Implementation of Social Forestry Programme in the State of Meghalaya started during the year 1981 with the creation of a separate Social Forestry Circle. The main task of the Social Forestry Circle was to carry out afforestation programme in the areas outside the Government Control Forest areas which include the Reserved Forests, Protected Forests, Wild-life Sanctuaries and National Parks. The task of the Social Forestry Circle was therefore, to afforest the degraded areas falling outside the jurisdiction of the State Forest Department. This was achieved by negotiating with the Land owners, consisting of private individuals, Clan members and Community members to arrive at a consensus, execution of an agreement and followed by the actual afforestation of the area. Therefore, it can be said that the concept of Joint Forest Management was started in Meghalaya right from the inception of the Social Forestry Circle though the same was not officially called as the JFM. The wing is also set to play an important role in other environmental matters of concern for the state including reclamation of sites affected by human activities.The afforestation programmes with participation of private sectors undertaken by the Social Forestry Wing of the Department include Schemes sanctioned under State Plan and Compensatory Afforestation or CAMPA being implemented in the entire state.
Social Forestry wing is headed by an officer of the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests rank who is assisted by the CCF (SF&E),Shillong and the Conservator Forests (SF&E) Khasi & Jaintia Hills, Region, Shillong and the Conservator Forests (SF&E) Garo Hills, Tura. There are 7(seven) Divisional Forest Officer under Social Forestry wing, namely:-
|Sl. No.||Office||Jurisdiction||Contact No.|
|1||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, East Khasi Hills, Shillong||East Khasi Hills District||2500245|
|2||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, West Khasi Hills, Nongstoin||West Khasi Hills & South West Khasi Hills Districts||280279|
|3||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, Jaintia Hills, Jowai||East Jaintia Hills & West Jaintia Hills Districts||223946|
|4||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, North Khasi Hills, Nongpoh.||Ri-Bhoi District||232317|
|5||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, East Garo Hills, Williamnagar||East Garo Hills & North Garo Hills Districts||220397|
|6||Divisional Forest Officer, West Garo Hills Social Forestry Division, Tura||West Garo Hills & South West Garo Hills Districts||232776|
|7||Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division, South Garo Hills, Baghmara||South Garo Hills District||-|
The Social Forestry & Environment wing concentrates on the following activities:-
The Govt. of Meghalaya renamed the ‘Forest Department’ as the ‘Forest & Environment Department’ in the year 1991 and transferred Environment Planning Cell from Urban Affairs Department on 15th March, 1991. It was subsequently again renamed in 2014 as ‘Department of Forest & Environment & Climate Change’. In the year 2015, the administrative control of the State Pollution Control Board was transferred to this Department. In August 2015, the Govt. of Meghalaya has notified the o/o the Addl. PCCF (SF & E) as the secretariat of the newly re-constituted SEIAA (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority) and also made the CCF (SF & E) as its ex-officio Member Secretary. Currently, the staff of ‘Environment Cell’ has been assisting the SEIAA, in addition to other duties.
The Social Forestry & Environment Wing concentrated its effort on raising forest nursery, roadside plantation, block plantation on community and private land with an objective to ameliorate environmental degradations. Thus to a great extent such afforestation measures helped to maintain overall satisfactory forest cover for the State as may be seen in the India State of Forest Report.