Amendments in the Forest Conservation Act Enable Community-led Recognition of Forests

Gautam Aredath

Mongabay | November 23, 2023

The 2023 amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act exclude the category of ‘deemed forests’ which was an important safeguard for large swathes of forest and forest-like ecosystems. However, the amendments may hold the key to an alternative – that of community-led recording of forests – because they recognise lands recorded as forests in government records, writes the author of this commentary. By enabling a shift from a bureaucratic to a community-led definition of forests, these amendments can pave way for the protection of not just the erstwhile deemed forests, but other ecosystems such as grasslands and scrubs. The views in the commentary are that of the author.