GUWAHATI, June 17: The ministry of environment, forest & climate change on Saturday, released the “National Working Plan Code-2023,” which aims to scientifically manage forests and develop new approaches. The code was unveiled by Chandra Prakash Goyal, IFS, director general of forests and special secretary, during the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought event organized by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) on June 17, in Dehradun.
India is known for its scientific forest management system, and the working plan is a crucial tool in achieving this. The National Working Plan Code was first adopted in 2004 and later amended in 2014 to ensure consistency and serve as a guiding principle for forest management across different divisions in the country. Forests in India are managed for various purposes, including environmental stability, conservation of natural heritage, prevention of soil erosion, and involvement of local communities in increasing tree and forest cover.
The National Working Plan Code-2023 will provide guidance to State Forest Departments in preparing working plans for different forest divisions, focusing on sustainable forest management principles. It covers aspects such as forest and tree cover, biodiversity conservation, soil and water resource management, social and economic benefits, and the necessary policy and legal framework. Notably, the code emphasizes the importance of continuous data collection and updating in a centralized database. The code also introduces the “Indian Forest Management Standard,” which considers the diverse forest ecosystems in India while promoting uniform management practices. These standards align with international criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.
The “Indian Forest Management Standard” which is a part of this code, takes into account the diverse forest ecosystem in our country, while trying to bring in uniformity in management. The Standards for Sustainable Forest Management have been codified in the Indian Forest Management Standard, based on long term experiences of scientific forest management in India and in sync with international criteria and indicators. Indian Forest Management Standard would facilitate the State Forest Departments to measure effectiveness of the management practices against prescriptions of Working Plans.