The head of the Forest Department in the State is the Chief Conservator of Forests with his headquarters at Poona. For administrative purposes, the State is divided into six Circles, viz.-

Thana, Nasik, Poona, Nagpur, Chanda and Amravati with the district place as the headquarters except Chanda Circle, the headquarters of which is at Nagpur.

There is a Conservator stationed in the office of the Chief Conservator of Forests, Poona. He is in charge of the research, working plan and the development schemes in the State. The research branch is in Charge of the Silviculturist (M.F.S., class I) with his headquarters at Poona. He has an assistant (M.F.S., class II) with headquarters at Nagpur. For each Circle or for  two Circles, there is a Divisional Forest Officer, Working Plan (M.F.S., class I), for the preparation or the revision of the Working Plans and Working Schemes. He is assisted by Sub-divisional Forest Officers, Working Plans. There is also a Forest Utilisation Officer (M.F.S., class I), with headquarters at Poona. His duties are to tender advice on the proper utilisation of the forest products and in respect of the mechanisation of the forest operations.

Each Circle is in charge of a Conservator of Forests. Under the Conservator of Forests are the Divisional Forest Officers and the Sub-divisional Forest Officers who look after the administration of the Divisions and independent Sub-divisions. The Divisional Forest Officer belongs to M.F.S., Class I and the sub-Divisional Forest Officers in charge of independent Sub-Divisions to M.F.S., Class II. The Divisional Forest Officers or the Sub-Divisional Forest Officers assist him in the implementation of the Working Plans and the Conservancy work. The Divisions and the Sub-divisions are divided into administrative charges called " Ranges". Each Range is managed by a Range Forest Officer under the control of the Divisional Forest Officer or the Sub-Divisional Forest Officer. A Range is the unit of administration and the Range Forest Officer in charge is a non-gazetted subordinate officer, who is usually trained at the Forest Colleges at Dehradun or Coimbatore. Each Range is sub-divided into Range Assistant Circles (Rounds). Each such Range Assistant Circle is managed by a Forester, who is usually trained at the Forest School in the State. Finally, each Range Assistant Circle is sub-divided into Beats (Protective charges). A beat is managed by a Beat Guard, who is usually trained in the Forest Guard School in the State.

The Amravati Forest Division falling under the Amravati Circle, is under the charge of Divisional Forest Officer, Amravati, and is manned by two gazetted assistants, 15 Range Forest Officers, 88 Foresters and 234 Forest Guards.

There are following Ranges in this Division: -


Name of the Range



Amravati Range



Morshi Range



Chikhaldara Range



Sembadoh Range



Jadida Range



Raipur Range



Harisal Range



Dharni Range



Tarubanda Range



Akot Range



Dhulghat Range



Paratwada Depot



The forest division is conterminous with the limits of Amravati civil district. The forest area of the division is 1,428 square miles and is classified into two distinct categories, viz., the Plain Forests and the Melghat Forests. The Plain forests lie scattered in small blocks in the plain area of the district amidst intensively cultivated tract. Here the forest area comprises 6 per cent of the land area. The Melghat Forests occupy the entire Melghat tahsil. It is a compact block of 1,187.37 square miles occupying the hilly terrain of the Gawilgad hills of the Satpuda Ranges. The forests are all State owned.

The forests are of dry deciduous type. The quality, however, varies in relation to climate, soil and altitude. The underlying rock is basalt and the soils derived from it are clay loam to clay.

Plain Forests.

The plains get an average rainfall of 75 cm. with long summers. The soil is shallow. This results in the forests being of drier type with teak of poor quality. The quality of the crop improves in the sheltered nala valleys due to fairly deep and drained soil. The principal species are teak (30' - 50') and its associates, salai (Boswelia serrata), dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), achar (Buchanania lanzan) and rohan (Soyamida febrifuga). In the nala valleys, scattered bamboo clumps are met with in the under-storey. Out of the total forest area in the plains, 50 per cent constitute ' C' class, Ramnas and Babulbans. ' C' class forests are maintained as pasture land where unrestricted grazing is allowed. Ramnas are maintained for the supply of fodder and thatching grass. Babulbans have been created artificially for the supply of small timber and fuel to the agricultural population. All the forests except the ' C' class forests are managed under regular working plans.

