Vanasree: Wonders from the Wilderness




Vanasree Units across the State


The forests of Kerala state which are part of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hot-spot, are repositories of innumerable products useful to mankind, quite apart from timber. These products, likely honey, medicinal herbs, resins, incense, spices, condiments, fibers, etc, are generally called Mirror Forest Produce (MFP) or more recently, Non-Wood  Forest Produce (NWPP) and have been traditionally handled by the forest department communities, predominantly tribal peoples. The produce collected used to be traded for paltry amounts, without value addition, mostly in the informal market controlled by middlemen. Further, the collection process was mostly destructive and the removals were unsustainable. This resulted in the extinction of many endemic species in our forests.

Participatory Forest Management (PFM) initiatives instituted in the State during the late 1990s gave a new direction to the approach of the Forest Department and the Forest dependant communities with the management of NWFP. Scientific Management of NWFP has been identified as the most significant step necessary for improving the lively hood of forest-dependent communities and for ensuring their meaningful participation in forest conservation.  Developing scientific collection protocols, setting up facilities for storage, developing value-addition processes, and marketing NWFP have been inseparably intertwined with the principles and practices of PFM in the state. Many successful initiatives emerged in many parts of the state in the field of sustainable harvesting of products like honey, black dammer, coccum, etc. Forest Samrakshana Samithies (VSS) and the Eco-development Committees (EDC).

For providing organized support services to the VSS and EDC in the fields of scientific collection, value addition, and marketing of NWFP, a “Vanasree Cell” has been set up in the Forest Department.  Value-added products are marketed as “Vanasree” products.

We, the Forest Department, and the forest-dependent communities ensure that the marketed “Vanasree” products are sustainably harvested, hygienically processed, and packaged in eco-friendly materials. In the endeavor,  we target better livelihood for three lakh people who constitute our forest dependant population.


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