The seed of the said Minor Forest Products Branch was laid well before the end of the last century when Mr. J.S. Gamble made a collection of Minor Forest Products of India in 1878 under the direction of Sir Dietrich Brandis. Part of this collection was transferred to the Imperial Forest School, which was just opened. A regular museum of Minor Forest Products was started in 1891 by Sir D. Brandis, and was improved in 1892 by Mr. Gamble. Since then numerous additions and alterations have been made by number of officers and the present fine museum is the result of their efforts. Permanent records containing a good deal of valuable information were also started well before the end of the last century, and since then a vast amount of data have been collected on the Minor Forest Products (MFP), now called Non-Wood Forest Products or NWFPs.
What is NWFP ?
The term “Non-Wood Forest Products” has been coined to replace the old term “Minor Forest Products”. Since the term M.F.P. in the IV World Forestry Congress, 1954, it was suggested that M.F.P. be termed as “Economic Forest Produce other than wood”. This term has again been recently modified as “Non-Wood Forest Products” to cover all forest produce other than timber and fuel wood.
The better known among the NWFPs of socio-economic importance are leaves, bamboo and canes, gums, resin and oleo-resin, oil-seeds, essential oil including oil yielding grasses, fibers and flosses, grasses than oil yielding grasses, tans and dyes , drugs and species, animal products and edible products, etc. Their contribution to the economy is largely un-quantified as more than 60 percent of such production is locally consumed and are unrecorded.
It is estimated that NWFPs provide employment opportunities of grazing, collection of grasses and fodder, which provide millions man-years of employment. Better understanding and effective managements of NWFPs, its resource base and the patterns of activities and employments are required for long-term sustainability and overall development.
Non Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) are derived from over 3,100 species.
Image of the Division
1. In 1906, when the Forest Research Institute was started, economic research on minor forest products (MFPs) was entrusted to the Economic Branch headed by Mr. R.S. Troup.
The Division of Non Wood Forest Products Division came into existence as follows:
2. The name of the Economic Branch was changed into Utilization Branch in 1932.
3. In 1942, it was designed as Chemistry and Minor Forest Products Branch and carried out a number of researches on the then called MFPs.
4. In 1950, the combined Chemistry and Minor Forest Products Branch was spilt up and the Minor Forest Products Branch was separated as a separate entity and continued research on MFPs till 1964.
5. Thereafter several IFS officers have headed the Division and the name of the MFP Branch was changed to Non Wood Forest Products (NWFP) Division in 1993 and continued till today.
Since then, the Division has been instrumental in development of economic research on medicinal and aromatic plants, essential oils, gums, resins, tans, fatty-oils, dyes, waxes, fibers and flosses, etc. This division also deals with numerous technical inquiries annually received from forest departments, industries and private entrepreneurs.
Incumbencies of the Heads of NWFP Division (during last five years) are:
1997-2004 Dr. P.P. Bhojvaid, IFS
2004-2005 Shri K.K. Chaudhari, IFS
2005-2006 Dr. R.K. Shrivastava IFS
2006- Feb 2013 Dr. Lokho Puni. IFS
Feb 2013 - till date Dr. A. K. Sharma