Economic importance of forests

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Economic importance of forests
Forests constitute one of the majdr natural resource of India. They produce a large variety of woods which are used as fuel, timber and industrial raw material. Accordingly forest products and their economic importance of India are classified into two categories—major products and minor products.
Major forest products consist of timber, smallwood and fuelwood including charcoal. Indian forests produce about 5000 species of wood, of which. about 450 are commercially valuable, Both hard and soft woods are obtained from Indian forests. Hard woods include important species such as teak, mahogany, logwood, iron-wood, ebony, sal, greenheart, kikar, semal etc. These woods are used for furniture, wagons, tools, etc. Soft woods include deodar, poplar, pine, fir, cedar, balsam, etc. They are light, strong, fairly durable and easy to work and as such are very useful for constructional timbers. They also provide useful raw material for making paper pulp. It is interesting to note the 70% of hardwood is burnt as fuel and only 30% is used as commercial activities. Forest meet about 40% of energy needs of the country including more than 80% of the rural energy requirements.
Minor forest products include all products obtainable from forests other than wood and thus comprise products of vegetable and animal origin. Some of the important forest products of minor nature are – Grasses, bamboos, cannes, drugs, leaves, gums, resins, fibres and flosses etc.

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