- Reserved forests and protected forests of India
Part of a series on Wildlife of India
A reserved forest (also called reserve forest) or a protected forest in India are terms denoting forests accorded a certain degree of protection. The terms were first introduced in the Indian Forest Act, 1927 in British India, to refer to certain forests granted protection under the British crown in British India, but not associated suzerainties. After Indian independence, the Government of India retained the status of the existing reserved and protected forests, as well as incorporating new reserved and protected forests. A large number of forests which came under the jurisdiction of the Government of India during the political integration of India were initially granted such protection.
Land rights to forests declared to be Reserved forests or Protected forests are typically acquired (if not already owned) and owned by the Government of India. Unlike national parks of India or wildlife sanctuaries of India, reserved forests and protected forests are declared by the respective state governments. As of present, reserved forests and protected forests differ in one important way:
- Rights to all activities like hunting, grazing, etc in reserved forests are banned unless specific orders are issued otherwise
In reserved forests, rights to activities like hunting and grazing are sometimes given to communities living on the fringes of the forest, who sustain their livelihood partially or wholly from forest resources or products. Thus, typically reserved forests enjoy a higher degree of protection with respect to protected forests. However, it is possible that certain protected forests may enjoy more protection with respect to certain reserved forests.
Protected forests are of two kinds - demarcated protected forests and undemarcated protected forests, based on whether the limits of the forest have been specified by a formal notification.
Typically, reserved forests are often upgraded to the status of wildlife sanctuaries, which in turn may be upgraded to the status of national parks, with each category receiving a higher degree of protection and government funding. For example, Sariska National Park was declared a reserved forest in 1955, upgraded to the status of a wildlife sanctuary in 1958, becoming a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Sariska became a national park in 1992, though primary notification to declare it as a national park was issued as early as 1982.
- Corresponding glossary entry for the terms on the Government of Andhra Pradesh's Department of Forest website
- “Legislations on Environment, Forests, and Wildlife” from the Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
- “India’s Forest Conservation Legislation: Acts, Rules, Guidelines”, from the Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
- Wildlife Legislations, including - “The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act” from the Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
- Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
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