ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title
3. Purposes of this Act
4. Director of Forestry and other Officers
5. Duties of the Director of Forestry
6. Inspection by an officer
7. Barriers across roads
9. Seizure of forest produce and articles
10. Custody of seized forest produce and article
11. Disposal of seized forest produce and article
12. Money from the sale of forest produce or articles, to be paid into Fund
13. Arrest of a person for committing offence
14. Prosecution by officers
FOREST MANAGEMENT BOARD
15. Establishment of the Board
16. Composition of the Board
17. Functions of the Board
18. Meetings of the Board
19. Members of the Board not deemed civil servants
FOREST RESERVES AND PROTECTED FOREST AREAS
21. Purpose of this Part
22. Declaration of forest reserve
23. Acquisition of land for forest reserve
24. Management of forest reserves
25. Co-management of forest reserves
26. Declaration of protected forest areas
27. Management of protected forest areas
28. Revocation of declaration
CUSTOMARY LAND FOREST
29. Purpose of this Part
30. Demarcation of village forest areas
31. Forest management agreement
32. Minister may make rules
33. Approval of by-laws
34. Right to naturally growing trees
35. Purpose of this Part
36. Forest plantation agreement
37. Right to planted forest produce
38. Purpose of this Part
39. Prohibition against fires
40. Declaration of fire protection area
41. Assistance in fire fighting
42. Forest pest and disease control
43. Prohibition of possession or use of weapons, traps, explosives, poisons or hunting animals
44. Prohibition of deposition of litter and waste
UTILIZATION OF FOREST PRODUCE IN FOREST RESERVES AND CUSTOMARY LAND
45. Purpose of this Part
46. Acts under licence
47. Permit for exportation, importation and re-exportation of forest produce
48. Restrictions of exports, imports and re-exports of forest produce
49. Waiver of fees, etc.
50. Forest produce from customary land
51. Suspension of a licence
52. Grounds on which licence may be refused
53. Cancellation of a licence
54. Appeal to the Minister against refusal, suspension or cancellation of a licence
ESTABLISHMENT OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT FUND
55. Establishment of the Fund
56. The Fund to vest in the Minister
57. Advances to the Fund
58. Objects of the Fund
59. Application of the Fund
60. Books and other records of account, audit and reports of the Fund
61. Holdings of the Fund
62. Financial year
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
63. Purpose of this Part
64. Offences relating to forest reserves and protected forest areas
65. Offences relating to fires
66. Offences relating to wildlife
67. Offences relating to forest pests and diseases
68. Offences relating to possession or trafficking of forest produce
69. Offences relating to obstruction of officers
70. Offences relating to official documents or stamps
71. Offences relating to possession or use of weapons, traps, explosives and poisons for hunting animals
72. Offences relating to deposition of litter and waste
73. Offences relating to import, export and re-export of forest produce
74. Additional order upon conviction
75. Authority to compound offences
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN FORESTRY
76. Purpose of this Part
77. Cross-border forest management
78. International fora
79. Cross-border trade in forest produce
80. Implementation of agreements
81. Charcoal licensing
82. Permit for wood using and wood processing industries
83. Utilization of and trafficking in indigenous timber from private land
84. General indemnity
85. Disposal of forest produce from private land
REPEAL AND SAVINGS
87. Repeal and savings
11 of 1997
An Act to provide for participatory forestry, forest management, forestry research, forestry education, forest industries, protection and rehabilitation of environmentally fragile areas and international cooperation in forestry and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith
[22ND DECEMBER 1997]
This Act may be cited as the Forestry Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“Minister” means the Minister for the time being responsible for forestry matters;
“Board” means the Forest Management Board establishment under section 15;
“customary land” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Land Act;
“forest” means an area of land proclaimed to be a forest under this Act or unproclaimed land with trees on it;
“forest management agreement” means an agreement made under section 31;
“forest plantation agreement” means an agreement made under section 36 for establishment and management of forest plantations;
“forest produce” includes trees, timber, firewood, branch wood, poles, bamboos, chips, sawdust, plants, grass, reeds, peat, thatch, bedding, creepers, leaves, moss, fruits, seed, galls, slabs, roots, bark, rubber, gum, resin, sap, flowers, fungi, honey, wax, earth, water, soil, stones, vertebrates, invertebrates, wild animals, hides, horns, bones, ivory, meat and such other produce as the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, declare to be forest produce;
“Fund” means the Forest Development and Management Fund established under section 55;
“highway authority” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Public Roads Act;
“licensing officer” means, in relation to any licence under this Act, an officer not below the rank of Principal Forestry Officer who may be authorized to issue licences;
“livestock” includes cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats;
“management authority” in relation to a village forest area, means a person designated as the management authority pursuant to the agreement establishing the village forest area;
“National Forest Plan” means a plan prepared under section 5;
“officer” means the Director of Forestry and any officer appointed pursuant to section 4;
“private land” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Land Act;
“protected forest area” means an area declared as such under section 26;
“public land” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Land Act;
“river” includes all natural or artificial water courses in which water ordinarily flows or remains either throughout the year or during particular seasons;
“timber” means any tree or part of a tree which has fallen or has been felled and any part of a tree which has been cut and all wood whether sawn, split, hewn, processed or otherwise fashioned;
“tree” means a woody perennial plant having a single well defined stem and a more or less defined crown and includes palm, shrubs, bush, climber, seedling, sapling and reshoots of all ages and of all kinds and any part thereof;
“village forest area” means an area of customary land established as such by an agreement under section 30;
“village natural resources management committee” means a committee elected by stakeholders of the village forest areas.
