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Additional Director General of Forests Ministry of Environment & Forests Government of India New Delhi - 110 003


The Forest and Tree cover in India has over the years stabilized at around 23 % of geographical area, whereas the National Forest Policy,1988 lays down the national goal of 33% of forest and tree cover for ensuring ecological security and environmental balance. Since 1990 there has been impressive growth of Indian economy leading to significantly increased demand for timber and other forest produce. As the area under natural forest is difficult to increase, the extension of forestry in non forest areas especially as agro-forestry and farm forestry has tremendous potential to increase production of timber and other wood products and reduce the pressure on natural forests.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests constituted a Committee in July 2011 to study the regulatory regime Felling and Transit regulations for tree species grown on non forest/private lands, to evaluate the experience of different States/UTs and to recommend the regulatory regime in the recently initiated Green India Mission, one of the eight Mission under National Action Plan for Climate Change. It gives me great pleasure that the Committee has brought out the Report on the study on felling and transit regulations for tree species grown on non forest/private lands, which is the first of its kind at Central Government.

The recommendations and suggestions made there under are the result of critical analysis of the various existing State legislations/Rules and Acts regarding felling and transit of tree species. Due importance has been given for the suggesting the relaxation in transit and felling permission for the species preferred by the farmers and agroforesters. This will help in active involvement of farmers and other passive landowners in afforestation also increasing the tree cover and enriching the environment. This will attract initiatives for affortestation on the wastelands lying unattended for one or the other reasons.

To expand significantly the community/ social forestry outside traditional forests requires bringing together of all stakeholders foresters, farmers, landowners, woodbased industries, scientists, financial institutions and communities. The growing of trees on private lands is driven by commercial consideration with ease in harvesting and backed by enabling market with buyback arrangements through partnership between farmers and industries. There is a need for investment in R&D for increasing availability of improved quality of planting stock of suitable clonal varieties of preferred species, processing technologies, easy access to market information. From experience it is realized that Symbiotic relationship between plantation owners and wood based industries and an appropriate regulatory framework has helped in growth of wood from non forest areas.

The whole exercise required considerable efforts in collecting desired information, and analysis of regulations, discussion with farmers and other stakeholders. I place on record my deep appreciation and gratitude to all the committee members, namely Shri K.K. Singh, Shri Piare Lal, Mohammad Ahmed, Shri Sanjay Upadhyaya, Shri B.M.S. Rathore, Dr. K. Krishna Kumar, and Shri Subhash Chandra, Member Secretary and Convener of the Page 4 of 42 Committee for their valuable contribution and sincere efforts in making this study possible. I would like to make a special mention of Shri Subhash Chandra, DIG Forest Policy in collecting and analyzing information in preparing this report. I, also place on record, the valuable support provided by Shri Amit Kumar, AIG, Forest Policy, Shri Jitesh Kumar, Research Investigator and Shri K. L. Vasishth, Private Secretary to the committee. I hope that the State Forest Department can give due attention to formulate and favourably consider necessary amendments in their rules and regulations to create enabling and people’s friendly environment. The committee will welcome suggestions from State Forest Departments/ Foresters / Institutions to make recommendations more effective


1. Background:

1.1 India has 78.29 mha land under the forest & tree cover, which is 23.81% of the geographical area of the country (ISFR, 2011). India occupies 10th rank among the most forested countries of the World (GFRA 2010). The forest resources are represented by 16 major forest types and are unevenly distributed, mostly confined to Himalayan belt, Central India, Western Ghats, NE Region & A&N Islands. Forests support livelihood of around 200 million people in the country. National Forest Policy, 1988 strives for national goal of achieving one third of geographical area under forest cover in order to ensure ecological & environmental security. Forests are mainly government owned and as a land use is the second largest land use category after agriculture in India. The productivity of forests, in India, is among the lowest in the World, which needs to be addressed by focusing on gradual reduction on drivers of deforestation and degradation. One of the reasons for low productivity of forests may be attributable to the fact that most of the forested land in high fertility zone like plains of North India and other river valleys has given way to agriculture and habitation leading to forests mostly confined to inaccessible, hilly, arid and rocky terrains.

1.2 India has made impressive economic growth in recent times reflected in rise in income of people, which is leading to increase in consumption of wood and wood products like furniture, construction timber, paper and pulp etc. This growing demand has resulted in large gap between demand and supply of forest products, which is met partly through agro-forestry and remaining by import of timber and allied products. Globally there is increasing focus on sustainable forest management and some countries like USA, EU are developing legally binding processes for trade of certified timber from sustainably managed forests, which will have significant impact on international trade of forest products.

1.3 Participatory forestry in various forms such as Social forestry, Community forestry, Farm/ Agro forestry, JFM etc. has evolved over the years by involving farmers and other land owners in tree plantations outside forests. Agro forestry has played an important role in providing valuable wood based raw materials to industry for meeting demand for various wood based products for society. The potential of agro/ farm forestry has not been fully realized, as on one side farmers are encouraged to grow trees on their land, at the same time they face difficulties in harvesting their produce, in view of various restrictions on felling and transit of trees.

1.4 A Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests to study the regulatory regime regarding felling and transit regulations for tree species grown on non forest/ private lands under the chairman ship of Shri A.K. Bansal, IFS, Addl. DGF, FC. The names of the members are given below:

1.5 ToRs: The Terms of Reference of the Committee are given below:
  • (i) To study the current regulatory regimes of different States / UTs regarding felling and transit for trees grown on private lands.
  • (ii) To evaluate the experience of different States / UTs in agro and farm forestry.
  • (iii) To recommend the regulatory regime in Mission to Green India.
  • (iv) To review the Lok Vaniki Act of Madhya Pradesh.

1.6 The committee had its first meeting in July, 2011 and focused on collection of data from States. The State Forest Departments were requested to provide relevant information / materials on the subject. Information from 24 States/ UTs has been collected and analysed. The committee in its Second meeting in April, 2012 discussed various Acts/ rules and regulations and issues impacting initiatives in growing trees on non forest /private lands. The role of the committee is important in respect of linking forest policy objectives with the growth of participatory forestry to ensure sustained availability of forest produce and wood products in the country to meet growing demands of society.

1.7 The committee was of the view that expansion of community / agro or farm forestry outside the forests with support from farmers, landowners, and communities in addition to improvement of degraded forest areas, and development of around 25 mha of arable wastelands can contribute significantly to fulfill the national goal of achieving 33% of forest and tree cover, as enshrined in the National Forest Policy, 1988. There is an immense potential for agro-forestry and farm forestry considering the favourable climatic conditions, growing demand for forest produce and opportunities for creation of jobs in the rural / peri urban areas. However, successful growing of trees on private lands is to be driven primary by commercial / economic considerations. Market linkages are needed for ease in revenue realization. R&D support/ inputs for improving quality of planting stock of preferred species, processing technologies, etc. are important aspects which need focused and continuous efforts. From experience of States, like Haryana and Punjab which have made remarkable progress in agro and farm forestry, it is realized that there has to be symbiotic relationship between plantation owners and wood based industries. National institutions like ICFRE, IPIRTI are constantly working for development of better/appropriate processing technology. However, much is required to be done in the field of quality planting materials for ensured availability of good quality of planting materials and also in evolving an enabling policy/legal framework.

1.8 After detailed deliberations, the committee identified following issues to evolve an enabling policy-legal framework for boosting the growth of agro-farm forestry sector in the country:
    (i) Comparative analysis of existing regulatory regime in various States including factors that are impacting upon the private initiatives and growth of agroforestry and farm forestry,
    (ii) Policy guidelines and imperatives,
    (iii) Land availability for agro forestry & farm forestry across the country and
    (iv) Existing Institutional arrangements between far
    (v) Other issues like crop certifications, crop insurances, role of Forest Departments, Industries, Research Institutions, Agriculture & Forestry Universities, Tree Growers Society.


2.1 National Forest Policy, 1988 (NFP) aims to have a minimum of one third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover. In the hills and in mountainous regions, the policy aims to maintain two third of the area under such cover in order to prevent erosion and land degradation and to ensure the stability of the fragile eco-system. The target of keeping one third of geographical area under forest cover is envisaged as a national imperative enunciating in the National Forest Policy 1952, reiterated in the NFP and further endorsed by the National Forest Commission to ensure ecological and environmental security of the nation. Forests are also critical for maintaining food and water security. The NFP also lays down need for a massive need based and time bound programme of afforestation and tree planting, with particular emphasis on fuelwood and fodder development, on all degraded and denuded lands in the country, whether forest or non forest land and to encourage the planting of trees alongside of roads, railway lines, rivers and streams and canals, and on other unutilized lands under State/corporate, institutional or private ownership. Green belts should be raised in urban/industrial areas as well as in arid tracts.

The relevant extracts of NFP are given below:

Para 2.1 and 2.2 of the NFP lay down the following basic objectives:-

    -Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary, restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serious depletion of the forests of the country.
    - Conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural forests with the vast variety of flora and fauna, which represent the remarkable biological diversity and genetic resources of the country.
    - Checking soil erosion and denudation in the catchment areas of rivers, lakes, reservoirs in the interest of soil and water conservation, for mitigating floods and droughts and for the retardation of siltation of reservoirs.
    - Checking the extension of sand-dunes in the desert areas of Rajasthan and along the coastal tracts.
    - Increasing sustainability the forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes, especially on all denuded, degraded and unproductive lands.
    - Meeting the requirements of fuel wood, fodder, minor forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations.
    -Increasing the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs.
    - Encouraging efficient utilization of forest produce and maximizing substitution of wood.
    - Creating a massive people’s movement with the involvement of women, for achieving these objectives and to minimize pressure on existing forests.

2.3 Thus the principal aim of NFP is to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance including atmosphere equilibrium which are vital for sustenance of all life forms, human, animal and plant. The derivation of direct economic benefit must be subordinated to this principal aim.

2.4 Para-4 speaks about initiating massive afforestation, social forestry and farm forestry for bringing large non forest area under forest and tree cover for meeting the policy objectives and calls for a massive need-based and time bound programme of afforestation and tree planting, with particular emphasis of fuelwood and fodder development, on all degraded and denuded lands in the country, whether forest or non-forest land, is a national imperative. It calls for necessity for encouraging the planting of trees alongside of roads, railway lines, rivers and streams and canals, and on other unutilized lands under State/Corporate, institutional or private ownership. Green belts should be raised in urban/industrial areas well as in arid tracts for helping in checking erosion and desertification as well as improve the micro-climate.

2.5 The NFP lays emphasis on development of tree crops and fodder resources on village and community lands, not required for other productive uses with technical assistance and other inputs necessary for initiating such programmes to come from the Government and sharing of revenues generated through such programmes with the panchayats and the local communities in order to provide an incentive to them. The policy also mentions the vesting, in individuals, particularly from the weaker sections (such as landless labour, small and marginal farmers, scheduled castes, tribals, women) of certain ownership rights over trees, could be considered, subject to appropriate regulations; beneficiaries would be entitled to usufruct and would in turn be responsible for their security and maintenance.

2.6 Para 4.1.2 mentions that Land laws should be so modified wherever necessary so as to facilitate and motivate individuals and institutions to undertake tree-farming and grow fodder plants, grasses and legumes on their own land. Wherever possible, degraded lands should be made available for this purpose either on lease or on the basis of a tree-patta scheme. Such leasing of the land should be subject to the land grant rules and land ceiling laws. Steps necessary to encourage them to do so must be taken. Appropriate regulations should govern the felling of trees on private holding.

2.7 Para 4.3.3 gives direction that in order to meet the growing needs for essential goods and services which the forests provide, it is necessary to enhance forest cover and productivity of the forests through the application of scientific and technical inputs. Production forestry programmes, while aiming at enhancing the forest cover in the country, and meeting national needs should also be oriented to narrowing, by the turn of the century, the increasing gap between demand and supply of fuel wood.

2.8 The Policy recognizes importance of people’s support in forest conservation and calls for appropriate forest extension programmes to inculcate in the people, a direct interest in forests, their development and conservation, and to make them conscious of the value of trees, wildlife and nature in general. This can be achieved through the involvement of educational institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, mass media, audio-visual aids and the extension machinery, Trainers Training Centres to learn agri-silvicultural and silvicultural techniques to ensure optimum use of their land and water resources. Short term extension courses and lectures should be organized in order to educate farmers.

2.9 Para 4.6 lays emphasis on Forestry Research indicating some broad priority areas of research and development needing special attention regarding agroforestry and farm forestry are:-

    (i) Increasing the productivity of wood and other forest produce per unit of area per unit time by the application of modern scientific and technological methods.
    (ii) Research related to social forestry for rural/tribal development.

Relevant extracts of NFP in para 4.7 specify the criteria governing setting up of Forestbased Industries and their role and responsibilities:

    - As far as possible, a forest-based industry should raise the raw material needed for meeting its own requirements, preferably by establishment or a direct relationship between the factory and the individuals who can grow the raw material by supporting the individuals with inputs including credit, constant technical advice and finally harvesting and transport services.
    - Forest-based industries must not only provide employment to local people on priority but also involve them fully in raising trees and raw material.
    - Farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers, would be encouraged to grow, on marginal/degraded lands available with them, wood species require for industries. These also be grown along with fuel and fodder species on community lands not required for pasture purposes, and by Forest department/corporations on degraded forests, not earmarked for natural regeneration.

2.10 The Ministry on 15.12. 2004 issued guidelines to State / UTs for involving private sector in afforestation and to maintain a balance between regulation and promotion of forestry in private sector (Letter of MoEF vide F.No. 8-14/2004-FP dated 15.12.2004 at Annexure- VI)


3.1 The committee analyzed existing State regulations governing felling and transit of trees grown on private lands and found that there are wide variations in the rules and regulations related to felling of trees and transportation of felled timber across various States especially in a particular region, impacting interstate boundary movement of agro forestry produces. Certain species common in agro-forestry and are exempted from transit regulations in a State, but are not so common in adjoining States and are subjected to transit regulation. There is also lack of unified approach for agroforestry species even in adjoining districts within a State. Farmers / tree planters grow trees primarily for Page 10 of 42 commercial reasons and are often discouraged due to lack of uniformity in approach and desired level of clarity in regulations. Generally, fast growing short rotation tree spp. like Eucalyptus, Poplar, Casuarina, Ailanthus, Melia, Albizzia, Acacia auriculiformis, Gamhar, Kadam and Bamboo are preferred by farmers for obvious reasons. Most of these species are exempted under Transit Rules in some States. Mulberry is preferred in some Central Indian States like Maharashtra for sericulture. Likewise, Mango is preferred as a horticulture crop in orchards of North West India. Further, agro and farm forestry has generally progressed in North Indian states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, etc. which have relatively low forest cover coupled with high productive tracts giving quick return on short rotation crops.

3.2 Current status in some of the States which have high potential for growth of Agro / Farm Forestry is briefly given below:

