What is the Difference Between Reserved Forests and Protected Forests?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The difference between reserved forests and protected forests is that the government has full control of reserved forests and has only propertyrights in protected forests. Reserved forests are shielded to protect the abundant resources present in them. On the other hand, protected forests are declared to protect them from the depletion of natural resources.

Differences Between Reserved and Protected Forests

Reserved forests and protected forests have been declared to conserve the Wildlife in India and its resources. They are areas that are under the protection of the government.

The major difference between reserved forests and protected forests are listed in the table below:

Reserved Forests Protected Forests
Reserved forests are forest lands that enjoy legal protection. Protected forests also enjoy legal protection. However, the main focus is on local resources and inhabitants.
Unless specifically permitted by the government, most activities, such as grazing, lumbering, and hunting, are banned in reserve forests. Local communities often have the right to carry out activities such as hunting and poaching in protected forests.
Reserved forests often do not get converted into national parks or wildlife sanctuaries. With funding, protected forests are often converted into national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Reserved forests are maintained to protect the abundant resources present in them. Protected forests are declared to prevent the degradation of natural resources.
More than half of the forest area is under India’s reserved forest category. Protected forests make up at least one-third of the total forest area in India.

Reserved Forests vs Protected Forests

During the British Raj, the Indian Forest Act of 1927 introduced this concept to protect the country’s forests. After independence, the rights of these forests went to the Government of India.

  • State governments often declare reserved and protected forests, with the central government holding land.
  • There are subtle differences between reserved and protected forests, mainly concerning how they are maintained and used.

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