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Forest conservancy in West Bengal started in 1864 under the Govt. of Bengal. Just prior to independence, the Forest Organisation in Bengal was as follows: Aranya Bhavan, West Bengal Forest
Aranya Bhavan: W.B. Forest Administrative Building
 
Chief Conservator of Forests
     
Northern Circle   Southern Circle   Development Circle   Western Circle
     
Darjeeling
Kalimpong
Jalpaiguri
Buxa
  Chittagong Hill Tract
Ducca-Maymansingh
Sunderbans
  Working Plans
Utilisation
Silviculture
Forest School
  Other West Bengal Forests
 
After independence (and partition of Bengal) several changes were made in the Forest organisation. The nomenclature of Chief Conservator of Forests was changed to Director of Forests (Conservator General of Forests). The administrative set up stood as follows on 1st April 1951:
 
Director of Forests
Silviculture, Utilisation, Working Plans and West Bengal Forest School
(Under direct control)
         
Northern Circle
Darjeeling
alimpong
Kurseong
Jalpaiguri
Buxa
Cooch Behar
    Southern Circle
24-Parganas
Bankura
Midnapore
Central
Malda
Burdwan
 

With the enactment of West Bengal Private Forest (Amendment) Act, 1954 along with West Bengal Estate Acquisition Act 1953 and abolition of Zamindary system in 1955 and resumption of surplus lands of the tea gardens, forest area in the state increased.  Prior to the above, two events viz. merger of Cooch Behar State with West Bengal took place in 1950 and due to reorganization of States, part of the former Manbhum district of Bihar was transferred to West Bengal on 1st November, 1956 with creation of the District of Puruliya.

Presently the State of West Bengal extends from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the south.  It lies between 20° 31′ N and 27° 12′ N latitude and 85° 50′ E and 89° 52′ E longitude, covering a geographic area of 88,752 sq.km. Five States (Sikkim, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa) and three countries (Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh) surround West Bengal – Sikkim to the North, Bhutan to the North-East, Assam and Bangladesh to the East, Nepal, Bihar and Jharkhand to the West and Jharkhand and Orissa to the South-West.

Total recorded forest land in the state is presently 11,879 sq.km., of which 7,054 sq.km. is Reserved Forest, 3,772 sq.km. is Protected Forest and 1,053 sq.km. is Unclassed State Forest, thus constituting 13.38% of the geographical area of the state.

During last four decades, lots of radical changes have taken place in the civil administrative set up of the State due to various reasons.  Naturally, changes have also been made in the Forest Organization, in consideration of the present day need of the administration to meet the whole gamut of functions of forest and wildlife management, consolidation of participatory forest management in different agro climatic regions and execution on a very large scale of activities related to social/farm/urban forestry in non-forest areas of the State. In 1974, West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Ltd. came into being for large scale harvesting of forest produces, creation of new eco-tourism centers, production and marketing of forest products and such allied activities. The administration of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Limited at various level is headed by the officers of the Forest Directorate on deputation.

The post of the administrative head of the Forest Directorate was named as Chief Conservator of Forests, subsequently upgraded to the rank of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal on 01.09.1987 and is presently designated also as Head of Forest Force (HoFF).

For intensive management of Wildlife of the State, a new post of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Biodiversity has been created along with a separate Wildlife Wing. Almost 34% of the total forest area, consisting of 15 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 5 National Parks, 1 Biosphere Reserves and 2 Tiger Reserves, is under the Protected Area Network.

 
Objective
1. Take up massive need based and time bound programme of afforestation and tree planting with particular emphasis at fuelwood & fodder development on all available lands in the State, whether forest or non forest lands, to meet the requirement of the community on one hand, and improve the environment on the others.

2. Ensure people's participation in conservation and development natural resources of the State through Socio economic development of the forest fringe communities.

3. Conservation of natural flora & fauna (biodiversity conservation) in the forests and the Wetlands, through creation of protected Areas in the State.

4. Enhancement of forest productivity through modern and scientific practices.

5. Increase forest cover in the State to meet the national goal.

6. Promote eco-tourism and wilderness tourism to sensitize the visitors and to spread the message of the need for biodiversity conservation.

7. Generate substantial employment in rural areas of the State.

8. Application of Information Technology to reinforce participation, sharing and caring - the three pillars of Forest Department.

9. Regulation of tree felling, timber movement and establishment of Wood Based Industries in the State.
 
Functions
1. Greening the State through afforestation and allied activities like agro-forestry & agro-silvipasture for extension of the tree cover in the State and also ensure stability of the agro-ecological production system of the State.

2. To consolidate and carry forward the movement of participatory in management of natural resources in different agro-climatic regions of the State through economic uplift of forest fringe population identified in Forest Protection Committees and Eco-Development Committees.

3. To conserve and enrich biodiversity in Protected Area Net work and multiple use forests through implementation of programme of eco-development, habitat improvement, control of trade on poaching, reduction of man-animal conflict and appropriate ex-situ conservation measures.

4. To enhance productivity of existing forests through implementation of Tree Improvement Programme including clonal technology.

5. To generate awareness on conservation of biodiversity and forest resources of the State through Eco-tourism Centers, observance of 'Aranya Saptah' and 'Vanya Pran Saptah' sensitize student communities and voluntary action groups in different agro- climatic regions to the need of conservation efforts.

6. TO meet requirement of the community for fuel wood, fodder, small timber & NTFP, and rural employment generation through forestry & related activities.

7. To meet requirement of the bulk consumers in the public sector like Coal Mining Companies, Pulpwood & Paper mills in Private sector and Other wood based industries like Plywood, Matchwood and Saw Mills with the resources generated from the forest areas of the State.
All right reserved to © West Bengal Forest Department, 2008