Forest Policies

Implications for Adaptation

Indian Forest Act, 1927

This Act aimed at reducing deforestation and enhancing forest cover will potentially lead to improved biodiversity conservation. This has implications for adaptation as biodiverse intact natural forests are less vulnerable to climate change impacts as compared to monocultures. It is also important to note here that on diversion of forest land for non-forestry activities, by way of compensatory afforestation, double the diverted area is planted. However, loss of natural forests increases the vulnerability. And, if there is monoculture in compensatory plantation, it would further increase vulnerability.

Forest Conservation Act 1980

Forest Policy of 1894

These policies have no direct climate change context. However, with the policies grounded in maintenance of the ecological balance approach, they would promote conservation of biodiversity, which will make the forests resilient to climate change. Further, local stakeholders’ involvement in the management of local forest resources, strengthens the coping capacities (adapt) of communities in the context of climate uncertainties.

National Forest Policy of 1952

National Forest Policy 1988

Joint Forest Management 1990

This guideline that led to the formulation of the large scale JFM programme pan India potentially has positive adaptation implications for the forest ecosystems as well as communities.

Ecosystem: Reduced pressure on natural forests thereby keeping the biodiversity intact that is better adapted to climate change.

Community: Diversified livelihood opportunities are important as the vulnerability of communities that depend on a single or few forest products is expected to be higher than communities that have access to a wide range of products, many of which respond differently to climate change.

Risk of raising of monoculture plantations

Wildlife Protection Act (WCS) 1972

Recommends strict conservation zones free of all habitations and modern day facilities, tourism, etc., critical for avoiding habitat fragmentation and degradation. Has the potential to promote adaptation. Protection from fire, control of invasive species (through habitat improvement measures) and maintaining ecosystem and biodiversity values also support elements of climate change mitigation.

National Wildlife Action Plan 1983

National Biodiversity Act 2002

Promotes conservation of biodiversity and biodiverse natural forests are better adapted to climate change and resilient to attack by pests and fire.

Forest Rights Act 2006

Recognizes the rights of forest dependent communities and provides opportunity for utilization of local knowledge for forest management and adaptation.

This Act legalizes human activity inside forests which may have negative impacts on regeneration due to increase disturbance through grazing, land use change, etc. This potentially can increase the vulnerability of forests to climate change.

Social Forestry (post-1980)

Predominated by monocultures in the past, therein making single species stands or plantations vulnerable to pest attack and fire, one of the larger impacts of a changing climate.

National REDD+ Policy, 2014

Intended to provide incentives to local forest communities to protect forests (carbon sinks).