The FD has a budget allocation for maintenance of the fence and for conducting camps for children, teachers, etc. Usually these funds are released at the end of the financial year. By this time the members of LSWC carry out the required work by contributing personal funds. However, recovering their money from the FD means a long follow-up and running around. The LSWC also has no authority to prosecute offenders and therefore the cooperation of the FD is crucial.
The effort of the concerned people has been purely voluntary and there is no commitment by these individuals to any particular group/organization. Also, the entire community is not involved in this conservation attempt. Neither the constitution nor the mandate of this group (the constitution keeps changing) has the explicit consensus of all the people living around Longwood Shola in the form of any referendum. At the same time there has been no opposition to the effort put in by this group, and many people implicitly support their activities.
There are many tea factory workers in this area who take fuelwood from Longwood Shola, as they have no other cheap means of fuel. With the tea market slump, there has been more pressure on the forests, as the workers who had switched to gas/kerosene are no longer able to afford gas cylinders. There are also recent settlers (such as refugees from Sri Lanka, migrant workers) who have put added pressure on this fragile forest. The LSWC has been lobbying for a fuel depot to meet the fuelwood needs of the people of this area but the Forest department has not been able to arrange this.
There has been a sharp increase in the crow population, possibly because of the increased human population and garbage in the surrounding area. The crows are reportedly affecting the population of other birds, as they feed on them. They have even been seen chasing raptors like eagles.
Another problem has been that of an aggressive weed called orange cestrum, originally from South America. It is a fast-growing shrub that can reach a height of about 6-8 m and with a girth of 1 m, with clusters of orange trumpet-like flowers and spherical creamy seeds. The plant is identifiable by the bad odour that its crushed leaves produce. This weed is difficult to eradicate and since it grows about 20 times faster than shola species, it suppresses the regeneration of other saplings. The LSWC and other individuals have been manually removing these weeds, often with help from students and other volunteers.