National Forestry Information System (NFIS)
National Forestry Information System (NFIS) is an open web-based information system in India on forestry activities, which is being set up by the Government.
The NFIS creates relevant data, by taking inputs from satellite imageries, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and well-designed ground surveys, an approach used by Forest Survey of India (FSI) in its core activities, for monitoring the implementation of various country-wide afforestation programmes/ schemes like Green India Mission (GIM), Compensatory Afforestation and National Afforestation Programme (NAP), which involve sizeable financial expenditure. NFIS is an information technology driven system, which is to be used as an aid for monitoring Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) in forestry sector, and will manage a wide range of spatial and non-spatial data. It will also be useful for validation and dissemination of forestry statistics required for satisfying international and national commitments. Thus, in addition to the prime objective of monitoring centrally sponsored schemes in the forestry sector, it also aims at collecting, compiling and disseminating information on the production, consumption, export and import of forestry products including timber, non-timber forest products, etc.
On 20.09.2012, Expenditure Finance Commission (EFC) approved the following activities to be undertaken by NFIS.
NFIS is different from the Environment Information System (ENVIS) which is already in existence. Works on the NFIS started since 2005 and a pilot study has been completed as on date.
- Data Collection for Monitoring of Plantations.
- Strengthening of Geometrics Cell in zonal offices of Forest Survey of India (FSI).
- Creation of Centre of East Zone Office at Guwahati.
- Creation of Research & Development Unit at FSI.
- Monitoring of incremental Carbon Stock of India’s Forests.
- National Forestry Database Management System (NFDMS) for monitoring of CSSs.
In prior discussions on the matter, NFIS was known as National Forestry Database Management System (NFDMS).
India is a member of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) wherein various demand and supply, production and consumption data regarding timber and fuel wood etc. are required to be submitted on annual basis in prescribed formats. Besides fulfilling international commitments, the collection, compilation, validation and dissemination of forestry statistics is urgently required for satisfying commitments towards Central Statistical Organization’s (CSO) data efforts. This makes it highly essential that the entire forest statistical system is carefully reviewed and researched while the reporting capacity is re-enforced in an appropriate manner.
The production, consumption, trade and movement of wood and non-wood forest produce both within and outside Government-owned forests contributes substantially to the national economy / GDP, though no real term data exist on its quantum. Establishing linkages with other all-India data, such as National Census, National Sample Surveys (NSS) and export and import databases, etc. are also essential to strengthen the socio-economic dimensions of forest statistics.
Maintenance of proper statistics and records is inevitable also for the management of forests on a sustainable basis.
Presently, forestry related data is disseminated through Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE). ICFRE’s ‘Forest Statistics in India’ presents data in seven sections dealing with Forest Resource, Establishment, Production, Wildlife, Social and Economic Aspects, Trade and Silviculture.
However, many of the items published in ‘Forest Statistics in India’ are not reported/ available. Further, many State Forest Departments and UTs are either not submitting the data or the same is not in proper form/ prescribed formats. As a result, the national picture on many parameters of forestry remains unclear. Moreover, the contribution of forestry products viz., timber, poles, fuel-wood, and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), including medicinal plants, to GDP remain unreported. Development of a National Forestry Information System (NFIS) could address such concerns.
It was felt necessary, therefore, to develop an appropriate database regarding forestry products. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change constituted an Expert/ Advisory/ Working Group on 26.05.2005 with the aim of supporting the implementation of an integrated National Forestry Database Management System (NFDMS) in a comprehensive manner including strengthening of technological, institutional and human capabilities to ensure continuing and effective dissemination and use of forest statistics. Since preparation of a ‘blue print’ towards its development is a pre-requisite for development of software and necessary data networking, the Expert Group recommended to carry out an (a) Information Need Analysis (INA) to identify parameters required for fulfilling both National and International commitments, (b) Functional Requirement Study (FRS) of the States/Union Territories to understand why States/ Union Territories are either not submitting forest statistics or submitting them incompletely, and (c) to conduct necessary interactions with States/ UTs in smaller groups to address problems and identify region-specific parameters for necessary data collection, compilation and dissemination.
On 20.09.2012, Expenditure Finance Commission (EFC) approved the activities to be undertaken by NFIS. A pilot study to establish the methodology for monitoring of relevant centrally sponsored schemes has been completed in 2014-15.
- Forest Survey of India (FSI)
- Outcome Budget 2015-16 of M/o EF&CC