By 1975 the number of wild animals like deer and wild pig had started increasing in the forest.
In recent times the committee has started annual cleaning operations in the forest, which is able to provide for the fuelwood requirements of the entire village for about two months. For the rest of the year the villagers meet their fuelwood requirement from other sources. Those who can afford to buy fuelwood from outside the village do so; others regularly collect leaves from the social forestry plantation. The use of electric heaters or kerosene stoves is common in most landed rich households. Bhusee chullaha (paddy husk) and sawdust are also burnt in a controlled chullaha, which is used by a majority of the households. Priyagni Chullaha, distributed through the District Rural Development Agency, is another fuelwood efficient chullaha used by the villagers. However, in spite of this wide range of fuel sources, some villagers, particularly the poorer households, also depend on the protected forests of Manamunda and Khajurijharan villages for fuelwood.
After the initial strict protection and once the forests regenerated by 1975, they were opened up to villagers for regulated use. For example, the villagers can now collect dry, dead and fallen wood freely. Villagers are also free to collect non-timber forest produce (NTFP). Increase in the availability of NTFP has particularly benefited the landless, who depend on the sale of NTFP to a great extent. The forests are now also opened up for grazing. Villagers could procure free branches with leaves for raising platforms on festive occasion. The forest streams now provide water for agriculture, which is an added incentive for the landed households.
Even though people avail a number of benefits from the forest, the committee has not yet started issuing house construction materials to the villagers. In the opinion of the committee members, ‘Once we start allowing such materials everyone in the village would need it which, in turn, would be adverse to the growth of the forest.’1 In its present condition, the forest can provide facilities for house construction materials at a low level, but the forest protection committee is not prepared to take the risk at this stage. It is planning to convene a meeting along with the district forest officer (DFO) to discuss the matter before taking a final decision on this. The current status on this decision is not known.
Income generation activities undertaken by the forest department contributed to the well-being of the village. In 1998, the forest department started making a trench around the forest. That was a major employment generating activity. A large number of people got employment for quite a long period. This was considered as a welcome step as it saved the forest from cattle. This prolonged work also strengthened the relationship between FD and village.
In 1995-6, under the provisions of JFM, micro-plan plantations were taken up in the forest gaps by the FPC. In 1997, detailed forest demarcation work was initiated by the forest department in order to indicate the boundary of reserved forest.