Working Plan

WORKING PLAN

Working Plan is a tool for scientific management of forests and is extremely useful in evaluating the status of forest resources, assessing the impact of past management practices and deciding about suitable management interventions for the future.  The practice of systematic management planning of the forests in India was established in the colonial period through a written statement of prescriptions titled as "Working or Management Plan (WP)" for a fixed period, generally for 10 years in the post-independent period.  The concept of "sustained yield" though a limited version of sustainability, finds mention in almost every Working Plan of the country.

All forests are to be sustainably managed under the prescription of the working plan / scheme.  The National Forest Policy clearly states "No forest should be permitted to be worked without an approved Working Plan by the competent authority".

The National Working Plan Code:

  • To sustainably manage, conserve and utilize the forest resources and to bring uniformity in forest management planning across the country, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India adopted a uniform code, the National Working Plan Code in 2004. 
  • As there has been a paradigm shift in the approach to environmental stability, biodiversity monitoring and management, restoration of ecological balance of the disturbed areas, protective functions of the resources and socio-economic benefits based on non-timber forest products (NTFPs), the revised National Working Plan Code 2014 has been formulated and enforced from 01.04.2014, to address the aspects related to climate change, biodiversity conservation, use of geospatial techniques, soil and water management, revitalization of rural economy on forest fringe, sustainable management of forests and peoples' participation, etc. 
  • Systematic grid based forest inventory provided in the Code takes care of valuable baseline information for change matrix monitoring and analysis and better scientific and sustainable management of country's forests.

Preparation of Working Plan:

  • Preparation of Working Plan is a highly technical exercise undertaken at regular interval in each forest division. 
  • It is the duty of the manager or owner of the forest area to ensure the preparation of the Working Plan / scheme. 
  • The preparation of the Working Plan is based on stock and vegetation maps which is prepared through ground surveys. 
  • Recently, the use of modern tools like Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS is being utilized for preparing the forest cover maps of forest divisions. 
  • Every Working Plan includes the area specific scientific preparations for proper management of forests of a particular forest division, while working schemes are prepared for smaller areas for a specific purpose or for forest areas under the control/ownership of such bodies as private, village, municipal, cantonment, autonomous district council (especially in north eastern states), etc.  These prescriptions enable necessary co-existence of development with nature for simultaneous implementation of Indian Forest Act 1927, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Forest Conservation Act 1980, Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, (PESA), Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 and meeting the requirements of the objectives of the National Forest Policy and other international Conventions / agreements.
  • The authority as designated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests will approve the Working Plan and ensure its implementation.
  • Even working schemes have all major elements of a Working Plan and these schemes also need the sanction of the competent authority.
  • Generally the Working Plan is to be revised every 10 years and the preparation of Working Plan of a territorial forest division should normally take two years which may vary depending upon the volume of work and technical facilities available.
  • The satellite imagery based information are used for various steps in preparation of Working Plan including forest cover map, stock map, picking up details for creating management maps, planning surveys and field inventory and baseline reference map.
  • The Working Plan Officer is supplied with updated compartment / village / management unit history, deviation forms, control forms and all other baseline data required for Working Plan along with the list of JFM areas and work done by the District Forest Officer, Territorial.

Preliminary Working Plan Report (PWPR):

  • PWPR is of considerable importance, as it forms the basis of the WPO's field work to make required assessment to undertake forest management planning. 
  • The PWPR should contain necessary details of the Working Plan area, details of management practices adopted during the Working Plan period along with the aspects of forest management which are considered important for assessing the sustainability, accompanied by a set of related quantitative, qualitative or descriptive attributes.  This is the basis for the summary of facts on which proposals / prescription for future management is made.
  • The PWPR indicates the work what the WPO has to do, close analysis of the results of the past management.

Preparation of PWPR:

  • In which the Working Plan revision is due to commence (at least two and half years before the expiry of current Working Plan period), the concerned District Forest Officer territorial is directed by Head, territorial forest circle to initiate preparation of the PWPR notes briefly review the results of management during the past years and point out whether the general system of management is satisfactory or not and then suggest any change for improvement.
  • The DFO must complete the notes within two months and submit the note to the Head of territorial forest circle, who in turn inspects the forests concerned and writes the PWPR and submits the draft to concerned CCF/APCCF/PCCF for consideration of the Standing Consultative Committee.
  • A check list of necessary information and inputs to be provided to WPO should be annexed along with PWPR for scrutiny and guidance from the Committee.
  • The Head, territorial forest circle during the PWPR preparation will hold consultation with local people's forum about the expectations of people dependent on forests and try to accommodate the same as far as possible to the extent they are compatible with the technical feasibility of sustainable management of forests.

Standing Consultative Committee

  • A Standing Consultative Committee of the State under the Chairmanship of PCCF (HOFF) having representation from the State (including Chief Wildlife Warden) and MOEF (Regional APCCF ) for preparation of Working Plans.  The experts from FSI and its Regional Centres and ICFRE institutes included in the Committee.

Finalization of PWPR:

  • The draft PWPR is deliberated upon in the Standing Consultative Committee meeting chaired by the PCCF (HOFF).
  • The approval of PWPR by PCCF (HOFF) is granted at least two years prior to the expiry of the current Working Plan, so that the delivery of approved Working Plan to the DFO territorial concerned for implementation can be completed prior to expiry of the current plan.

Draft Working Plan:

  • It is advisable for the WPO to submit first draft of the plan as per the approved PWPR and time frame.
  • Part-I of the Working Plan provides the information generated from various sources including forest inventory and assessment.
  • The Chapter "Past systems of management" and "Statistics of growth and yield" should be written comprehensively and completed soon after the data has been compiled and analyzed.
  • Part-II will be written chapter by chapter using more or less standardized paragraph headings in their proper order.
  • The draft Working Plan should be completely self-contained, so that it is not necessary to refer to any other document to understand it.
  • The complete plan along with required maps is first vetted by the CCF / APCCF (WP).
  • Suggestions/alterations may be incorporated in the final draft Working Plan for submission to RAPCCF (MOEF).
  • In case of any serious irreconcilable difference of opinion, between SFD & RAPCCF (MOEF), the matter may be referred to DGF&SS (MOEF) for final decision in the matter.

Sanction of the Plan:

  • Draft Working Plan as deliberated in the Standing Consultative Committee is sent to the RAPCCF (MOEF) by the PCCF (HOFF) under intimation to the Government.  After examining the Plan, the RAPCCF (MOEF) accords the approval on behalf of MOEF as such or with necessary suggestions, directions and modifications within three months.

Amendments:

  • Any change in silvicultural system, clear felling of natural forest, formation of new felling series, large scale felling due to natural calamities, which cannot be adjusted against future yield etc. which permanently alter the basis of management laid down in a Working Plan, will require prior sanction of the RAPCCF (MOEF).
  • Any amendment in the plan involving points of technical importance leading to the change in the prescriptions should be sent to RAPCCF (MOEF) by PCCF (HOFF) through State Government.

Status of Working Plan:

            Approved Working Plans for the following divisions expired on 31.03.2016 for which preparation works have been initiated and the writing work is under progress in various stages.

 

Sl. No.

Name of Division

Working Plan Period

Date of expiry

Stage

1

Vellore

2006-2016

31.03.2016

Discussion of PWPR completed and writing work is under progress

2

Tirupattur

2006-2016

31.03.2016

3

Chengalpattu

2006-2016

31.03.2016

4

Tiruvallur

2006-2016

31.03.2016

5

Chennai

2006-2016

31.03.2016

6

Salem

2006-2016

31.03.2016

Final Draft Plan sent to GOI for approval.

7

Namakkal

2006-2016

31.03.2016

Discussion of PWPR completed and writing work is under progress

8

Madurai

2007-2017

31.03.2017

9

Hosur

2007-2017

31.03.2017

10

Tiruvannamalai North

2007-2017

31.03.2017

11

Tiruvannamalai South

2007-2017

31.03.2017

12

Tirunelveli

2008-2018

31.03.2018

13

Thoothukudi

2008-2018

31.03.2018