Melghat Forests.

The Melghat forests are of dry mixed deciduous type with teak. The southern and western portions get comparatively less rains (up to 100 cm.) and are exposed to hot and desiccating winds during the long hot weather. The quality of the forests is drier type of mixed-forests with salai (Boswelia serrata). The portion in north of the block receives an annual rainfall varying between 150 and 250 cms. The terrain has a gradual slope. It contains highly potential forests of the division, a compact area of 600 to 700 square miles with high percentage of teak of good quality (50' -80'). The associates are haldu (Adina cordifolia), saj (Terminalia tomentosa), shewan (Gmelina arborea), tiwas (Ougeinia dalbergioides), kalam (Stephgyne parvifolia), etc. Bamboo occurs in the under storey and is of a good quality. Lantana has invaded about half of the area of the forest and reproduction is scanty. The area is managed under a regular plan.

A Divisional Forest Officer, Working Plan, is appointed for each Conservator's Circle, sometimes his jurisdiction" extending over more than one Circle. The Divisional Forest Officer for this area has jurisdiction over Amravati and Nagpur Circles.

The revenue and the forest departments work in close co-operation as far as the demands of the public are concerned.  The Working Plan for the management and development of the forests is prepared by the forest department. A revenue officer is, however, associated to examine the prescription of the plan as far as they affect the local supply, rights and the privileges of the inhabitants of the tract, etc. The approval of the Collector concerned is to be obtained before the Plan is submitted to the Government by the Chief Conservator of Forests for sanction.

Divisional Forest Officer.

The Divisional Forest Officer is directly responsible for the exploitation and regeneration of forests according to the sanctioned working plans and other orders. He conducts sales, enters into contracts, supplies material to other departments and the public, realises revenue and controls expenditure under the instructions from the Conservator of Forests. He deals finally with forests offence cases having power to compound them. Rewards are also paid by him in the detection of the forest offences. In short, he is responsible for the forest administration and management in all matters relating to forest operations of a technical nature.

Sub-Divisional Forest Officer Range Forest Officer.

The duties of the Sub-Divisional Forest Officer in charge of the independent Sub-Division are exactly the same as those of a Divisional Forest Officer. The Assistant Conservator or Sub-Divisional Forest Officer attached to a Division assists the Divisional Forest Officer in the implementation of the prescription of the working plans and other conservancy works and attends to other duties that may be entrusted to him by the Divisional Forest Officer. There are two Assistant Conservators of Forests in this Division, one for the Melghat area and the other for the Plain area. The Range Forest Officer is in executive charge of the Range. He is responsible for carrying out orders of the Divisional Forest Officer, Assistant Conservator of Forests or the Sub-Divisional Forest Officer with the help of the Range Assistant and the Forest Guards and also for all works in his charge pertaining to silviculture, management and conservancy. He is also to protect the forests in his charge, to investigate into the forest offences, to supervise the removal of the forest produce by the purchasers, and by holders of rights and privileges and to issue forest transit passes and permits.


The duties of the Forester are to protect the forests, to execute  other works, to detect and investigate the forest offences, to issue permits and passes and to collect revenues from the permit-holders and compensation in case of forest offences. He also executes the silvicultural and other conservancy works under the guidance of the Range Forest Officer, inspects the forests and the coupes under the working of the contractors and supervises the Forest Guards.

Forest Guard,

The duty of the Forest Guard is to patrol and protect the forests in his beat, to detect the forest offences or any damage to the forests and to report to higher authorities for action to punish the offenders. He is also to execute the works under the guidance and supervision of his Range Assistant and other superior officers.

Classification of Forests.

Under the Forest Act, the forests are divided into two categories, viz., Reserved and Protected Forests. In case of reserved forests, the existing rights are either settled, transferred or commuted. In case of protected forests, the rights are clearly recorded and regulated. The different classes of forests in this division are as given below: -

Sq. miles

1.Reserved Forests 'A' class



2.Protected Forests (Exproprietary forests)




'A' class reserved forests are primarily maintained for the production of timber and fuel and are under a regular management. ' C ' class reserved forests are maintained for grazing.

