Forest Conservation Act 1980 – Features, Objectives, Amendments

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Forest Conservation Act 1980 was introduced by the Indian Parliament to control deforestation and conserve forests and their resources. The Forest Conservation Act, which is also called the Forest Protection Act, also aims to prevent forest lands from being converted for other purposes.

The first legal draft on the same matter was released as the Indian Forest Act of 1865. Later the Indian Forest Act of 1927 replaced the prior Act. After Independence, the Forest Conservation Act 1980 was passed, restricting the use of forests for non-forest means. The 1927 Act wasn’t the most suitable as it was formulated, keeping them in mind to safeguard the interests of the British.

What is Forest Conservation Act?

The Forest (Conservation) Ordinance was put into effect by the President of India in 1980 when the country gained independence. However, it was later abolished by Section 5 of the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980. The Forest Conservation Act 1980 introduced the limitation on using forests for non-forest activities.

Forest Conservation Act 1980 PDF

To stop continuous deforestation, the Government of India implemented the Forest Protection Act 1980. The act played an instrumental role in mitigating deforestation, thus helping the environment to prosper and protecting different types of forests in India.

Objectives of Forest Conservation Act 1980

One of the primary purposes to conserve forests is to protect the forest’s flora, fauna, and other ecological components. Below given are all the objectives of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

  • To protect the integrity, individuality, and territory of the forests.
  • To replenish forests by planting more trees and encouraging the growth of forests in our country.
  • To prevent the conversion of forest reserves into grazing lands, space for building residential units, agricultural lands, etc.
  • To stop the decline of forest biodiversity.

Salient Features of Forest Conservation Act 1980

The Act restricts and regulates the power of the State Government and other authoritative organizations from making decisions on some issues without taking permission from the Central Government first. Here are some features of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

  • An advisory committee may be formed to aid the Central Government and advise them on matters related to forest preservation.
  • The Central Government holds the absolute power to carry out any laws formulated under this Act.
  • The Act states that anybody found violating the provisions of this Act is liable for paying penalties.

What are the Main Goals of the Forest Conservation Act 1980?

Important Sections of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 giveaway the mains goals of the Forest Protection Act 1980-

  1. Except for Jammu and Kashmir, the entire nation of India is subject to the law. The removal of Article 370, however, meant that all central laws were now applicable. However, currently, just 37 laws apply to Jammu and Kashmir, and the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 isn’t one of them.
  2. Prohibition on using forests for uses other than those of a forest- State governments require central government approval before passing laws pertaining to forests. The focus is on “non-forest purposes,” which entails removing trees from forest areas to plant things like Tea, Spices, Rubber, Coffee, Palms, Medicinal plants, etc.,
  3. The Centre may establish an advisory committee to provide advice on issues pertaining to the Central Government’s advice on the preservation of forests.

Amendments to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change suggested various revisions to the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 in March 2021 to strike a compromise between ecological and economic concerns. Among the changes were the following:

  1. Survey and exploration for subsurface natural gas and oil are exempt under the proposed new “section 1A.” In other words, these activities won’t be considered “non-forest activities” any longer and won’t need official approval. There will be restrictions put in place by the center before such activities may be carried out, one of which being that survey and drilling work cannot be done close to animal sanctuaries.
  2. Land acquired for railroad networks shall be free from FCA and not be applicable. Of course, the Central government will establish some rules including tree planting to compensate for the reduction of forest lands.
  3. According to Section 2 of the FCA, private companies may not lease forest properties that are not owned by the federal government for any commercial use. The suggested modification has removed this clause. As a result, state governments will be free to rent forest lands without seeking permission from the federal government.
  4. The planting of native palm and oil-producing tree species is proposed to be excluded from the description of “non-forest purpose” in a different understanding of Section 2. Only the payment of additional levies and compensations will be subject to conditions set by the government, including compensatory afforestation.
  5. Building checkpoints, fence limits, and communication infrastructure are among the activities of the non-forestry use that the proposed FCA modifications include. Additionally, it might consist of eco-tourism amenities authorized by the central government’s Working Scheme or Forest Working Plan.

Difference Between Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Conservation Act

There is a major difference between the Wildlife Protection Act & Forest Conservation Act as they both deal with two slightly different entities. The Wildlife Act deals with wildlife which includes wild animal species living in an area on their own. Forest Conservation Act deals with the conservation of forests & surrounding areas.

Forest Conservation Act Wildlife Protection Act
It was launched in 1980. This act was launched much earlier in 1972.
The main aim of the FCA is to protect and conserve forests. Its main aim is to protect endangered animal species.
The act also keeps a check on the grazing of cattle in forest areas. The WPA has prohibited the hunting of animals that come under the list of threatened species.
Another aim of the Forest Conservation Act is to preserve the forests as our national heritage. It also protects certain plants and other wildlife areas that function as natural habitats for wildlife animals.

Need for Forest Conservation Act, 1980

One valuable resource that nature may provide for humanity is foresting. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect the forest ecosystems. But the natural cycle is being disturbed by the increased deforestation. Therefore, it was necessary to enact a law to guarantee the preservation of forests.

  • The Indian Forest Statute of 1865, which was replaced by a 1927 iteration of the same act, was one of the earliest legal proposals to protect forest regions. However, it was mainly focused on defending the British Empire’s business interests in India.
  • The act granted the British the right to impose fees on wood and forest services in order to limit tribal activity. In other words, rather than safeguarding forests, it primarily regulated the chopping of timber and the movement of raw materials.

Forest Conservation Act 1980 UPSC

The forest conservation act 1980 plays an important role in conservation of the forests and in promoting diversity. This is an important segment of the UPSC syllabus, and the candidates must be prepared well for answering the questions accurately and with precision. The detailed and elaborated knowledge of the forest conservation act will enlighten the candidates in understanding the concepts of environment and ecology.

Forest Conservation UPSC Questions

The candidates can practice the questions of the forest conservation act to be able to perform exceptionally well in the exam. Practicing the questions will enable the candidates in having a comprehensive knowledge of the topic and optimizing the preparation in the right direction. Check the sample questions that have been put here:

Question: In which year Forest Conservation Act was implemented? [a] 1980, [b] 1972, [c] 1976, [d] 1984

Answer: Option [a] 1980

Question: Where is the center for forest research centre located?[a] Jabalpur, [b] Indore [c] Rewa [d] Bhopal

Answer: Jabalpur

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