In undivided Bihar about 17% of total geographical area was forest amounting to 29.48 lakh hectare. After it's in division in 2000, the forest cover in Bihar remained only 6.87% amounting to 6.16 lakh hectare of its total geographical area. By this division 79% of the total forest went to Jharkhand and only 21% remained in Bihar.
Except Western Champaran, North Bihar lacks in natural forests. Most of the natural forests are found in South Bihar in districts such as Kaimur, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Jamui, Banka, Munger and Bhagalpur.
Forests in Bihar(Series)
Classification of Forests in Bihar
- Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest (Himalayan Foothills and Terai Forest)
- Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest
1. Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest (Himalayan Foothills and Terai Forest)
This type of forest is generally found along the India-Nepal Border mainly in Himalayan Foothill region in North-Western region of West Champaran District. A very less wider 910 Km belt, out of which 846 Km is protected.
This type of Forest is also found in very large parts of Vindhyan Extension of Bihar in Kaimur and Rohtas districts.
In these region Annual average rainfall is more than 140 cm. Which makes the climate Moist, which in turn helps in development of Tropical Moist Deciduous trees in these forests.
This type of forest contain trees like Sal(Shorea Robusta), Sisam, Toon, Gambhar, Kadamb, Khair, Neem and Semal. Besides these long grasses like Sawai are also found in more moist and swampy region of the state.
2. Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest
This type of forest is found along West-Bengal and Jharkhand Border. In these region annual average rainfall is around 120 cm or lower which makes the climate here dry, and hence the vegetation here becomes Tropical Dry Deciduous.
In this type forest Amaltas, Sisam, Aawnoos, Mahua, Gambhar, Kadamb, Khair, Neem, Palas, Asan, Amla, Saal Bamboo etc. are found in abundance. Besides these Babool is also found in more drier regions.
In plains, plantation of Mango, Banana and Litchi are very famous, which contributes in the greenness of the state.
Forest Products in Bihar
There are many forest produce are found in the forest of the state. But the collection and trade of these forest produce are regulated by Bihar State forest Corporation. Some of the most important forests products are:
- Oilseeds obtained from Cotton, Harra, Bahera, Sal etc.
- Saaj and Kendu leaves,
- Tannins used for tanning leather and for many other purposes.
- Natural herbs and plants like Rauvolfia serpentine, Strychnos nux-vomica, Dioscorea etc.
- Laah obtained from Kusum, and Palas tree found along the Jharkhand border in Southern Bihar.
- Bamboo used for making domestic use products.
- Tassar Silk obtained from silk insects which are found from Arjun tree leaves.
- Sawai grass used to make rope found in Sahebganj and Bhagalpur districts.
Forest Based Industries in Bihar
There are many industries in Bihar which are based o forest obtained products.
- Wood cutting Mills, more than thousand in numbers across the state.
- Seasoning plants and Paper Board Industries in Samastipur, Rohtas and Darbhanga, Patna etc.
- Plywood Industries in Betia, Patna, Araria, Muzaffarpur, Purnea, Kishanganj and Araria.
- Catechu Industries in Betia.
- Matchbox and Bidi industries.
- Laah industries in Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and East Champaran.
Government Policies to Boost Forests in Bihar
Like National Forest Policy Bihar has its own State Forest Policy, which focuses on increasing it's forest cover to 33% .
The Policy brought two ways to increase the forest cover:-
1. Forest Development
The Policy focuses on increasing the forest cover to 31030.11Sq. Km fro current 73.689 Sw. Km, which is almost 4.5 times of present. To achieve this, the policy focuses on multiple approaches:-
1. Development of Forest on Unused Lands
- Development of forest on Deserted and Non-agricultural lands, which is about 1000 Sw. Km in the state.
- Development of forest on 11% of Fallow Land which is for fulfilling the 33% goal.
- Encouraging dense forestation on the premises of Government and Private Institutions.
- Afforestation along roads, public places.
- Encouraging social forestry on both private and public land will further help in achieving the 33% goal.
2. Rehabilitation and Conservation of Ruined Forests
Forest lands are decreasing because of agricultural land extension which is also affecting Bio-diversity negatively. The Forest Policy focuses on following ways:-
I. Redevelopment of Ruined Forests
These forest lands where tree density has fallen down to below 40%, are being redeveloped with the help of NGOs, international organization and with the people's support.
II. Private and Social Forestry
By this people can plant trees on private land as well as an community lands (social forestry) to increase forest cover.
III. National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Rehabilitation of National Parks and wildlife Sanctuaries are important. National Forest Policy 1972 give more importance to these parks and sanctuaries.
For implementation of State Forest Policy, state government established Forest Department and for manufacturing of forest products, the required wood and other forest produce are collected and traded by Bihar State Forest Development Corporation, This is a government company.
To boost forest cover on private farm lands lands in Bihar, the Government of Bihar brought many schemes as follows:-
- Hariyali Mission was launched in 2012, it aims at increasing the forest cover to 17% by the end of 2022.
- Mukhyamantri Niji Paudhshala Yojna was launched for Popular and other trees. Under this scheme GoB provides saplings of trees at nominal cost to farmers to plant them on their farmlands.