By 2001, forest coverage in India had fallen from 40 percent at the beginning of the twentieth century to 23 percent, below the worldwide average of 30 percent. It has been recognized that one of the factors causing destruction of the forests is the arbitrary use of forest resources by the poor village communities, living in or on the fringes of forests, which depend on those resources to make a living. It is therefore vital to promote awareness of the importance of forest management among the local village residents while planning for forest conservation, and to provide assistance to improve the livelihoods of the poor and their effective use of forest resources in a sustainable manner.
To that purpose, it is critical that the frontline staff of each state's forest department, which implements the project and is in daily contact with local village communities, receives effective and well structured trainings on the latest skills and techniques covering various aspects of the forestry sector, including forest management methods based on a new innovative approach. However, the frontline staff currently lacks such skills and techniques, and does not yet have adequate experience in sharing techniques with local village residents. Thus this is the project to improve the training at the national level under the Directorate of Forest Education at CASFOS (Central Academy for State Forest Service), the official central training school of the Ministry of Environment, Govt. of India, in Dehradun, for the state forest officers who are the leaders and trainers for the training for the frontline staff at their states. In this way it is expected that the quality of training for the frontline staff at the state training schools all over India improves ultimately leading to the enhancement of their capacity.
For this project, two experts who have a long experience in forestry administration are dispatched from Japan's Forestry Agency to provide technical support in the activities such as:
They are also planning to experiment the revised training course at CASFOS in Dehradun. They also support in establishing monitoring and feedback system to clarify the impacts of the training at CASFOS and to improve the course systematically.
This technical cooperation project is linked to the ODA Loan Project "Capacity Development for Forest Management and Personnel Training" (a project to provide funds for improvement of training environment for frontline staff through the rehabilitation of State Forest Training Institutions and through capacity development of frontline forestry staff in about 10 Indian states). To assist this ODA Loan Project, in addition to long-term experts, short-term experts are also to be dispatched. Their technical inputs extend to activities of ODA Loan Project such as: