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Forest legislation

FAO publishes quarterly in English, French and Spanish editions Food and agriculture legislation, a selection of laws and regulations of international importance. Notes on recent forest legislation of interest are reproduced below.

Canada (Manitoba)

· The Watershed Conservation Districts Art: an Act to provide for the establishment of watershed conservation districts to conserve the water resources of the Province. 4 August 1959. (Statutes of Manitoba, 1959, 8 Elizabeth II, pp. 521-548)

There may be established watershed conservation districts and' in respect of each district, a board having the following aims and objects: to promote the conservation and control of the water resources and, for that purpose, to study, undertake, put into effect, operate, or maintain, a scheme in respect of the district with a view to conserving, controlling, developing, protecting, restoring or using (a) the water resources within or available to the district and (b) the land, forest, wildlife and recreation resources thereof.

A watershed conservation commission is established to give advice and guidance to the district boards and to advise the Minister of Agriculture and Conservation in all matters relating to the Act and the administration and operation thereof.

Canada (Newfoundland)

· The Saw Mills Act, 1959: an Act to amend and consolidate the law respecting the operation of sawmills 6 July 1959. (Statutes of Newfoundland, 1959, pp. 388-393)

The Act contains detailed provisions relating to licences and rights conferred thereby. All licensees are to take precautions against fire, pursuant to the Forest Fires Act.

The Minister of Mines and Resources is empowered to make regulations prohibiting all unnecessary waste of timber in sawing or manufacturing timber, regulating the disposal of waste from mills, providing for the grading of any or all mill products and establishing standards by which different grades of such products shall be known.


· Regulations under the Soil Conservation Act No. 25 of 1951. 16 December 1959. (Ceylon Government Gazette, No. 12,027, 1 January 1960, Part I, P. 5)

In order to prevent or control soil erosion, or to preserve soil resources, owners of any land cultivated in any crop may be directed to carry out measures (a) for the prevention of damage by fire, by cutting and maintaining fire belts; (b) for the prevention of grazing, by installing fences; (c) for planting forest trees; (d) for erecting check dams and contour wattling.

Where degraded forest land, which has been cleared for food production but has not been so used, is subject to soil erosion, the owner shall cause the land to be afforested to an extent specified by the Director of Agriculture.

Costa Rica

· Executive Decree No. 1: creating a committee for the protection of forest wildlife. 2 February 1960. (La Gaceta, No. 52, 4 March 1960, p. 931)

The functions of the committee are to propose, encourage and coordinate all measures, programs, studies and projects for improving forest wildlife administration; to study and recommend solutions to the technical problems of forest wildlife administration. lying within the province of the Department of Lands and Forests; to draw up regulations under an Act on wildlife protection contributing to the improved application thereof; and to take action necessary to ensure that the work program of the Ministry in respect of wildlife protection shall be properly co-ordinated with the other branches thereof and with other state and private agencies created for the preservation of natural resources.

Federation of Malaya

· Land Conservation Act, 1960. 23 April 1960. (Federation of Malaya Government Gazette, Vol. IV, No. 11, Act Supplement No. 1, 5 May 1960, pp. 9-19)

The purpose of the Act is to consolidate the law relating to the conservation of hill land and the protection of soil from erosion and the inroad of silt. Except under permit, no person shall plant any hill land with short-term crops, clear any hill land or interfere with, destroy or remove any trees, plants, undergrowth, weeds, grass or vegetation on or from any hill land. Owners or occupiers of land may be required to take measures if earth, mud, silt, gravel or stone from land has caused or is likely to cause damage to other land or to any watercourse. The Act contains detailed provisions governing procedural matters.


· Decree No. 213-A. declaring all lands presently belonging to the State to be national reserve zones. 3 September 1953. (La Gaceta, No. 16.899, 10 October 1959, p. 1)

This is a general conservation measure, intended to permit long-term agricultural and land-use planning. Forest and other national resources existing on lands referred to also enter into the national reserve.

India (West Bengal)

· Resolution No. 20550 L. Ref. of 6 November 1959: on the constitution of a land utilization board. (The Calcutta Gazette, No. 46, 12 November 1959, p. 3922)

A land utilization board is established with a view to determining the steps necessary for the proper utilization of all available lands and water areas in the State. The functions of the board are, among others, to collect detailed information regarding lands which have vested in Government under the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act of 1953, to obtain technical reports concerning the suitability of the different blocks of lands for agriculture, afforestation, etc. and to formulate soil conservation measures and measures to combat soil erosion.


· Act No. 21 of 1960: relative to emergency measures concerning forest conservation and flood control. (Official Gazette, Special Issue, No. 24, 31 March 1960, pp. 7-8)

A Plan is to be drawn up by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in consultation with the Central Forestry Advisory Council. A similar plan is to be drawn up by the Minister of Public Works in consultation with the River Advisory Council. The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry is to draw up plans for conservation in mountain areas. The Minister of Public Works is responsible for river protection.

Both ministers, prior to drawing up their respective plans, should consult and coordinate their ideas and should consult with the Chief of the Economic Planning Agency. The two plans will be subject to government approval. The Government will take all measures necessary for executing these plans.

Conservation in mountain areas is to be carried out with the financial assistance of the Central Government under the Forestry Act and the Landslide Prevention Act.


· Forest Act. 9 January 1960. (Diario Oficial, No. 13, 16 January 1960, pp. 7-17)

This basic text replaces the Forest Act of 30 December 1947. Its purpose is to regulate the conservation, restoration, development and use of forest vegetation, the transportation of and trade in products derived therefrom, the administration of the forest service and the proper development and integration of the forest industry.


· Order of the Council of Ministers: creating the Wolinski National Park. 3 March 1960. (Dziennik Ustaw, No. 14, 15 March 1960, text 79, p. 141)

The Minister of Forestry and Woodworking Industries is to fix in detail the extent and boundaries of the park, as well as the restrictions regarding its various parts. On the reserves, all economic activities must be in keeping with the requirements and purposes of the protection of nature. However, restrictions are not to interfere with the exercise of economic activities deemed appropriate by the director of the park from the viewpoint of rational land utilization.


· Land Reform Act. 22 February 1960. (Gaceta Oficial, No. 611, Extraordinario, 19 March 1960, pp. 1-19)

Article 28 of the Land Reform Act provides that national parks and forests, forest reserves, protected zones, wildlife sanctuaries, etc., shall be immune from assignment for the purposes of agrarian reform.

Title III establishes a farm credit service which may grant credit inter alia for reforestation.


· Regulations by the Secretariat for Agriculture and Forestry of the Federal Executive Council: relative to the economic and technical information in the investment plans for the creation of intensive cultivation of quick-growing trees. 8 April 1960. (Sluzbeni List, No. 17, 27 April 1960, text 233, pp. 356-357)

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