Forest and Wildlife Department,

Government of Uttar Pradesh, India

Working Plan


Forests, in all civilizations, have been treated as important economic and biological resources, consequently, forests were put under some kind of management depending on the needs and knowledge available to a particular community.


Though planned woking of forests in India was crafted in isolated, decentralised way in 1837 by U.V. Munro, the than Superintendent of Forests in Travancore, a countrywide unified approach towards the preparation of working plans was undertaken by Sir Wilhelm Schlich, IG of Forests in 1884. This led W.E. D’arcy to come out with the treatise” Preparation of Forests Working Plans in India” in 1891, providing guidelines for systematic working plan preparations. The work of checking working plan was brought under Central control and this job was entrusted to FRI Dehradun.

However, Central control was lost in 1935 and felling of forests was carried out in total disregard to the working plan. For half a century after independence in 1947, State Governments prepared working plan according to their own codes. Finally, with the intervention of Hon. Supreme Court in 1996, it was decided that all working plans, were to be approved by the Central Government and a uniform National Working Plan Code, 2004 was adopted for the purpose. Recently, this code has been revised and replaced by National Woking Plan code, 2014.

Preparation of Working Plans

Working Plans are chiefly the concern of Divisional Forest Officer, Working Plan Officer and the Chief Conservator of Forests, Working Plan. Basic information regarding the forests i.e. the area statement, forest maps, compartment histories, effects of past management on the forests, details of various incidents affecting the health & status of forests, details of flora & fauna and the utilization fo forest produce, are provided by the Divisional Forest Officer. After analyzing this information and assessing the growing stock in the forest, the working plan officer prepares a ten year plan giving detailed prescriptions for management, conservation, treatments (of refractory site & crop) and other such aspects needing immediate attention. The forest area under a plan is divided into management units, known as working circles. These working circles may ot may not be contiguous with the geo-graphical area of the forests. Forest crop(e.g. Sal, Teak, Jamun, medicinal plants etc), activity & treatment (plantation, extension, soil conservation, ravine reclamation etc), conservation of wildlife etc are the defining factors for forming working circles. Each working circle contains detailed prescriptions regarding removal of forest produce and regeneration techniques to be used, and a list of sites (coupes) are prepared, where these works should be carried out. In case forest produce is to be extracted in the form of timber, bamboo, medicinal plants or any other produce, then estimations of yield on a sustainable basis are also given.

Thus a working plan is essentially a plan detailing the existing forest wealth (land, flora, fauna & water resources) describing the climatic and biotic factors and prescribing management practices to conserve, preserve and efficiently utilize this forest resource. As such these plans are very useful and important for every individual and agency having any interest in or bearing on the forests.

Needs of an increasing population have put massive demands on forests for land as well as for forest produce. To counter these demands Government. of India & State Government. have tried to extend forest cover on areas outside the traditional forest area, mainly on road, rail and canal stips, community lands and agricultural lands. This endeavour has led to various social forestry schemes being formulated and implemented.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide a judgement dated 12.12.96, in writ petition no 202/95, have laid down well-defined guidelines regarding working plans. This judgement makes it mandatory for all forest areas (irrespective of ownership and legal status) to be managed according to a scientific working plan. This judgement also makes it mandatory for the working plan to be approved by the Govt. of India. This is in accordance with the fact that forests are a concurrent subject.