Forest Management Plan
Tripura Forest Development and Plantations Corporation Ltd (TFDPCL)
TFDPC Bhavan, Abhoy Nagar, Near Governor House,
PO Kunjaban, Agartala, Distt west Tripura-799005
SUMMARY OF FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN
The TFDPCL as a Government of Tripura undertaking has its mission to achieve the goals of responsible management of plantations by following the sustainability principles of Triple-Bottom-Line viz.- Economic viability, Socially desirable & beneficial and Environmentally sound management policies and objectives.
This Forest Management Plan has been prepared to realize its goal of managing its rubber and bamboo plantations on the principles of sustainable forest management. In its endeavor to achieve the global benchmark in sustainability, TFDPCL has decided to commit itself to the requirements of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards of responsible forest management and seek FSC Forest Management and Stump-to-Forest Gate Chain-of-Custody Certification.
The Forest Management Plan contains comprehensive prescriptions and plan of actions that will be used by TFDPCL to develop and manage, on a sustainable basis, its existing Rubber plantation areas in many parts of Tripura.
Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation Limited (TFDPCL), is a Government of Tripura undertaking with its corporate headquarters at Agartala, capital of Tripura, a constituent state of the Republic of India. TFDPCL manages commercial rubber & bamboo plantations spread over 38 field stations or Rubber Plantation Centers (RPC) and are under the jurisdiction of four plantation divisions, one Factory Division and one Industrial Estate spread over all the eight districts of Tripura. The TFDPCL is one of the high performance corporations of the state of Tripura having contributed immensely in the socio-economic development of otherwise traditionally nomadic communities practicing shifting cultivation in the natural forest areas.
STRATEGIC APPROACH ADOPTED
The Corporation adopted rehabilitation of degraded forestland through commercial rubber plantations on 7087 hectare area as its primary objective along with sustainable rehabilitation of tribal shifting cultivators in the state of Tripura. The Corporation is the pioneer in developing successful models for permanent settlement of tribal shifting cultivators through rubber cultivation by providing each family one hectare of Rubber plantation area for latex extraction. TFDPCL organized resettlement of more than 1133 scheduled tribe families and 70 scheduled caste families under different schemes and projects and creating employment.
for around 3585 people directly and to an almost equal number indirectly, thus contributing significantly in employment generation & socio-economic development particularly in rural areas of the State.
The Corporation is also managing Latex Centrifuging Factory and Crepe Mill; TSR Factory for production of block rubber; Rubber Timber Processing and Rubber Wood Boards Unit; and Rubber Wood and Bamboo Furniture Manufacturing unit. Thus the corporation has successfully diversified and expanded its activities in the value chain and thus ensuring growth, better prices for its produce, value addition at local level and reduced business risks.
Special Objects of Management of Rubber Plantations
The special objectives of management of rubber plantations are:
- Rehabilitation of degraded forestlands through rubber plantations.
- Implementation of welfare schemes of central & state Governments for economic rehabilitation of tribal shifting cultivators and other marginalized Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste families through rubber plantation.
- Management of the TFDPC Plantations as well as the Welfare Plantations for sustainable production of raw rubber in marketable forms & then for sustainable production of good quality rubber-wood for further value addition.
Ø Promotion of eco-friendly rubber wood & its products to reduce pressure on natural forests.
- Promotion and establishment of rubber latex and rubber wood based industries in the state for value addition.
Planned substitution of chemical fertilizer in these plantations by organic manures.
- Socio-economic development of rubber plantation dependent communities with responsible management practices, helping them adapt to climate change & to achieve environmental benefits like carbon sequestration, soil conservation & protecting soil moisture as well from rubber plantations.
TFDPCL is managing rubber plantations since its inception in 1976 with the species, Hevea brasiliensis (Wild. ex A. Juss., Müll. Arg. Since 2011 it has also undertaken plantations of bamboo like Rupai Bash (Dendrocalamus longispathus), Paora (Bambusa polymorpha), Kanak kaich (Thyrsostachys oliveri) and Muli (Melocanna baccifera) considering their potential for value addition and industrial applications. Several other tree species such as Jackfruit /Kathal (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Chamol (Artocarpus chaplasa), Mritinga Bamboo (Bambusa tulda), Barak Bamboo (Bambusa balcooa), Makal Bamboo (Bambusa pallid) are also being planted in windbreaks or shelter belts for rubber plantations with additional attributes of soil and moisture conservation; soil enrichment and enhancement of biodiversity compatible with the objectives of the Management Plan. The rubber plantations are managed for rubber latex extraction from the year seven after planting till 28th year of the plantations when the rubber tree attains maturity and is harvested.
