Poverty is increasing worldwide due to the population increase, higher consumption of resources and inequality of resource distribution. Also poverty is higher among the rural population which is comprised of 70% of the world population mainly due to environmental degradation.
Being forestry is a multilateral subject it can be used for rural development through an integrated manner. These rural development programs should consist of improving social forestry and agro forestry systems, improving small scale industries of non wood forest products in rural areas, family oriented improving schemes and hence development of forest villages as revenue villages. Regenerate and management of forests and trees for food security, energy plantations for fuel wood supply and rural electrification, Green belt establishment to improve coastal livelihoods, improving mangrove ecosystems will also be added to those forestry programs. It will be more effective if they can be included forest extension, forestry education, and forestry research and personnel management in rural areas with infrastructure development. Legal and financial support of governmental and non-governmental organizations is very important factors for those implementations.
It has been now recognized that maximum participation of community for decision-making in forestry programs is very essential for successful consequences. There are several such effective initiatives in Sri Lanka such as participatory forestry programs, upper watershed management projects; wilderness area management programs based on community participation with governmental support. And also successful stories from India and Nepal of community forestry programs are valuable examples for us.
Sri Lanka being a developing country integrated forestry related programs will be an effective answer for achieving the development of rural communities giving them drinking water, food, energy, education, health and infrastructure facilities with proper livelihoods in a sustainable manner. It will also increase gross national production in the rural sector while conserving the well-being of the rural population.