05 December, 2019
Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
News: The Union Environment Ministry is likely to challenge a recent notification by the Uttarakhand Forest Department on its definition of a “deemed forest”.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the status of forest cover in India and the steps taken by the government to increase the forest cover
In a notification on November 21, the Uttarakhand government said that in areas recorded as “deemed forest” only tracts 10 hectares and above and having a canopy density of greater than 60%, would be considered forest.
The freedom to define which tracts of forest qualify as forest has been the prerogative of States since 1996.
However, this only applies to forest land that has not already been historically classified as “forest” in revenue records, or categorised so by the government as “protected” or “reserve forest”.
The notification appears to extend this definition even to tracts already recorded as forest in revenue records.
About deemed forests
Deemed forests, which comprise about 1% of India’s forest land, are a controversial subject as they refer to land tracts that appear to be a “forest”, but have not been notified so by the government or in historical records.
Source: The Hindu
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