ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018

Minor Forest Products

 

Minor Forest Products
Edible products
 
Fruits, flowers, seeds, roots, roots, rhizomes, tubers, etc. of several forest species are edible. Fruits and seeds of Anacardium occidentale, Tamarindus indica, Syzygium cumini, Emblica officinalis, Buchanania lanzan, etc., flowers of Madhuca indica, green pods of Moringa oleifera, new shoots of bamboo, etc. are in great demand.
Grasses and grazing
 
Forests provide grazing facility to about 30 per cent of the total livestock population of the country. Grasses such as Cenchrus, Lasiurus, Heteropogon, Bothriochloa, Andropogon, Eragrostis, Iseilema, etc. are abundantly found in the forest as a ground cover. Some grasses like Eulaliopsis binata are also used for rope and papermaking.
Fodder trees and shrubs
 
Forests provide fodder from trees, shrubs and climbers. Leaf fodder of several tree species is  almost as nutritious as that of agricultural fodder crops. Good fodder yielding tree species includes: Ailanthus excelsa Moringa oleifera, Sesbania spp., Morus alba, Albizia lebbek, Leucaena leucocephala, Pongamia pinnata, Hardwickia binata, Quercus, Grewia, Bauhinia, Celtis, etc. Several shrubs, herbs and climbers also yield good quality fodder leaves.
Bamboo and canes
 
India is very rich in bamboo resources. The bamboo is used for housing, for rural agricultural works, for paper pulp, for packaging and other uses.
Oil seeds
 
Many tree species produce oil-bearing seeds, which are commercially important. Some of these oils are fit for human consumption. Generally, these seeds are used in soap industry. Tribals use these oils for various purposes.
Essential oils
 
Essential oils are a good source of forest revenue. Many species in the Indian forest yield essential oils, which are used in making perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, etc.
Tans and dyes
 
A variety of vegetable tanning material are produced in the forest. Important ones include the myrobalan nuts and bark of wattle (Acacia mearnsii, A. decurrens, A. nilotica and Cassia auriculata, etc.) Other tanning materials include, leaves of Emblica officinalis and Anogeissus latifolia, bark of Cleistanthus collinus, fruits of Ziziphus xylopyra, bark of Cassia fistula, Terminalia alata, T. arjuna, etc.
Gums and resins
 
Gums and resins are exuded by trees as a result of incision or injury to the bark of wood. Gums are collected from several tree species. Resins find wide use in industries and in Indian pharmacy.
Fibres and flosses
 
A wide range of plants, yielding fibre occur in the forests of India. Fibres are obtained from tissues of different parts of certain woody plants, which are used for making cloth, rope and cordage.
Flavouring plants
 
A variety of plants including cumin (seeds of Carum carvi), cinnamon (bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum), cardamom (dried capsule of Elettaria cardamomum), bay leaf (leaves of Cinamomum tamala), are obtained from forests used locally and throughout the world.
 
Animal products
 
Animal products include Lac, honey, silk, horns, fur, skins, tusks, musk, bones, fur and feathers, meat etc. Lac is a resinous secretion of the Lac insects, which feed on forest trees, particularly on Butea monosperma. Similarly, silk worm is reared on Terminalia alata and Morus alba plantations. Honey is another important product obtained from forests.
 
Leaves
Leaves of various forest tree species have been used for various purposes since ancient times and help earn forest revenue. Leaves of several  trees and shrubs are widely used as food, fodder, medicine, etc. Other than these, leaves of some trees and shrubs are put to the following uses:
·         Making plates and cups;
·         Thatching;
·         Basket making;
·         Umbrella making;
·         ‘Bidi’ leaves for smoking.
 
Tendu and other leaves
Tendu leaves (Diospyros melanoxylon) are used to prepare ‘Bidis’ and therefore, these are also called ‘bidi’ leaves. Leaves of trees such as Bauhinia spp., Shorea robusta, Pterospermum acerifolium, etc. are used for making plates, ‘dona’, etc.
 
 

Source: Nautiyal, S. and Kaul, A.K. Eds. Non-timber forest products of India. Dehradun, Jyoti Publishers.  2003.