  • In Tamil Nadu, 36 species grown on farm lands are exempted from the purview of timber transit rules. Earlier, ownership of Sandal wood trees was with the Government, later on land owners were allowed to own and grow sandalwood trees on their land, with the restriction that the disposal should be through forest department. There are restrictions on felling and transportation of important timber species, mostly found in forest areas. Rose wood tree is given special status by a separate Rose wood Conservation Act. A scheme “Tree Cultivation in Private Lands” has been launched to encourage tree cultivation in uncultivable/ abandoned/ farm lands. Forest lands under private holdings are governed by the Hill Areas (Preservation of Trees) Act, 1955 primarily for ecological considerations. Silver oak spp. grown in tea plantations as cover crop has been taken out of the status of Schedule timber recently.
  • In Kerala, 61 tree species are exempted from transit permits under Kerala Forest Produce Transit Rules, 1975. The Kerala Preservation of Trees Act, 1986 prevents felling of 10 species of trees. Kerala Promotion of Tree growth in Non- forest Areas Act, 2005” permits the owner of non-forest land to cut and transport any tree, other than Sandal wood tree and provides a list of 10 specified trees, requiring transit permit from the forest department.
  • In Punjab & Haryana, no permission is required for felling and transport of Eucalyptus and Poplar raised under agro-forestry. The States are deficient in forest cover, and have achieved remarkable progress in agro/ farm forestry. In Haryana, it has been observed that farmers prefer tree plantation to sugar cane plantation with paddy/wheat rotation to an Agro Forestry model.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, 19 species are exempt from transit permit in the 38 notified districts, whereas transit permit is required in districts having notified forest areas. Also, for movement of timber from exempted districts to other districts, transit pass is required.
  • In Gujarat, transit permit is required for 29 species, out of which 5 species are reserved trees. For non reserved trees, permission to fell is required from revenue authorities. Gram Panchayats have been authorized to issue transit pass for non reserve trees. Few species like Eucalyptus, Casuarinas and Prosopis juliflora are exempt from felling permission. In the Central districts of Gujarat having low forest cover, there are significant efforts for agro and farm forestry.
  • Orissa : In Odisha, No Transit permit required for the Species generally raised in farm forestry or forest farming are Kurum, Panas, Kasi, Sissoo, Gamhar, Amba, Champa, Sal, Teak, Asan. Species exempted are Bambusa nutan (Sundarkanai), Bambusa vulgaris (Badi baunsa), Bambusa tulda (bolangi Baunsa), Samania saman, eucalyptus Hybrid (Nilgiri/ palas), Acacia auriculiformis, Cassia siamea, Casuarina equisetifolia, Silver oak.
  • Maharashtra: Felling of trees in private lands is regulated by following three Acts: (i) Maharashtra Felling of Tree (Act 1964) , (ii) Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975; (iii) The Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966. Permission for tree felling and transportation of forest produce is generally given by the concerned Dy. Conservator of Forests under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.1927 and the rules made there under namely the Bombay Forest Rules, 1942. 16 species [Hirda (Termanalia chebula), Teak (Tectona grandis), Mahuwa (Madhuca latifolia), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Mango (Mangifera indica), Jack (Artocerpus integrifolia), Khair (Acacia catechu), Sandal (Santalum albam), Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), Haldu (Adina cardofolia), Tiwas (Ougelnia dulbergoidies), Ain (Terminalia tomentosa), Kinjal or Kindal (Terminalia paniculata), Anjan (Harduchia binata), Jambhul (Syzigium cumini),Mangrove] are listed in schedule and permission for felling and transit is required. In addition, within the district of Sindhudurg 8 species- [Shisam (Dalbergia latifolia), Shivan (Gmelina arboria), Nana (Lagrstroemia lanceolata), Behala (Terminalia belerica), Kazra (Strychnes nuxvomica), Bhedus (Euginia zeylanica), Pandhra ain (Terminalia arjuna), Kajoo (Anacardium occidentale)] are scheduled and covered under Transit Regulation. Exempted species under timber transit rules are Babul, Subabul, Prosopis, Eucalyptus, Ashok, Moringa, Phoenix, Chiku, Bhendi, Acacia and Poplar.
  • Bihar: 10 Species have been exempted from the purview of Transit Rule vide Notification No. Van Vikraya.38-2000-456 dated 27.02.2009 namely:- Poplar, Eucalyptus, Kadamb, Gumhar, Mango, Lichi, Tar, Khajoor, Semal and Bamboo except Dendrocalamus strictus.
  • Madhya Pradesh: As per Gazette Notification No. F.30-40-95-X.3 dated 13.12.2000 the Madhya Pradesh Transit (Forest Produce) Rules, 2000, transit pass is to be issued by the Panchayat on the recommendations of the Panchayat Level Committee in respect of Babool, Siris, Neem, Ber, Palas, Jamun, Reunjha, Bamboo (except in the districts of Khandwa, Betul, Hoshangabad, Harda, Chhindwara, Seoni, Balaghat, Jabalpur, Katni, Mandla, Dindori, Shahdol). Transit pass for the species other than those mentioned above is to be issued by Forest Officer on recommendations of Panchayat Level Committee.
  • West Bengal: WB Private Forest Act, 1948, WB Forest Produce Transit Rules, 1959 and WB Trees (Protection and Conservation in Non Forest Areas) Act, 2006 are in forces which regulate permission for felling and transit of trees grown on private lands. No tree spp. is exempted. No tree can be felled in non forest areas except with the procedure laid out for obtaining permission for felling of trees with obligation to plant trees in lieu of trees felled. Permission mandatory for 11 spp. Khair, Semal, Sissoo, Tendu, Gamar, Mahua, Champ, Sal, Mahogani, Teak and Mangroves.



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