The purposes of this Act are—
(a) to identify and manage areas of permanent forest cover as protection or production forest in order to maintain environmental stability; to prevent resource degradation and to increase social and economic benefits;
(b) to augment, protect and manage trees and forest on customary land in order to meet basic fuelwood and forest produce needs of local communities and for the conservation of soil and water;
(c) to promote community involvement in the conservation of trees and forests in forest reserves and protected forest areas in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
(d) to empower village natural resources management committees to source financial and technical assistance from the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations and other organizations;
(e) to promote sustainable utilization of timber, fuelwood and other forest produce;
(f) to promote optimal land use practices through agroforestry in smallholder farming systems;
(g) to upgrade the capability of forestry institutions in the implementation of their resource management responsibilities and in development of human resources in forestry;
(h) to control trafficking in wood and other forestry produce including exportation and importation;
(i) to protect fragile areas such as steep slopes, river banks, water catchment and to conserve and enhance biodiversity;
(j) to provide guidelines in planning and implementation of forestry research and forestry education;
(k) to establish a forestry administration; and
(l) to promote bilateral, regional and international cooperation in forest augmentation and conservation.
There shall be appointed in the public service an officer to be designated as the Director of Forestry and other officers subordinate to him, who shall be responsible for the administration of this Act subject to any general and specific directions of the Minister.
The Director of Forestry shall be responsible for—
(a) planning, promoting, conducting and assisting in the activities required to maintain, restore and develop the forest cover necessary for soil and water conservation, maintenance of biological diversity and the supply of forest produce;
(b) conducting and maintaining inventories of the forest resources and preparing both national forestry plans and forestry management plans;
(c) conducting and co-ordinating research into the growth, management, protection and sustainable utilization of forest resources;
(d) promoting participatory forestry;
(e) facilitating the formation of village natural resources management committees and the establishment of rules of village forest areas;
(f) undertaking training programmes for subordinate, technical and professional staff in the Department of Forestry to the highest levels possible;
(g) promoting proper harvesting systems, transportation, marketing and sustainable utilization of forest produce;
(h) encouraging and promoting proper co-ordination of forestry related activities carried out by other organizations;
(i) promoting forest recreation and tourism in forest areas;
(j) exercising the control and the management of forest reserves and protected forest areas in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
(k) promoting the empowerment of local communities in the augmentation, control and management of customary land trees and forests in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
(l) carrying out silvicultural operations or other forest work including operations to prevent pests and diseases, construction of buildings, water works, and roads, erection of power lines, telephone lines and radio masts and any other activities that enhance forest development in any part of a forest reserve or forest plantation;
(m) preparing and updating National Forestry Plans in accordance with the National Forestry Policy;
(n) co-ordinating forestry development and implementing the Forestry Programme of Action in the Southern Africa Development Community region.
