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Forest Act or Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980

  • First Forest Act was enacted in 1927.
  • Alarmed at India’s rapid deforestation and resulting environmental degradation, the Centre Government enacted the Forest (Conservation) Act in 1980.
  • It was enacted to consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produces and the duty liveable on timber and other forest produce.
  • Forest officers and their staff administer the Forest Act.
  • Under the provisions of this Act, prior approval of the Central Government is required for diversion of forestlands for non-forest purposes.
  • An Advisory Committee constituted under the Act advises the Centre on these approvals.
  • The Act deals with the four categories of the forests, namely reserved forests, village forests, protected forests and private forests.

Reserved forest

  • A state may declare forestlands or waste lands as reserved forest and may sell the produce from these forests.
  • Any unauthorized felling of trees quarrying, grazing and hunting in reserved forests is punishable with a fine or imprisonment, or both

Village forests

  • Reserved forests assigned to a village community are called village forests.

Protected forests

  • The state governments are empowered to designate protected forests and may prohibit the felling of trees, quarrying and the removal of forest produce from these forests.
  • The preservation of protected forests is enforced through rules, licenses and criminal prosecutions.
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