The forests are declared a ‘national asset’ and state control declared as in the interest of the entire country. “The rationale for government ownership is the belief that private individuals and groups will not invest in tree crops whose gestation period often exceeds a lifetime” of the individual.
A second feature relates to the continuity of control over forests by technically trained managers. This immediately denies any role in the forest upkeep or management to the traditional local knowledge and practices.
The pitfall is that resource use and resource management are segregated as mutually insular categories. Further the commercial exploitation of forest continues even in independent India. The colonial orientation of forest as a revenue generating possession continues in the same manner in the post- colonial state.
There is thus a tendency to over exploit the forest. As suggested by Gadgil and Guha, “A narrow commercial orientation is also reflected in research produced individual bibliographies for commercially valuable species such as teak, sal and chir pine, whereas the many varieties of oak, so crucial for sustaining Himalayan agriculture, only merited a single bibliography”.
Finally, the social groups which are intimately connected with forest do not seem to possess any long-term interest in the upkeep of forest resources. The situation is appalling in view of the fact that the forest management does not leave any scope for such social groups to benefit in any way from the forest resources.
The “bureaucratic apparatus, with its diffusion of responsibility and lack of any accountability, provides no motivation to a good officer for the proper management of resources under his charge, or disincentives from those who mismanage”.