These rubber plantations have been raised with two types of planting stocks –Seed origin & Clonal (grafted) origin. The plantations created in the initial years (around 1977-78) were from seed origin only. The rubber trees formed by seed origin seedlings, exhibit strong tapering tendencies in the clear bole part of the stem. Their latex yield is also less. On the contrary, the Clonal plantations show lesser taper & their latex production is high compared to the plantations raised by seedlings of seed origin. Rubber latex can be tapped from these trees in an economically viable manner from 7th year up to 28 to 32 years of age. However, the optimum rubber plantation and harvesting cycle is 28 years.
The planting has been done at a spacing of 3.4M X 6.7M. At this spacing, the trees close the canopy after about 7 to 10 years of age & the canopy density is 0.8 to 1.0 wherever the survival percentage is more than 80%. Thus, a successful rubber plantation can save the soil from the onslaught of rain induced erosion. This factor assumes greater importance in the state of Tripura as the state receives significant amount of rain, especially during monsoon.
The time for harvest of rubber plantations is decided based on two additional criteria apart from the age of plantation-
a. Productivity of latex (DRC) less than 300 kg per ha
b. Demand for rubber wood to meet the commitment of TFDPC Industrial Estate
The period of rotation for these rubber plantations generally is 30 +/- 2 years. Thus, generally, the plantations are proposed to be felled when they reach 28 to 32 years of age. It should be ensured that all existing non-rubber trees in the coupe including those on fire lines are retained and protected to sustain and promote biodiversity. It should also be ensured that minimum damage is inflicted on other trees during the act of felling, dragging & transportation.
The size requirement of rubber logs for delivery to the Industrial Estate for conversion into sawn timber or solid wood boards is between 1 m to 4 m in length with mid-girth not less than 60 cm.
The special objectives of management of bamboo plantations are listed below:
- Rehabilitation of steep slopes (more than 30 degrees) in the Rubber Plantation Working Circle through bamboo plantations.
- Management of pure bamboo plantations of TFDPCL for sustainable production of bamboo.
- Socio-economic development of members of SHGs engaged in manufacture of bamboo furniture and handicrafts through their training and capacity building.
- Promotion of bamboo production & bamboo based handicraft & industries in the state for socio-economic & environmental development of the state.
- Planned substitution of chemical fertilizers in bamboo plantation activity by organic manure according to the strategy recorded in Part II, para 18.104.22.168.
- Socio-economic development of bamboo dependent communities with responsible management practices, helping them adapt to climate change & to achieve environmental
benefits like carbon sequestration, soil conservation & protecting soil moisture as well from bamboo plantations.
The Bamboo plantations include the existing pure bamboo plantations of about 64 hectares raised during 2011-12 and 2012-13 and parts of the coupe/replanting area of Rubber Plantations with 30 degree or higher slopes or areas otherwise showing evidence of accelerated soil erosion. Such areas will be set aside for bamboo plantation and would be made part of the Bamboo Overlapping Working Circle, provided the area available at a stretch is not less than 3 ha. Natural regeneration will be encouraged and protected in the rest of such areas to enhance indigenous biodiversity.
The social impact study conducted by an independent institution shows that TFDPCL plantations have improved the socio-economic status of the local community through assured and enhanced income levels, better education and health facilities and permanent settlement.
Similarly the environmental impact and bio-diversity study conducted by an independent agency shows positive contribution of TFDPCL plantations in increasing the tree cover, avoiding soil and wind erosion. As per recommendations of the EIA a bio-diversity conservation plan has been prepared to conserve high sloppy areas for natural regeneration with augmentation of bamboo plantations where ever the area is more than 3 hectares in one patch. Some rubber plantation areas which have been identified as important for conservation value will be transferred to the protected areas i.e. wildlife sanctuary after logging and thus would be managed as per the wildlife plan.