Strengthening forest governance by capacity building through community participation

Capacity   building through incense making by community participation

Capacity building through incense making by community participation

The overall objective of the project was to facilitate capacity building support for providing gainful employment to the people living in and around the forest of the remote and far flung regions of district Nainital. On the basis of the available resources and demand of the product, incense or Dhoop preparation was decided with the consent of the local people.

The Dhoop is the most convenient form of spreading perfume and fragrance in India. The burning of Dhoop in religious and social functions has been practiced in India since early times. From the ancient period to the present day devotional use of incense, has become custom which has been passed on from generation to generation. Its soothing fragrance creates a mood of serenity, tranquillity and concentration of mind. It is used in everyday life as air fresheners and to enliven the surroundings. Also it acts as a fragrant fumigant and is reputed to possess insecticidal and antiseptic properties.

Basically it is prepared from the extracts of the Dhoop trees, which are botanically termed as Vateria indica and Canarium strictum. Vateria indica is the source for Saka Dhoopa and Canarium strictum is the source for Rala Dhoop.

In North India it is prepared from the rhizome of Jurinea macrocephala which is also a scarce herb. So the problem was to find and use one of such sacred plant which is found widely in the region and can also be used for preparing the Dhoop of good smoke quality. Traditional and indigenous knowledge were explored to find out the appropriate planting material for using the base material for Dhoop preparation.

Hence seeing the scope of good quality Dhoop and to offer best to the society appropriate aromatic plants were identified which could be made available widely in good supply without deforesting the traditionally used Dhoop trees. As a result of which the Herbal Dhoop was prepared locally using the raw materials. But smoke quality matters a lot when incense is used long and regularly. Hence in order to test the smoke quality of locally prepared Dhoop, it was subjected to chemical and sensory analyses for evaluating its quality over traditional Dhoop procured from the local market.

On comparing the quality of smoke the results indicated lower carbon di oxide and particulate matter content in locally prepared Dhoop over traditional Dhoop procured from the market. Besides these, higher oxygen percentage led to continuous burning. Also the fragrance was observed better in locally prepared Dhoop over traditional Dhoop.

As product packing also plays an important role in delivering the right fragrance to consumers so the locally prepared Dhoop was well packed with air tight wrappers. Also institutional arrangements are required for sustained production and marketing of such products, hence self help group was constituted from the people of local rural community.

This initiative of capacity building through incense making, using indigenous knowledge   by community participation was experimented in the Kundal village of Nainital district of Uttarakhand. However the success of project lies upon the fact when it remains   socially acceptable and economically viable in long run. And if the project remains successful then such initiatives of capacity building can be replicated in other areas of the states like Uttarakhand.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Chandrashekhar Sanwal (Indian Forest Service, India) – chandra.sanwal(at)

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as entry #43 of our #Forests2015 blog competition. It is submitted in the “Youth” category.

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44 thoughts on “Strengthening forest governance by capacity building through community participation

  1. A good idea of capacity building by using locally available materials and traditional knowledge.Best wishes for the group.


  2. Very good idea of using locally avaiilable products for extensive product s like dhoop.Try if perfumes can be prepared, which also has good market,


  3. Dear CS well done. You have raised a very important social issues. It will definitely be helpful in sensitizing the government to make necessary planning for economic empowerment of rural people and make them self reliant without having any adverse effect of our traditional forests. Keep it up and all the best.


  4. Wonderful efforts. Your initiative towards people participation and improving prospects of their livelihood is really commendable. Everyday morning I am using the Dhoop prepared from your side. Way to go Dr. Sanwal and my good wishes for your future work.


  5. It was realy a nice experience to work with Dr CS SANWAL, IFS, HALDWANI. We worked on different aspects like formulation, standardization and evaluation of the prepared formulation. I was also a part of this project. This is a realy new approach for the rural community to uplift their socio economic condition.



  6. Dhoop is an essential part of Indian Culture and forests are main source f raw material for tits production. The model has potential to be replicated in the Himalayan states making use of locally available raw material and will also generate employment among the forest dwelling communities. This will address forest degradation in this region as well


    • Thanks sir for the wisdom. So nicely addressed the concerns for employment as well as forest degradation. Hope to get both the concerns resolved locally using the product.


  7. Dear Dr Chandra Shekhar Ji
    This is a realy good initiative taken by you. In my opinion in most countries the situation in and around forests is rapidly changing and has become increasingly dynamic and complex. An increasing number of often competing claims and uses are exerted on the country’s forests by a growing range of actors, each with their specific needs, interests, and powers.
    So there is a need to tackle this complex situation. The promotion of forest governance can bring about many benefits or fruits. Good forest governance makes it possible to optimize the production of goods and services from the forest Important fruits borne through good forest governance may increase the benefits provided from forests to people in more efficient ways, enhancing livelihoods. It may include decreased degradation and a more productive resource, hence a more reliable asset base for creating income and revenues. It might also help to facilitate further investments into forestry, including the re-investment of revenues from forestry activities, and opening up of new opportunities created by internationally driven processes.

    Go ahead.
    Good luck
    Shailendra K Dwivedi
    All India Coordinater Research Project on Grapes
    College of Horticulture


  8. This is a double whammy! After the success of your first venture that aimed at doing unimaginable things with a humble “harad” to improve its palatability and nutrition, this “agarbatti” experiment is expected to soar to un-chartered heights. I must say this experiment may be referred to as “Once upon a time in Haldwani dobaara”!!! Keep up the good job!


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