Social forestry means the management and protection of forests and afforestation on barren lands with the purpose of helping in the environmental, social and rural development.
The National Commission on Agriculture (1976) has classified social forestry into three categories.
These are Urban forestry, Rural forestry, and Farm forestry:
o Urban forestry pertains to the raising and management of trees on public and privately owned lands in and around urban centers such as green belts, parks, roadside avenues, industrial and commercial green belts, etc.
o Rural forestry lays emphasis on promotion of agro-forestry and community-forestry.
o Farm forestry is a term applied to the process under which farmers grow trees for commercial and non-commercial purposes on their farmlands.
Agro-Forestry and Community Forestry:
o Agro-forestry is the raising of trees and agriculture crops on the same land inclusive of the waste patches. It combines forestry with agriculture, thus, altering the simultaneous production of food, fodder, fuel, timber, and fruit.
o Community forestry involves the raising of trees on public or community land such as the village pasture and temple land, roadside, canal bank, strips along railway lines, and schools, etc.
Community forestry programme aims at providing benefits to the community as a whole. Community forestry provides a means under which the people of landless classes can associate themselves in tree raising and thus, get those benefits which otherwise are restricted for landowners.