Working Plans.

The reserved forests of 'A' class are managed under the prescription of the Working Plan. The Working Plan is drawn up after collecting the data of the stocking, the growth by actual enumeration and stump and stem analysis. The locality factors, the cultural requirements of the crop and the available labour and demand are also taken into consideration. The object of the management of the forests is then settled and on the basis of the data collected, the Working Plan for the area is prepared to implement the object of management. The axiom is to maintain and improve the condition of the forests and to increase the supply of the products substantially. The Division has two Working Plans and one Working Scheme. The forests of the Melghat, which were accessible, have a Working Plan prepared by Working Plan Officer, Amravati and was implemented from 1956-57 with the period of operation extending up to 1970-71. The forests of the plains have a separate Working Plan prepared by the Divisional Forest Officer, Working Plans, Nagpur and Amravati Circles, and has come into force from 1961-62. The period of operation of the Working Plan is up to 1975-76. The western portion of the Melghat forests had remained inaccessible till the opening of the Khandwa-Hingoli railway line. Now a Working Scheme for these forests has been prepared by the Divisional Forest Officer, Working Plan, Nagpur and Amravati Circles. The scheme was implemented in 1961-62 and will extend up to 1970-71.


The main function of the forest department is to maintain and protect the forests according to the sanctioned Working Plan and other orders. The forest department exploits the forest resources and regenerates them. It conducts sales and realises the revenue. The salient functions of the forest department are given below.

Regeneration and Maintenance.

The forests are renewable crops on a long-term basis and need  special technical skill and care. The areas as they fall due for  exploitation or harvesting are to be regenerated. This may be  done under natural conditions where the process of natural repro-  duction is satisfactory. In the absence of such circumstances,  the areas are to be regenerated artificially. The areas, therefore,  need careful protection against damage from men, cattle and pests. Damage through humans is by encroachment, illicit cutting damage during exploitation or by incendiarism. Damage by illicit grazing is also through the human agency. Natural calamities such as storms, floods or insect pests also cause damage. All such damage is to be avoided by constant vigil, observation and protective work.

For the protection of the forests, the co-operation of the forests' dwellers and the populace nearby is most essential. This is secured by constant propaganda in that direction. To localize fires and to check them from spreading over large areas, protective measures are taken by cutting and burning fire lines. Watchmen are employed to patrol the areas and to keep the lines free from combustible material. The Act provides for punitive measures which are also taken in case of defiance of the law.

System of Management.

The forests are being worked under the prescription of Working Plans. The systems depend on the condition of the crop and the object of management. They are briefly described below: -

(i) Selection-cum-improvement.-The high quality forests of Melghat which are capable of producing large sized timber are worked under the system of selection-cum-improvement. Mature trees over 48"-54" are exploited and the other crop is tended. No openings are allowed in the area so as to reduce the density below.5. Suitable areas with mature crop, well drained soil and paucity of reproduction are cleared and artificially planted. The Working Plan prescribed that about 40-60 acres should be developed annually. This area was to be increased with advantage to the experience gained and if labour was available. The Working Plan has prescribed a lower limit due to shortage of labour in the area as a result of which extensive areas remained undeveloped.

(ii) Coppice with Reserve.-The low quality forests of Melghat and the forests in the plains are only capable of producing small sized timber and fuel. These forests are, therefore, worked under the system of coppice with reserve on a rotation of 40 years. Under the prescription, suitable areas capable of producing large sized timber are planted artificially.

(iii) Clear felling and planting.-The Babulban forests in the plains are worked under the system of clear felling and planting. These forests have been created to meet the demand for fuel and small timber from the agriculturists in the intensively cultivated tracts. The method of planting is by agri-silviculture.

(iv) Improvement fellings.-The open and poorer types of forests in the process of recoupment in the plain area are worked under improvement fellings. The crops in this system are tended in favour of the economic species. Open areas with fairly deep soil are regenerated artificially. The method used is agri-silviculture.

