Social Forestry is defined as the management and protection of forests and afforestation on barren lands with the purpose of helping in the environmental, social and rural development. Social forestry is a probable solution to sustainable development. These are various streams of social forestry. These are:
1. Urban Forestry: It pertains to the raising and management of trees on public and privately owned lands in and around the urban centers such as green belts, parks and road side avenues, industrial and commercial belts.
2. Rural Forestry: Rural forestry lays emphasis on the promotion of agro forestry and community forestry.
I. Agro Forestry: It is the raising of trees and agricultural crops on the same land inclusive of all the waste land patches. It combines forestry with agriculture, thus altering the simultaneous production of food, fodder, fuel, timber and fruit.
II. Community Forestry: It involves the raising of trees on public or community land such as the village pasture and temple land, road sides, canal banks, strips along railway lines and schools etc. Community forestry provides a means under which the people of landless classes can associate themselves in tree raising and thus get those benefits which otherwise are restricted for landowners.
3. Farm Forestry: It is a term applied to the process under which farmers grow trees for commercial and non-commercial purposes on their farm land. Forest departments of various states distribute seedlings of trees free of cost to small and medium farmers to promote farm forestry.
Social Forestry is one of the planks of India’s Green India mission. India plans to cut its carbon emissions by growing trees in rural and urban areas. These trees, apart from cutting carbon emissions and acting as carbon sinks, are good sources of revenue for farmers. Hence social forestry must be promoted as an alternate source of income for rural India and the government must take steps to allow farmers to use the common village lands for the purpose of social forestry.