Right from primitive sage, man has dependent on forests for his survival. Forests are known to perform several ecological functions such as continuous cycling of air and water. They strengthen the hydrological systems by retaining underground water and reducing floods. They prevent soil erosion and also provide food, fuel, fodder etc. Millions drive their livelihood from collecting minor forest products that is available without cutting of trees and process on wood. A large population is employed in industries which use forest products as raw material.
In the industrialized world forest is still one of the vital resources. But for the tribal communities, who live in the forests and millions of people who stay on the boundary of the forests, it is the only source of subsistence directly or indirectly as all of their basic requirements are met by the forests and associated ecosystems.
Use of forests
Some of the major causes of the forest degradation and shrinkage in the world today are diversion of the forests land to agriculture, commercial exploitation, fuel wood extraction, cattle ranching, irrigation and hydroelectric projects. The traditional use of the local forest resource mainly depended on the modest need of the local population. With the growing needs of ever increasing population in the developing countries and industrial needs of developed countries, have over exploited the forest resources not only locally but globally.