Forest in Himachal cover an area of about 21,325sq.km. i.e. about 38.3 of
the total area of the state. The
state government is aiming to provide green cover to 50% of the total area.
Earlier forests were considered the main source of income of the state.
Now the stress has shifted from exploitation to conservation. Forests have
been completely nationalized. Felling of trees and sale of timber is now
conducted by the State Forest Corporation. The Forest Department mostly
concerns itself with planting and conservation of forests. A World Bank
assisted Social Forestry Project has been launched. This project aims at
raising fuel, fodder and small timber species to meet the basic necessities
of the people so that they do not resort to depletion of forests for fulfilling
these needs. An Enforcement Organisation has been set up to check the illegal
felling of trees and smuggling of timber. An integrated water shed department
project for Shivaliks is under preparation. Another project for the afforestation
of barren 'Kandi' areas has been undertaken with the help of the World Bank.
Steps have also been taken to intensify preservation and management. Hunting
has been banned.