Gujarat forestry development project
Title: Gujarat forestry development project
Commissioned by: Government of Gujarat
Financier: Government of Gujarat
Lead executing agency: Government of Gujarat, Gujarat Forestry Department
Overall term: 2010 to 2015
The Government of Gujarat is running a programme to restore degraded forests and improve the livelihoods of people living in and around forest areas. The project is intended to raise the level of understanding of the dynamics involved in developing forest ecosystems, and to improve the knowledge base for sustainable forest management. The tribal areas along the eastern border of the state of Gujarat are particularly affected by forest decline. Here the Gujarati Government has commissioned GIZ IS to manage a pilot project to improve the use of forest resources and enhance the tribes’ livelihood opportunities.
The quality and extent of forest cover have improved as a result of better forest management, rehabilitation and protection practices, and due to the improvement of local livelihoods. Sustainable forest management models are being disseminated more widely.
The project aims to encourage the participation of village communities in Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) and, with them, to pursue the regeneration, conservation, development and maintenance of degraded forests. At the same time it is working to secure incomes for the villagers, and to meet their requirements for grass, firewood and other resources, while also promoting sustainable forestry. The project also aims to provide models of sustainable forest management practices and institutional arrangements for wider replication, and to support the economic transition of forest-dependent communities.
To build up the required organisational structure, an inter-disciplinary project team has been formed with experts from various fields (project management, joint forest management, monitoring and evaluation, socioeconomics, community development, management and geographical information systems, micro-enterprises, non-timber forest products, mangrove development and wildlife management). The project is conceived as a social process which involves the donor agency (JBIC) as well as a range of implementing agencies:
- Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India)
- GraminVikas Trust, India
- Log Sewa Trust, India
- NABARD Consultancy Services, India
- N M Sadguru Water and Development Foundation, India
- Vikram Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction of the Nehru Foundation
- Wetlands International – South Asia
Besides the consulting team, project management units are operating at all levels, alongside extension and field staff, villagers, resource organisations, and village-level organisations. The project emphasises the need to balance conservation and development needs, particularly the needs and aspirations of the local communities. The village-based, participatory approaches call for frank dialogue and effective decision making and conflict resolution mechanisms. To promote these things, the project will also pay special attention to the creation of sound institutional arrangements.
The activities and methods destined for broader application will be derived from successful pilot projects, and the forest management models will be based on scientific knowledge as well as national and international experiences and best practices. The forestry development project will also focus on generating sustained economic benefits for the communities by combining the conservation efforts with measures to improve livelihoods, such as training courses for income generation, improving market access, and involving banks to enhance rural finances.
Results achieved so far
- An operational plan has been developed for the delivery of consultancy services.
- About 3,000 women’s self-help groups have been established, which now have access to banks and saving facilities.
- Measures such as methodology training have been provided in support of socio-economic research.
- Six eco-tourism sites have been created and transferred to eco-development committees near the protected forest areas.
- Thousands of micro-plans have been prepared and are in the process of implementation.
- The population densities of key wild animal species have been maintained, as have as the density and richness of botanical species.
- Training and capacity building activities are now available for local non-governmental organisations.
- A manual on micro-enterprise development has been compiled to serve as a basis for improving local incomes.