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Forest Conservation Rules

  • IASbaba
  • July 16, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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Context: Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022.

Forest Conservation Rules

  • The Forest Conservation Rules deal with the implementation of the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980.
  • They prescribe the procedure to be followed for forest land to be diverted for non-forestry uses such as road construction, highway development, railway lines, and mining.
  • The broad aim of the FCA are to protect forest and wildlife, put brakes on State governments’ attempts to hive off forest land for commercial projects and striving to increase the area under forests.
  • For forest land beyond five hectares, approval for diverting land must be given by the Central government. This is via a specially constituted committee, called the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC).
  • This committee examines whether the user agency, or those who have requested forest land, have made a convincing case for the upheaval of that specific parcel of land, whether they have a plan in place to ensure that the ensuing damage will be
  • Once the FAC is convinced and approves (or rejects a proposal), it is forwarded to the concerned State government where the land is located, who then has to ensure that provisions of the Forest Right Act, 2006, a separate Act that protects the rights of forest dwellers and tribals over their land, are complied with.

What do the updated rules say?

  • The rules make a provision for private parties to cultivate plantations and sell them as land to companies who need to meet compensatory forestation targets.
  • The new Forest Conservation Rules do not mention the earlier requirement of attaining a gram sabha NOC before diverting forest land for a project.
  • They also allow forest rights to be settled after the final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Centre
  • Since forest rights now need to be carried out by the state government, state governments will be under even greater pressure from the Centre to accelerate the process of diversion of forest land.

Forest Conservation Act 1980

  • 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 forests produce.
  • Forest officers and their staff administer the Forest Act.
  • The Act deals with the four categories of forests, namely reserved forests, village forests, protected forests, and private forests.

Features

  • Section 2 of the act lists four criteria where permission of the Central Government is required for any action of State regarding
  • Declaring that any reserved forest ceases to be reserved.
  • Use of forestland for non-forest purposes.
  • Leasing forest to any private person.
  • Declaring that any forest land may be cleared of trees that have grown naturally in that land, for the purpose of using it for reforestation.
  • Removing self-regenerating forest for the creation of plantation is also the non-forest purpose.
  • There is also a provision of compensatory afforestation. User agency has to pay for forestland as if is revenue land. NPV (Net Present Value) has to be paid for 50 years. NPV is an ecological cost of forests.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. As per recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, forest dwellers have the right to fell the bamboos grown on forest areas.
  2. As per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, bamboo is a minor forest produce.
  3. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 allows ownership of minor forest produce to forest dwellers.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

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