Forest Policy could be defined as a plan of actions designed to indicate what proportion of a Nation’s land area should be allocated or allotted. How the areas so dedicated are to be developed and how the products are utilized to the maximum benefit of the public.
Simply put, forest policy could be considered as consisting of those principles which govern the actions of the people with respect to forest reserves.
Forest Policy Objectives
The overall objective of the national forest policy is to achieve sustainable forest management that would ensure sustainable increases in the economic, social and environmental benefits from forests and trees for the present and future generation including the poor and the vulnerable groups.
Specifically, the objectives include the need to; increase, maintain and enhance the national forest estate through sound forest management practices, promote and regulate private sector involvement in forest development, and to create a more positive investment climate in the sector, capitalize on the economic, social and environmental opportunities in forestry without undermining the resource base, ensure the survival of forest biodiversity and to balance this with the pressing development needs of the country.
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Factors to be considered
In making forest policy, the factors that must be considered includes the following; Soil types, desirable species, climatic factors, growth rate of species, silvicultural characteristics, Import & Export Possibilities, pattern of wood consumption, economic development programme and human population and growth rate.
So, the formulation of forest policy should be an interdisciplinary effort. This is because it could require the contribution of an economist, the forest managers, the town planners, silviculturists, forest pathologists to mention just a few.
To achieve sustainable forest management, some of the strategies to be adopted include: the promotion of partnership with all stakeholders including the private sector, communities, and society, NGOs and CBOs, decentralization, promotion of community participation in forest resources management and encouraging the active participation of all women and men, young people and elderly and the vulnerable group in forest resources development.
Tools used in Implementing/Formulating forest policies
Public ownership of land, public regulation of private land financial assistance to approved desirable projects, provision of technical assistance, research, education tariffs and trade assistance, forest Protection against fungal, bacterial, fire pests’ attacks and land use planning.
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