What is the Difference Between Reserved Forests and Protected Forests?

By Ruchika|Updated : August 18th, 2022

Reserved Forests and Protected Forests are areas that are under the protection of the government. During British Raj, Indian Forest Act of 1927 introduced this concept to protect the forests of the country. After independence, the rights to these forests went to the Indian government. Both reserved forests and protected forests are often declared by the state governments with central government owning the land. There are subtle differences between reserved forests and protected forests that mostly have to do with how they are maintained and utilised.

Major Differences Between Reserved Forests and Protected Forests

Reserved forests and protected forests are declared with the aim to conserve wildlife and resources of the country. The difference between reserved forests and protected forests are listed below.

Reserved ForestsProtected Forests
Reserved forests are the forest lands that enjoy legal protection.Protected forests also enjoy legal protection, however, the main focus is on local resources and inhabitants.
Most activities like hunting and poaching are banned in reserved forests unless specifically allowed by the government. Local communities often have the right to perform activities like hunting and poaching in protected forests.
Reserved forests often do not get converted to national parks or wildlife sanctuaries. With funding, protected forests are often converted to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. 
Reserved forests are protected with the aim to protect the abundant resources present in them.Protected forests are declared with the aim to protect against the depletion of natural resources.
More than half of the forest area is under the category of reserved forests in India.Protected forests make up at least one-third of the total forest area in India.

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FAQs

  • The main difference between reserved forests and protected forest is that human activities are not allowed in reserved forests whereas, in protected forests, human activities are allowed under restrictions.

  • Reserved forests are not turned into national parks or wildlife sanctuaries whereas, with enough funding, protected forests are often converted to encourage tourism.

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