This Act is made to consolidate the law relating to forests, the transit of forest-produce and the duty leviable on timber and other forest-produce. Some salient features of this Act are-
- Power to reserve forests – The State Government may constitute any forest-land or waste-land which is the property of Government, or over which the Government has proprietary rights, or to the whole or any part of the forest-produce of which the Government is entitled, a reserved forest in the manner provided in the Act.
- Formation of village-forests – The State Government may assign to any village-community the rights of Government to or over any land which has been constituted a reserved forest, and may cancel such assignment. All forests so assigned shall be called village-forests.
- Protected forests – The State Government may declare, by notification in the Official Gazette, any forest-land or waste land which is not included in a reserved forest but which is the property of Government, or over which the Government has proprietary rights, or to the whole or any part of the forest-produce of which the Government is entitled as a ‘protected forest’.
- Protection of forests for special purposes – The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, regulate or prohibit in any forest or waste land –
a) the breaking up or clearing of land for cultivation;
b) the pasturing of cattle; or
c) the firing or clearing of the vegetation;
when such regulation or prohibition appears necessary for any of the following purposes:-
(i) for protection against storms, winds, rolling stones, floods and avalanches;
(ii) for the preservation of the soil on the ridges and slopes and in the valleys of hilly tracts, the prevention of landslips or of the formation of ravines, and torrents, or the protection of land against erosion, or the deposit thereon of sand, stones or gravel;
(iii) for the maintenance of a water-supply in springs, rivers and tanks;
(iv) for the protection of roads, bridges, railways and other lines of communication;
(v) for the preservation of the public health.