India is one of fast growing forest-based industries in the world. The growing knowledge base coupled with synergistic contribution from the flagship schemes of the government. Forest-based Industry includes- the paper industry, match industry, silk industry, lac industry, sports goods industry and handicraft.
The first effort to produce paper by modern techniques was done in 1816 in Tanjavur (Tamil Nadu). It was unsuccessful. The first successful paper mill was set up in 1879 in Lucknow. Again, in 1881, paper mills were set up in Titagarh (West Bengal). It is considered the beginning of modern paper industry. Paper industry is a weight-losing industry. About two and half tons raw materials are needed for making one ton paper. So, the localization of this industry is mainly in the areas of raw materials. The following raw materials are used in making paper in India
• Soft wood-In India, soft wood (of coniferous trees) is obtained from the Himalayan region. Seven per cent of the total raw materials used in the paper industry in India is obtained from soft wood.
• Bamboo-Bamboo is the mostly used raw material for making paper in India. 70% raw material for paper industry is obtained from bamboo. Karnataka is the largest producer of bamboo followed by Assam.
• Sabai grass-Sabai grass provides 15% raw material. The best quality paper is produced from its fibres. Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of sabai grass. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are other major sabai grass producing states.
• Bagasse-It is a sugarcane residual part. 7% pulp for paper industry is obtained, from bagasse. Industrial paper, hard board paper, packing paper etc are made from it.
• Rags-Pulp is also made from wastepaper and rags. It is used to make handmade paper. India is foremost in production of handmade paper. India also exports it. This paper is used in making university certificates. Asia's largest handmade paper mill is in Puducherry.
Besides rags, straw of paddy, wheat and maize is also used in making paper
The first match factory in India was set up in 1921 in Ahmedabad. Match factories were set up in 1924 and 1925 in Bareilly, Kolkata, Chennai, Ambarnath and Dhubri. The matchstick is made by a special kind of soft wood. The wood of the trees called dhoop, markat, salai, semal, sundari etc is especially useful for it. The chemicals which are needed for match are imported. This industry has developed mostly in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. In West Bengal, it is concentrated mainly in 24 Paragana and Kolkata.
In Tamil Nadu most of the factories are in Ramanathapuram district. Factories are also in Chingleput, Tirunelveli and Chennai. Besides these, match factories have also been set up in Maharashtra (Thane, Pune, Chandrapur and Mumbai). Gujarat (Ahmedabad and Petlad), Uttar Pradesh (Bareilly, Meerut, Allahabad, and Varanasi), Karnataka (Shimoga), Telangana (Hyderabad and Warangal), Assam(Dhubri), Chhattisgarh (Bilaspur), Rajasthan (Kota) etc.
There are two stages in silk industry:
• Sericulture and obtaining of silk fibres
• Production of silk textile from silk fibres (silk textile industry)
Sericulture: It is completely forest based industry. Sericulture is done mainly on the mulberry trees. Besides it, sericulture is also done on the trees ‘like oak, mahua, castor, sal, plum, kusum etc. More than half of the total silk production in the country is done in Karnataka alone. Other major silk producing states are West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand etc. Several kinds of silk are produced in India:
• Mulberry silk-Silk made by sericulture on mulberry trees. It is the best kind of silk. 85% of the silk produced in the country is mulberry silk. It is produced in Karnataka (Bengaluru, Mysore, Kolar and Tumkur districts), West Bengal (Bankura, Murshidabad, Midnapur and Burdwan districts), Jammu & Kashmir and Assam.
• Muga silk-It is also produced by sericulture done on the mulberry leaves. Its production is mostly done in Assam, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.
• Tasar silk-It is produced by sericulture done on the wild mulberry trees. The major tasar silk producing states are Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
• Eri silk-It is produced by sericulture done on the leaves of castor. It is a low quality silk.
Silk Textile Industry: It is indirectly a forest based industry. There are three tendencies of its localisation (in the country):
• Raw materials based centres-Mysore, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Srinagar.
• Demand based centres in religious places (market based centres)-Varanasi, Tirupati, Madurai, Kanjivaram.
• Industries set up at commercial or collection centres- Bhagalpur (Bihar), Erode and Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mumbai.
Karnataka is the largest producer of silk fibres in India. About half of the silk fibres in the country are produced by Karnataka alone. Among other forest based industries, the major ones are wood sawing industry, lac industry, beedi making industry and honey collection industry. Kerala has the maximum number of saw mills. Calicut district of Kerala is especially famous for it. India is a leading country in lac production. 60% of lac in the world is produced here. India is also the largest exporter of lac in the world. The culture of lac worms is done mainly on the babool (acacia) trees. The Chotanagpur area of Jharkhand is a leading producer of lac. More than half of the total lac produced in India comes from Jharkhand. The Lac Research Centre has been set up in Namkum (Ranchi) for research, development and training of lac agriculture.
The beedi making industry has developed mainly in tribal regions. Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of beedi because the tendu leaves are found mostly in the forests of this state. Several chemical industries related to sandalwood in Karnataka and eucalyptus in Tamil Nadu has developed. The woodcraft industry has developed in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Copra (coconut and its fibres) industry (undertaken by the Coconut Board of India) has developed in Kerala.