The section 2 of the Act defines various terms that are essential in the domain of forests; starting from cattle inclusive of all the animals, the forest officer who is made in-charge by the State Government, the forest produce which includes timber, charcoal, wood-oil etc. It also has a separate interpretation of the river including any stream, canal or other channels. Further, the Act is classified into 3 types of forests that are;
1. Reserved Forests:
The reserved forests are dealt with in Chapter II of the Act ranging from section 3 to 27. Any forest land or waste land to which the government has the ownership is a reserved forest. These forests are restricted as the Government has proprietary rights over the land. The use of the reserved forests is prohibited to the local people unless they have acquired permission from the government. The area of land is declared to be a reserved forest when the Government issues a preliminary notification under section 4 of the Act declaring that such a land is to be constituted as a reserved forest and the Forest Settlement Officer settles all the rights either by admitting or rejecting them.
Section 26 of the Act deals with prohibition of activities including grazing, tree felling, burning, quarrying, hunting etc. in the forest. The penalty for the violation of the provisions of section 26 is imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 20,000 but which shall not be less than Rs. 5000.
2. Village forests:
Under Chapter III, section 28 of the Act, when the Government assigns any reserved forest or any other land to the village community for their use that piece of land is classified under village forest lands. State Government makes rules for management of these forests.
The term village forest and forest village may look similar, but have different meaning. While village forest is a legal category under the Indian Forest Act, forest village is merely an administrative category.
3. Protected forests:
The state government is empowered to constitute any land other than reserved forests as protected forests over which the Government has proprietary rights. The provisions for the protected forests are dealt in Chapter IV, section 29 of the Act. Along-with the rights, the Government also has the power to reserve the specific tree species in the protected forests. The reason behind can be that those particular trees have the revenue raising potential and are thus required to be protected for the benefits.
Chapter V of the Act deals with another type of forests named Non-government forests or rather Private forests. These forest lands are not in control of the government. Though, the State Government can by notification prohibit and regulate the clearing of land in special circumstances like to preserve public health and wellness.
One of the objectives of the Act regarding the levying of duty on timber and other forest produce is dealt with in chapter VI which extends to the produce that takes place in the territories and is under Government control.
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