Economic growth versus climate balancing: some reflections on the sustainable management of forest resource in India

Abstract

Designing of a sustainable forest policy is of extreme importance in our present world where the process of rapid economic growth is causing imbalance in the climatic cycles by denying ecosystems sufficient time for adaptation and the socioeconomic systems adequate opportunity for mitigation. In this paper, the forests are considered highly resilient natural resource that plays a major role in reducing the impact of global climate change through carbon sequestration, heat absorption, watershed protection, acid deposition, etc. This paper examines the prospect of sustainable forest management for an emerging economy like India, where forest coverage has gone up over the last three decades in spite of population growth, rapid urbanization, and fast economic growth. To assess the possibility of sustainable future growth in a globally congenial environment, the extent of ecological stress on Indian economy has been checked and pattern of public as well as private expenditure along with import and export of forestry and related products analyzed. The import of forestry-based products are increasing in terms of volume, value and unit prices throughout this period and the major importers of raw and semi-finished forestry-based inputs are the South and East Asian countries. From the perspective of material balance, the results of structural decomposition analysis reveal increasing dominance of economic growth over other effects indicating necessity of designing intervention to decouple potential future economic growth from forest resources to ensure long run sustainability.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    BRIC stands for Brazil–Russia–India–China.

  2. 2.

    This section draws heavily from Bit and Banerjee (2015), Banerjee and Bit (2014).

  3. 3.

    The I–O tables are in the form of square matrices showing in each row the disposal (use) of output of a sector as input used in different sectors (intermediate use) and for final use in the economy during the year. They cover all sectors of the economy and their subsectors.

  4. 4.

    Sector codes are taken from 1993–1994 round of I–O tables in CSO site.

  5. 5.

    This section draws mostly from Banerjee and Bit (2014), Bit and Banerjee (2014).

  6. 6.

    Managed forest means a sustainable forest in which usually at least one tree is planted for every tree felled.

  7. 7.

    This section is taken from Bit and Banerjee (2015).

  8. 8.

    Initially the Forest Department was clubbed with the Department of Agriculture and later it became a part of the environment department.

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Banerjee, S., Bit, J. Economic growth versus climate balancing: some reflections on the sustainable management of forest resource in India. Decision 42, 127–145 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40622-015-0090-4

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Keywords

  • Sustainable forest management
  • Forward linkage of forestry sector
  • Direct, indirect and induced demand for forestry
  • Trade-flows in forest products
  • Direct material intensity of forestry
  • Structural decomposition analysis