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