The organizational set up of forest management in Sindh has had a chequered history. From 1871 to 1936, it was administered by the Chief Conservator of the Bombay Presidency through a conservator in Sindh. When Sindh was separated from the Bombay Presidency and made an independent province in 1936, its forest organization too was separated and given the status of Chief Conservator's office, but not made independent as it remained attached first to the Revenue Department and then to the Agriculture Department till 25 years after the independence (barring the period of 15 years from 1955 to 1970, during which the provincial identity of Sindh was lost in the monolith province of West Pakistan, euphemistically called One Unit).
On 10.09.1972, the forest office was detached from the Agriculture Department and elevated to the status of an administrative department with its own secretary. Since then the Forest department has had a number of other disciplines, namely, Wildlife, Environment, Livestock and Fisheries attached to it intermittently. Its current appendage is Wildlife.
Following reorganization in 1978-79 on self-finance basis, the administrative set up of the Department had expanded and consisted of, apart from the Secretary, the Secretariat personnel and the Chief Conservator, 6 Conservators, 21 Divisional Officers, 67 Range Forest Officers, about 165 Foresters and 658 Guards, their respective administrative units being, in downward size-shrinking order, circle, division, range, sub-range/block and beat. There was one Project Director of Sindh Forestry Development Project and one Director of Sericulture & Apiculture, while one of the six conservators also looked after the Planning, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation wing.
In 2001-02, the set up underwent yet another reorganization in the form of devolution, when 1 of its 6 afforestation circles was transferred and its conservator deputed to the district government as Executive District Officers (Agriculture). Other such deputationists to district governments are 16 Divisional Forest Officers as District Officer (Forest), 31 Range Forest Officers as Deputy District Officers (Forest), 44 Foresters and 153 Forest Guards. Functional devolution to the district level includes: management of rural/social forestry, roadside plantations, amenity planting/urban forestry, community planting, irrigated plantations having area upto 2000 acres and raising of saplings in nurseries.
A follow-up of the 1971 forest policy was functional diversification, which came to embrace and continued to do so upto the introduction of the Devolution Plan as many as 16 areas under 5 wings. A brief description of each is given as follows:
This functional wing of SFD is concerned with (a) afforestation and regeneration, that is, planting of new stock and reproduction from old stock; (b) protection of the existing stock from damage by natural elements (through manual and mechanical means) and human hands (through punitive legislation); (c) marketing, that is sale of timber, fuelwood and other productions of SFD; and (d) implementation of the measures prescribed for betterment of forests under the SFD management plans.
The Social Forestry (or agroforestry) wing (i) establishes forest and farmer nurseries for supplying planting stock to interested persons/institutions; (ii) provides technical assistance to progressive farmers interested in farmland tree planting; (iii) motivates agriculturists and other people to plant trees on their farms, institutions, playgrounds and other open spaces; and raises and maintains roadside plantations. After the abolition of district government system in 2010 the entire setup of forestry component, working under district government system, was absorbed back into SFD through setup of two Social Forestry Circles one each at Hyderabad and Sukkur. The positions of District Officer (Forests) were re-designated as Divisional Forest Officers, Social Forestry Divisions at district level. However one Divisional Forest Officer, Social Forestry Division looks after Karachi irrespective of districts included in metropolitan city of Karachi.
Concerns of this wing are the preparation and execution of range improvement programmes, and the scientific utilization of arid lands for maximum production of healthy forage for livestock. Two Range Management Divisions are presently working to manage the rangelands of Sindh one each based at Karachi and Mirpur Khas. The DFO, RM Division, Karachi looks after the rangelands falling in the districts of Karachi, Thatta and Jamshoro districts; whereas the DFO, RM, Mirpur Khas manages the rangelands of Thar area of Sindh (Mirpur Khas, Umarkot and Mithi districts).
Planning, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation
This wing prepares and executes action plans for new research projects; co-ordinates research programmes with other similar research organisations of the country; monitors and evaluates development projects of SFD; and runs a training school, where forest guards (and game watchers) undergo a six-month training course.
Sericulture & Apiculture
This wing (or Directorate) rears silkworms with imported and local mulberry varieties and establishes bee colonies for producing honey and is also charged with the responsibility of supplying it to interested farmers.