National Forest Policy of 1952 enunciated that one third of the geographic area of the country should be under forests.
However, there had been continuous deforestation in the country for various reasons. Forest Conservation Act 1980 was erected with a view to check indiscriminate dereservation and diversion of forest land to non-forest purpose. Under this Act prior approval of Central Government is required before any reserved forest is declared as dereserved or forest land is diverted to non- forest purposes.
If diversion is permitted compensatory forestation is insisted upon other suitable condition imposed. When non- forest lands are available compensatory plantation be raised over degraded forests twice in extent to the area being diverted available compensatory plantation be raised over degraded forests twice in extent to the area being diverted.
The Forest Conservation Act 1980 was amended in 1988 to incorporate stricter panel provisions against violators. Important amendments as follows:
1. No State Government or other authority may direct that any forest land may be assigned by way of lease or otherwise to any person corporation or agency/ organization without prior approval of the Central Government.
2. No forest land or any portion thereof may be cleared of trees which have grown naturally in the land or portion for the purposes of using it for reforestation without prior permission of Central Government.
3. Scope of existing non-forest purposes has been extended to other areas of cultivation of tea, coffee, spices, rubber, palms, medicinal plants etc.