Recognizing the growing importance of community involvement in protection and management of forest resources, the Division started as Afforestation Division in 1989 under the then Department of Forest. In accordance with the decentralization policy of the Royal government, social forestry activities, forest fire management, protection of Tsamdrog and Sokshing from encroachment and allocation of dry fire wood was designated as Dzongkhag level programme in 1993, the Division was renamed as Social Forestry and Extension Section. Accordingly, forest staffs were transferred to all Dzongkhag administration in 1994 for implementation of decentralized forestry activities. The Section was renamed as Social Forestry and Afforestation Section (SFAS) in 1997. It gradually focused its role in technically backstopping the Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors for effective implementation of the decentralized activities.
During the restructuring exercise of the Royal government in 2000, the Section was merged as Forestry Extension Section (FES) with the Forest Resource Development Division (FRDD), separate functional Division at the Department of Forest (DoF) Directorate. In view of the important role the Section plays in enhancing participatory forest management, it regained its independent status as a Section and eventually as a Forestry Extension Division (FED) in 2001 coinciding with the decentralization of two other activities namely; implementation of afforestation activities and sanctioning authority for rural house building timber. Finally in 2003, it was then renamed as Social Forestry Division (SFD) responsible to act as a guardian for the 20 Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors in implementing the activities decentralized. The Division is one of the four functional Divisions at the forest directorate.
Vision: To become the hub of excellence for forestry extension service delivery for all forestry activities within the country.
Mission: To enhance participatory and sustainable forest management both on private and government land by creating enabling legal environment; development of manuals and guidelines for implementation; and technically back stopping the Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors within the framework of the decentralized forestry activities.
Mandate: To technically backstop the Dzongkhag forestry sectors in effective and efficient implementation of the decentralized forestry activities and enhance participatory sustainable forest management.
Functions of the Division
- Provide functional support to Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors in building a system for managing social forestry program;
- Provide technical support and implementation of (i) private forestry; and (ii) community forestry programme;
- Guide the planning and implementation of plantation programs of (i) Territorial Divisions; (ii) Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors; (iii) Forestry Development Corporation Ltd.; and (iv) Industrial Firms;
- Develop local forest fire management institutions; formulating National Forest Fire Prevention Strategy; and building capacity for fighting forest fire;
- Develop technical guidelines and manuals on strengthening the management of social forestry program, including watershed management;
- Monitor and evaluate the impact of social forestry and plantation programs;
- Design and organize training programs to strengthen the capacity of Forestry Extension staff and the target groups; and
- Plan and implement education and communication intervention program to raise the awareness of the public about social, economic and environmental issues associated with forestry.
Social Forestry Section
- The mandate of this Section is to promote Social Forestry Programme by:
- Supporting the Dzongkhags in the preparation of five-year private and community forestry plans;
- Nationwide monitoring and evaluation of the impact of social forestry program;
- Updating of information on the status of social forestry program;
- Developing methodologies for participatory planning and implementation social forestry program;
- Assessment of impact of the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules on social forestry program;
- Providing technical support to the Dzongkhags in the preparation of operational plans;
- Facilitation of rapid appraisal of potential areas for private and community forestry, including socio-economic and biophysical studies;
- Planning and organizing training and workshops for forestry extension staff to enhance their capacity to improve the delivery of forestry extension services;
- Developing training modules and imparting training to clients in Private and Community Forestry;
- Representing the Department of Forestry at national and international conferences in the field of social forestry;
- Developing technical manuals on planning and implementation of community forestry and private forestry programs;
- Reviewing community forest and private forest management plans of the Dzongkhags and ensuring timely accordance of approval by the Department;
- Publishing Druk Forestry News in association with the other three sections;
- Providing technical inputs to the Forest Resources Development Division in designing extension approaches for the forest management units; and
- Providing technical assistance to the Dzongkhag Forestry Sector in the implementation of community and private forestry activities;
- The section will improve forest plantation management through:
- Formulating a long term guide for plantation programme;
- Providing technical and extension guidelines/manuals for Dzongkhag Forestry Sectors, Forestry Development;
- Corporation Ltd. and wood-based industries on the management of plantation programme;
- Compiling and updating national plantation records;
- Monitoring and evaluation of plantations created by different agencies and give recommendations for improvement;
- Providing technical support to implementing agencies in improving the tree nursery and plantation techniques;
- Verification of estimates and issuing technical sanctions for plantation works;
- Updating the nursery and plantation key references, and plantation norms and standards;
- Identifying suitable indigenous and exotic species for plantation and soil conservation;
- Enhancing people’s participation in plantation programme;
- Representing the DoF in national and international forum in matter related to plantation; and
- Liaising with other sections of the Division.
- Developing appropriate methodologies for conducting inventories of important NWFPs in the country, including collaborative actions
- Developing Management guidelines for priority NWFPs in the country focusing on sustainable management
- To establish cooperation and coordination among stakeholders in the NWFP sector in Bhutan
- Understanding of existing experience in NWFP management and development
- Understanding the challenges in NWFP management
- Provide technical backstopping
- Identifying the existing potential threats and opportunities of NWFPs in Bhutan and the recommendations and strategies for sustainable management
- Promote NWFP development activities in CF (In cooperation with DzFO, DFO/PM, GFEA and CFMG)
- Provide technical supports to all CF NWFP stakeholders
- Prepare management guidelines for CF NWFP (Coll. With DzFS, RNR-RC)
- Encourage reviving of degraded stock of any NWFP spp. within the CF
- Organize study tour on NWFP development activities