Have a Forest Act that prioritizes conservation, and does not open up our forests to encroachments and unmitigated destruction.
Why is this important?
Earlier this year, the Union government proposed an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The colonial-era Act was imposed by British rulers so they could exert autonomy over India’s forests.
While revising the old law is important, some of the key amendments proposed by the MOEF&CC are extremely worrying and can lead to significant loss of biodiversity and degradation of forests. Two examples are given here. The definition of non-timber forest produce has now been expanded to include soil, sand, rock, humus, bamboo, etc. This can lead to rapid extraction of these key elements of ecosystems upon which a number of plant and animal species are dependent upon. Also, one cannot rule out large-scale exploitation of these critical elements for commercial purposes.
Another new chapter is proposed allowing ‘production forests’ which would mean creating monocultural plantations in biodiverse forest areas. This again would mean loss of biodiversity and reduction of ecosystem services like water harvesting as it has been proven globally that biodiverse and natural forests are far more effective in providing ecosystem services than managed forests.
This petition is to highlight these serious concerns to the Ministry and request them to drop some of these amendments and to alter some of them. SIGN UP now to safeguard India’s forests and biodiversity as well as to avoid exploitation of forests by commercial interests.
We have until August 7 to register our objections. SIGN THIS NOW to safeguard India’s forests, and also to stand up for the rights of the indigenous communities of the forests! https://act.airalert.in/petitions/send-your-objections-against-the-amendment-proposed-to-indian-forest-act