The New Foresters: The role of private enterprise in the Indian forestry sector
India’s forest sector has undergone much change in the last decade, as predominant state control has evolved into responsibility for forest management being shared with communities. However, major challenges remain - it is clear that the state alone cannot ensure that forests are sustainably managed, that they provide the goods and services that are demanded of them, and most importantly, that the livelihoods of those dependent on forests are assured and sustainable. To date the contribution of the private sector to forestry in India has been limited, constrained by restrictive policy measures, lack of economic incentives, poor information and lack of investment - yet its potential contribution is great. This report offers an approach to addressing some of the major challenges facing the Indian forestry sector, by examining the potential contribution of the private sector to sustainable forestry and forest-based livelihoods. It is based on the findings of ten sub-studies and widespread consultation. In particular it considers the potential roles and contributions of individual farmers, communities and the corporate sector, and offers recommendations for optimising such roles. This report shows that the private sector could meet the country’s requirements of forest produce, as well as enabling India to emerge as a major exporter and world player in forestry.