Side by side, the bamboo forests are worked under the prescription of the Working Plan on a cutting cycle of 4 years.


The forest produces are divided into two main classes, major and minor. The major produce is timber. Fuel, bamboo, rusa oil, grass, leaves, minerals, etc., are classed as minor forest produce.

The high quality forests of Melghat are exploited under a departmental agency. The produce is collected at the sale depots and sold by auction. The low quality forests in the plains are exploited through the agency of contractors. The areas are auctioned annually in the rainy season. The other minor forest produce is sold on rated passes at a fixed schedule of rates. The rates are, however, differentiated into commercial rates and nistar rates. Produce which agriculturists need for their bona-fide consumption and not for sale is charged at the nistar rates which are low.

Income and Expenditure

The annual revenue of the division from the various sources  is as given below: -







Timber and other produce removed by departmental








Timber and other produce removed by purchasers




Fuel and charcoal








Grass and grazing




Other minor forest produce















Expenditure 'B'








Development Schemes











Income and Income and Expenditure Forest Roads.

The major part of the expenditure is on timber exploitation  done on a departmental basis, in which about 7 lakhs cft. of  timber on an average is exploited and sold at the sale depot.  The conservancy works such as repairs to roads, buildings, fire  protection, plantation and development are fairly numerous.

The forest area has a good system of roads which is used for the extraction of the forest produce. Timber exploited depart- mentally in Melghat is extracted by the contractors with their own trucks. The total length of the forest roads in the Division is 630 M. 5 F. of which 13 M. 3 F. are metalled and the rest are fair weather roads.

public Relations.

The agriculturists enjoy forest privileges and concessions in  respect of grazing and forest produce. An agriculturist, posses- sing eight cattle-heads is allowed free grazing for four cattle-heads, and for remaining at privileged rates. Agriculturists owning more than eight cattle-heads are allowed six units per plough of land under cultivation and the remainder at commercial rates. The privileged rates are low which come to about half the commercial rates. This concession is given to cattle owned by agriculturists. Only timber and fuel is allowed for bonafide consumption at noncompetitive rates which come to about half the rates prevailing in the market. Besides, the use of water and minerals in the reserved forests for agricultural purposes is allowed free.

At the district level, there is a sub-committee for forest and nistar which considers the problems in respect of the nistar requirements and other difficulties connected with the management of the forests.

Forest Villages.

For the supply of dependable labour on the forest works, forest villages have been established in the Reserved Forests. They are sanctioned under the orders of the Conservator of Forests. A villager is given a plot of land admeasuring about 13 to 15 acres or one plough land at a nominal rent of Re. 1.00. He is also given the forest produce needed for his bonafide requirements free of cost. The Forest department looks after the welfare of the villagers and provides them with amenities of life such as water-supply, education and medical help. The adult villagers in turn have to discharge certain obligations. They are to abide by the orders of the Forest Officer and to attend to forest operations on the payment of wages at the rates prescribed by the department. These villages are in fact labour colonies which are mainly responsible for the protection of forests and execution of the exploitation and conservancy works.

Van Mahotsava

The ' Van Mahotsava' initially started under the orders of the Government of India has now become a national festival. It is celebrated each year in the first fortnight of July. The object of the festival is to encourage the planting of trees by all in suitable places to make up for the deficit of areas of forest which is expected at 331/3 per cent of the total available area. The object is to ameliorate the climatic conditions and to conserve soil and moisture. Plants for the ' Van Mahotsava' are supplied free by the Forest department. For this purpose, nurseries have been raised at Wadali in Amravati Range, Sembadoh in Sembadoh Range, Chikhaldara in Chikhaldara Range and Dhakna in Tarubanda Range.

Propaganda, about the availability of seeds and seedlings is made through the Zilla Parishad and the Village Panchayats. Instructions are given on the planting of the trees and their aftercare and the benefits the individual and the community may derive from the successful planting of trees. The observance of the festival from year to year has created a forest sense among the people. During 1960-61, 20,050 plants were supplied free to various institutions and individuals.