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However, many of the world's forests and forest lands are still not managed sustainably.

FAO
thus helps countries overcome various challenges in the way towards sustainable forest
management by providing advice through field projects, workshops, seminars and training. It
also helps countries in the assessment of definition of the elements of sustainable forest
management, their forest resources, and monitoring their progress towards SFM. 1. Moreover,
it promotes sustainable forest management by working at the international level after
consolidating different techniques available at scattered sources2.

1.1.Impediments to sustainable forestry laws

Despite these measures at International level, there is no legally binding obligations to ensure
that forests are managed sustainably. Negotiations at the International level have proved to be
politically charged. Further lack of progress by UN forum on forestry has led to the
development of a number of alternative International forest regulatory approaches.

Hence, forest management is now faced with the complex challenges. There is a persistent
conflict of interest of the government and the private owners in the sense that the former want
to exploit the renewable resources to maximum, whereas the latter aims to increase the profit
generated by their activities at any cost. This discord is further aggravated by the fact that the
local people, particularly in developing countries, rely on the forest as a major source of food,
fuel, fodder construction and income3.

Looking upon all such facets, the author would like to strongly recommend that a binding
instrument on sustainable forestry must be adopted to meet the needs of present as well as
future generations.

2. FORESTRY LAWS FOR SUSTAINABLE FOREST


MANAGEMENT AT NATIONAL LEVEL
2.1.Background

1
FAO’s role in sustainable forest management, available at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/sfm/en/ (Last visited
on: October 30, 2017).
2
Ibid.
3
Marc-René de Montalembert and Franz Schmithüsen, “Policy and legal aspects of sustainable forest
management”, available at:
http://googleweblight.com/i?u=http://www.fao.org/docrep/v1500e/v1500e03.htm&grqid=y9NPNu1w&hl=en-
IN (Last visited on: October 20, 2017).
The erstwhile Indian forest policies resulted in alienation of people from the forests4. The
British administration remained indifferent towards the problem of forestry in the early years
of their rule and reckless exploitation of forests had continued as they were under the
impression that the forest wealth of India was inexhaustible5. It was only in 1894 that the Forest
Policy adopted by the government necessitated to lay down general principles for forest
management with the sole object to promote the general well-being of the people as a whole
and regulate benefits to the people living within and in the vicinity.

Prior to the advent of this policy, there was no uniform system for the management of the
forests which were mostly the properties of the Princely States, Nawabs and Zamindars. The
Circular noted that the forests of India were the property of the State. Though it had several
shortcomings, it provided a base for conservation of forests6.

The need for the formulation of the national forest policy became imperative after the
attainment of Indian independence which paved way for new forest policy of 1952. “It
contributed to an expansion in agricultural production, met industrial demand for raw materials,
and tightened control of forest lands through restricted access to forests and forest products”7.

The Policy laid down “that India, as whole, should aim at maintaining one third of its total land
area under forests and village communities should under no circumstances be permitted to use
forests at the expense of the “national interest”, which was identified with defense,
communications and vital industries”8. It also promoted scientific conservation of forests.

Then came the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 which marked a new era in the laws of
sustainable forestry as it encompasses various new provisions by way of recent amendments to
cope up with International commitments on protection of environment and forests.

2.2.Forests Conservation Act, 1980

4
Analyzing the Efficacy of Participatory Approach to Achieve Sustainable Forest Management in India, available
at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l215-Forest-Management-In-India.html (Last visited on: October
20, 2017).
5
Supra note 9.
6
Supra note 28.
7
Protection policies such as that of 1952 increased the hardships of vulnerable social groups by denying them
access to forests.
8
Videh Upadhyay, “Legal and Policy Frameworks related to Forest Conservation”, available at:
https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://awsassets.wwfindia.org/lecture_notes_sessio
n_9_1.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiJ4tXlv5jXAhWEvl8KHcDKBysQFggnMAA&usg=A0vVaw0Dli1-
2MxjMumivEsAs4g6 (Last visited on: October 20, 2017).
The 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976 shifts forests from the “State List” to the
“Concurrent List”. Also, ten fundamental duties were included in the Constitution9 and the
seventh one10 is “to protect and improve natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers,
wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” Again three new directive principles
were added and one is related to the promotion of natural environment including forests, lakes,
rivers, wildlife by the State11. The constitutional amendments were considered a landmark
because they enabled the Central Government to issue guidelines for the management of
forests. Since 1976, the Central Government has taken 3 major actions with regard to forests:

1. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.


2. National Forest Policy, 1988.
3. Amendment in 1988 of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

The FCA, 1980 (by amendment in 1988) prohibits “non-forest use” of forest land without the
government’s approval12. It also advocates “sustainable forest management through
participatory approach”, with “due regard to the traditional rights of the tribal people on forest
land”.

In1988, the new forest policy13 was adopted (to conform to amendment of 1980) which covered
all the sustainable management approaches. The new policy had a few unique features such as:

(i) “Maintenance of environmental stability and restoration of ecological balance, soil and
water conservation
(ii) Conservation of natural heritage and genetic resources.
(iii)Increasing productivity to meet the local needs then the national need
(iv) Creating massive peoples participation movement to protect forest and tree cover and
achieve the objective of reducing pressure on existing forests and meeting peoples need.

9
The Constituion of India, 1950, Article 51 A.
10
The Constituion of India, 1950, Article 51 A (g).
11
The Constituion of India, 1950, Article 48A.
12
Contravention of this Act attracts up to 15 days imprisonment.
13
The National Forest Policy, 1988.