Chapter-5 Provisions Relating to the Community Forest

Chapter-5 Provisions Relating to the Community Forest

  1. To hand over the community forest: (1) If a users’ group formed pursuant to Section 31 wishes to manage any part of the national forest as the community forest with entitlement to develop, conserve, use and manage the forest and to sell and distribute the forest products by fixing their price independently, it shall make an application, along with a work plan, to the Division Forest Office.

                        (2)        The Division Forest Officer may, if he or she deems it appropriate upon inquiring into the work plan referred to in sub-section (1), approve it.

(3)        If the work plan is approved pursuant to sub-section (2), the Division Forest Officer shall give the certificate of hand-over of forest in the format as prescribed to the users’ group referred to in sub-section (1).

(4)        For the purpose of sub-section (1), the Division Forest Officer may constitute a users’ group with participation of the users and provide technical and other assistance required to prepare the work plan.

(5)        The users’ group may, on the basis of its desire and need make the work plan of the community forest or amend it as per necessity, in consultation with the concerned Local Level, in order to make effective the forest management. Prior to implementing the work plan so made or amended, the users’ group shall give information thereof to the Divisional Forest Officer.

(6)        If it appears that the work plan made, or amendment made to it, by the Users’ Group pursuant to sub-section (5) is likely to cause significant adverse impacts on the environment, the Division Forest Officer may direct the users’ group not to implement such work plan or amendment, within thirty days from the date of receipt of information of such work plan or amendment, and it shall be the duty of the users’ group to comply with such direction.

(7)        The users’ group may carry out forest enterprises specified by the work plan approved by the Division Forest Office and such eco-tourism programs as prescribed.

(8)        The users’ group may use the forest area as prescribed for the development of eco-tourism pursuant to sub-section (7).

(9)        The users’ group may, by making agreement as prescribed, provide any part of the community forest to the users below the poverty line, for income generation through the development, protection and use of the community forest.

  1. Community forest may be taken back: (1) In case the users’ group fails to operate its functions in accordance with the work plan in the community forest handed over pursuant to Section 18 or does any act which  may cause significant adverse effect on the environment or fails to comply  with the terms and conditions to be complied with pursuant to this Act and the rules framed under this Act, the Division Forest Officer may decide to cancel the  registration of such users’ group  and take back such community forest as  prescribed.

Provided that, such users’ group shall be provided with a reasonable opportunity to submit its clarification, prior to making such decision to cancel the registration of the user’s group and take back the community forest.

(2)        The users’ group which is not satisfied with the decision made by the Division Forest Director pursuant to sub-section (1) may make a complaint to the Province Forest Director. The decision made by the Province Forest Director on such a complaint shall be final.

  1. Community forest may be re-handed over: (1) If a complaint is made pursuant to sub-section (2) of Section 19 against the decision to take back any community forest pursuant to sub-section (1) of the same Section and such decision is voided by the Province Forest Director, the Division Forest Officer shall re-hand over such community forest to the same users’ group.

(2)        If no complaint is made pursuant to sub-section (2) of Section 19 against the decision referred to in sub-section (1) of the same Section or if such a complaint is made but the decision is approved, the Division Forest Officer shall hand over that community forest by reconstituting the users’ group upon completing the procedures referred to in Section 18.

  1. Punishment for contravening the work plan: (1) If any user does any act which is contrary to the work plan in the community forest, the concerned users’ group may impose fine on that user and realize the amount equal to the claimed amount if there has been any loss or damage as a result of such act.

                        (2)        If the users’ group is not able to take action pursuant to sub-section (1) on its own, the group may recommend the Division Forest Office for action, and if so recommended, the Division Forest Office may impose such fine.

(3)        Nothing shall be deemed to bar the taking of action against such person in accordance with the prevailing law by the reason alone that the fine has been imposed pursuant to sub-section (1).

  1. Expenditure to be made for the development of forest: (1) The users’ group shall spend at least twenty-five percent amount of the annual income earned derived as per the work plan in the development protection and management of the forest, and at least twenty-five percent of the remaining amount in poverty alleviation, women empowerment and entrepreneurship development activities, in coordination with the concerned Local Level.

                        (2)        The amount remaining after the expenditures made pursuant to sub-section (1) shall be used in the interest of the users’ group.