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Uttarakhand tightens ‘deemed forest’ norms

Uttarakhand tightens ‘deemed forest’ norms

On 13th February 2020, the Uttarakhand government tightened the norms in classifying land as deemed forest. As per the decision that was taken by the state Cabinet, a piece of land is defined as a forest if it is spread over a minimum 5 hectares and has a minimum canopy density of 40%.

Key Points:

  • Only if these parameters are met will the prohibitions that are laid down for forest areas under the Forest Conservation Act would be applicable in those areas, and one will have to obtain clearance from the Forest Department to do any activity in that area.
  • Orchards or fruit plantations of any shape or species are to be kept out of the definition of forest.
  • The Uttarakhand government with this has revised its notification issued last year, which had ruled that a piece of land cannot be defined as forest if it is not spread across a minimum of 10 hectares, and has a minimum canopy density of 60% and doesn’t have 75% native trees.
  • According to the Forest Survey of India, Uttarakhand has recorded forest area of 38,000 sq km, which is 71% of the state’s geographical area.

What are deemed forests?

Deemed forets refer to land tracts that appear to be a “forest”, but have not been notified so by the government or in historical records.

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