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

Printed Date: Sunday, July 14, 2024

Forest Based Livelihood

In the ancient times forests were treated as a sacred resource in India. However, in past couple of hundred years, forests have been looked merely as a source of commercial timber and the entire forestry has been geared only for that end use. It is time to realize the importance of forest as a major source of livelihood which is truly based on Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), as an environmental necessity, as an aesthetic need, a source of recreation and a home of important heritage of wildlife. All these useful contributions of forests, other than just timber, are being realized now.

The significance of the NTFPs in livelihood generation is being increasingly realized through better understanding of their value to the economy as well to the environment. The emerging trend of market preference for natural products and the increasing emphasis on the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources have further helped gain this appreciation. 


Categories and uses of NTFPs to generate Livelihood:

The NTFPs can be classified into different categories, based on the purpose of use (for example, as food, fuel, medicine, house hold utensils and farm implements); the part of plants harvested (leaf, fruit, stem and roots) and level of use (self supporting and commercial). NTFPs provide a green social security to a vast percentage of people in the form of food supplements, traditional medicines, fuel and fodder, low-cost building materials and source of employment and income generation. In some cases, the revenues earned from NTFPs are the only source of cash income, which increases the dependency of people on commercially interesting NTFPs resources. 


The inforamtion on NTFPs in India is given as below