In ancient times a forest was a centre of research in India. The Indian thinkers had a great hunger for knowledge and wisdom they wanted to know the truth of life. Hundreds of questions arose in their minds:
“What is this? What is that? Why like this and why not like that?”
They had no book. But Nature helped them at every step. They were great thinkers. They were all original thinkers. So, they gave us the very best of poetry, science and philosophy. These old things are new even today.
Forest-life gave them what millions of books fail to give us in the modern age. No library has ever been able to produce our Vedas. No wonder, Lord Buddha, too, got wisdom under a tree. A forest or even a tree teaches better than a whole world of books.
In modern times, we have caused much harm by cutting down forests. Even green trees are not safe. It is true that they give us fuel to cook our food. They give us wood for our buildings and furniture. However, we earn a little, but lose a lot.
Our loss is much greater than gain. Much of forests of India have been cleared for agriculture under great pressure of population. Today forests in India do not give heavy showers of rain as it did before. They do not check the wearing away of the soil. They are not able to check the flow of floods. They fail to cool down the sun. They fail to produce medicines. They fail to produce sweet fruits and flowers. They fail to produce any poet or thinker. They produce for us only lions and tigers. This is what man has made of forest. What a change in the forest-life of Indians!
Forests are very important for Indian Economy as well. Forests are another important form of natural wealth. The importance of forests in the economy of an agricultural country like India enjoying the benefits of monsoons is very great.
It also humidifies air by transpiration and helps increase in rainfall. It has been said that a certain percentage of forests is necessary in an agricultural country.
Forests are advantageous to us in many ways. They retain moisture, prevent flooding of water, and erosion of the soil, and keep the average temperature moderate.
The Indian forests are very useful. They give us a number of forest products, such as timber and other building materials, grass, fuel, resin, wood pulp for paper manufacture, tanning materials and many other products.
Teak, sal, deodar, pines, sandalwood, ebony, bamboo, palms and many others well known trees grow in the Indian forests.
Thousands of species of soft and hard trees are found in India.
It has been only recently, that the true importance of the forests in the economy of the nation has begun to be realized.
Timbers have manifold uses in building ships and carriages, making paper, rayon and furniture etc.
Realizing the importance of forests, forests in India are divided into three classes for effective administration. According to the degree of control exercised by the Government on forests, the forests are classified as reserved, protected, and unclassed, .
Reserved Forests: The control exercised by the Government on the reserved forests is complete. They are maintained in an efficient condition in order to yield products and serve other functions.
Protected: In the case of protected forests, however, private communities also have the privilege of access for beneficial purposes on certain conditions.
Unclassed Forests: There are small restrictions, however, in the case of the unclassed forests.
Conclusion: It is necessary to increase acreage under forest and the Government of India is also aware of the fact and organizes a celebration popularly known as ‘Van Mahotsav‘ every year in July. On the occasion seedlings of trees are planted and determined resolutions are taken for afforestation.