A group of probationers of the Indian Forest Service (2017 batch) called on the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Addressing the probationers, the President said that over the past few decades, the world has realised the existential threats posed by environmental degradation, depletion in forest cover, and above all global warming leading to climate change. Environmental protection has become a key concern for the 21st century. And forests are an integral part of the solution.
The President said that forest protection, especially in India, must invoke participation and support of those whose livelihoods depend of forests. A large number of very poor people, including tribals, live in and around the forests of our country. It is through forests that they fulfil their basic needs of food, fuel-wood, and fodder. They respect forests as part of their traditions and beliefs. Any measures to protect forests should be sensitive to the basic needs of these people and involve them as partners.
The President said that the joint forest management model that we have adopted is based on the “care and share” principle. It envisages a partnership with local people and communities in the management of forests. Indian Forest Service Officers must involve these communities in forest management and apply the scientific principles of forestry with a human and compassionate face. This alone will provide solutions that are sustainable and effective.