them. Be it for construction, fuelwood consumption, infrastructure development, it cannot be underestimated. At the same time, 60 per cent of land under forests have to be maintained for all time to come. So how does the government plan to tackle the growing demands?

"There are a lot of places in Bhutan where people unknowingly use valuable trees, such as oak, as fuelwood. They should be made aware of their worth,' says Petri Lehtonen, senior forestry specialist, indufor Oy, Finland. To make the people aware of all this as well as to empower them, the government has embarked on community/social forestry programmes. "However, the concept of community management of forests is not very old. Since forests are in plenty, and the population is very small, the need to conserve forest resources has never been felt. But now we are introducing community forestry,' says B B Chettri. "However, I am unsure of the basic objective