The Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) is one of the oldest Government Departments established in 1952. During this inception period and until the early 1980s, DoFPS used to be manned by foresters from India on deputation in the absence of national capacities. Since its establishment then and now, several changes have taken place in the way forest resources are managed. National capacities have been developed and now DoFPS is fully manned by nationals; and several legal and institutional changes have been brought in for sustainable management of forest resources and enhancement of service delivery to the public.
A massive of political change has taken place in Bhutan in 2008-the endorsement of the Constitution of Bhutan; the establishment of Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy; and the establishment of an elected government. Such a profound change in governance system in the country has also profound implications for government institutions, particularly in the way they function and deliver public services. Along with this historic change in the governance system of the country several important development and policy agendas have been taken up. Some of the major ones include the endorsement of the 10th FYP by the Parliament in December 2008 Parliament session; and Ministry of Agriculture’s initiation of the revision of the National Forest Policy of 1974 and Forest and Nature Conservation Act of 1995. Both these documents have profound implications for the Department of Forest in terms of its roles and responsibilities.
Further a review of the DoFPS roles and responsibilities is required to redefine the institutional and organizational roles of the Department of Forest for ensuring sustainable management of forest resources, efficient and effective forestry administration and service delivery.
Mandates and functions of DoFPS
- Ensuring the maintenance of a minimum of 60% of the country’s geographical area under forest cover for all times to come as mandated by the Constitution of Bhutan through development and implementation of forestry programs;
- Conservation, protection, sustainable management and utilization of state forests, forest soil, water resources and biodiversity through insightful application of good science and science based management prescriptions;
- Contribute to production of food, water, energy and other commodities by effectively coordinating between forestry, farming systems and other agencies;
- Facilitate development of forest based industries to contribute to local and national economics, and to create employment opportunities;
- Facilitate the empowerment of rural communities for the stewardship and management of local forest resources and NWFPs for income generation and livelihood enhancement and contribute to poverty reduction through enactment of enabling policies, legislations, strategies, plans and programs;
- Ensuring progressive forestry research to provide relevant analyses on forest resources data for formulation of effective policies, plans, strategies, rules and regulations for sustainable forest management;
- Ensuring transparent and enhanced delivery of forestry services to the public through appropriate development of forestry administration, organization, capacity and facilities;
- Ensuring to meet the demands of urban recreation and education needs through creation and establishment of urban parks and gardens;
- Ensuring Bhutan’s commitments to international and regional conventions, treaties and non-legally binding instruments through participation, facilitating and enactment of enabling policies, legislations, strategies, plans, and programs;
- Maintaining effective coordination with forestry related institutions both within and outside the country for enhancing institutional capacity, recruitment of forestry personnel, knowledge base and forestry techniques;
In order to fulfill the mandates and functions mentioned above, the Department of Forest and Park Services has identified the following nine programs to be implemented during the ninth FYP. The plans for these programs are prepared by the functional divisions and implemented by the territorial divisions, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The decentralized activities are implemented by the Dzongkhag Forestry sectors.