Pursuant to the provisions of this Act, and officer may—
(a) demand the production by any person of a licence or other authority for any activity committed by such persons for which such licence or other authority is required by or under this Act;
(b) without a warrant—
(i) stop and inspect any carrier or vehicle which the officer reasonably suspects is carrying any forest produce which has been obtained in contravention of this Act or for which a transportation document is required under this Act;
(ii) center any premises in a forest reserve, any land or premises in which any activity licensed under this Act is conducted, or any village forest area or protected forest area and inspect such premises or land;
(iii) enter upon any land building, tent, carriages, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat or locomotive for ensuring that the provisions of this Act are being complied with, or for the purpose of detecting any offence against this Act; and
(iv) enter any land or premises and inspect silvicultural, forest harvesting and forest produce processing activities and wherever necessary provide advice on proper methods for carrying out such activities.
Any officer may, after consultation with the highway authority, temporarily place a barrier approved by the highway authority across any road in a manner consistent with such road safety standards and specifications as the highway authority shall specify for the purpose of examining or searching any motor vehicle or questioning any person in connexion with the provisions of this Act.
Wherever an officer has reason to believe that any person to have committed an offence under this Act, the officer may search the person or property of such person or property in such person’s possession or control.
(1) Any officer or police officer may seize and detain—
(a) any forest produce which the officer or police officer reasonably suspects has been obtained or removed in contravention of this Act;
(b) any article which the officer or police officer reasonably suspects has been used in committing an offence under this Act.
(2) Any officer or police officer who seizes and detains any forest produce or article under subsection (1) shall issue a seizure certificate.
(3) Any village natural resources management committee may seize and detain any forest produce or article which the village natural resources management committee reasonably suspects has been obtained or removed from the village forest area in contravention of rules made by such village natural resources management committee.
Any forest produce or article seized under section 9 shall be kept safely in the custody of an officer or the village natural resources management committee.
(1) Any forest produce or article in the custody of an officer or the village natural resources management committee under section 10 shall be retained until the case in connexion with which the forest produce or article was seized has been tried and concluded or a decision not to prosecute has been made:
(a) where any person has been tried and found guilty or where a person fails to claim the seized forest produce or article after being acquitted, the forest produce or article shall be disposed of at the discretion of the Director of Forestry;
(b) where a decision has been made not to prosecute, the seized forest produce or article may be returned to the owner;
(c) where any seized forest produce or article is perishable, the Director of Forestry may order the forest produce or article to be sold or disposed of as he sees fit.
(2) Any forest produce or article in the custody of a village natural resources management committee in accordance of section 9 (3) shall be retained until the offence in connexion with which it was seized has been tried and concluded or a decision not to prosecute has been made:
(a) where any person has been tried and found guilty or where a person fails to claim after being acquitted the forest produce or article shall be disposed of at the discretion of the village natural resources management committee according to its rules;
(b) where a decision has been made not to prosecute, the seized forest produce or article may be returned to the owner;
(c) where any seized forest produce or article is perishable, the village natural resources management committee may order the forest produce or article to be sold or disposed of in accordance with its rules.
Wherever the disposal of government seized forest produce or articles is by sale, all monies realized shall be payable into the Fund established under section 55.
(1) Where any person is found committing or is reasonably suspected of having or of being about to commit an offence under this Act, any officer may, without warrant, arrest such person.
(2) Any person arrested pursuant to subsection (1) shall be charged with an appropriate offence before a court of law.
The Director of Public Prosecutions may in writing nominate, by rank, any officer or class of officers of the Department of Forestry to undertake and prosecute criminal proceedings in respect of any offence committed under this Act.
FORESTRY MANAGEMENT BOARD
There is hereby established a Board to be known as the Forestry Management Board.
(1) The Board shall consist of—
(a) the following ex officio members—
(i) the Secretary for Natural Resources or his designated representative;
(ii) the Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development or his designated representative;
(iii) the Secretary for Lands and Valuation or his designated representative;
(iv) the Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development or his designated representative;
(v) the Principal Secretary responsible for District Administration in the Office of the President and Cabinet or his designated representative;
(vi) the Secretary for Energy and Mining or his designated representative;
(vii) the Secretary for Works and Supplies or his designated representative;
(viii) the Secretary for Research and Environmental Affairs or his designated representative;
(ix) the General Manager of National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens or his designated representative;
(x) the General Manager of the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi or his designated representative;
(xi) the Director of Forestry;
(xii) the Director of National Parks and Wildlife;
(xiii) the Director of Fisheries;
(b) and the following members who shall be appointed by the Minister—
(i) one member representing the University of Malawi;
(ii) not less than three and not more than five members representing the general public; and
(iii) a representative of the Timber Association of Malawi.
(2) The Minister shall appoint one of the members to be Chairman of the Board.
(3) A member of the Board appointed under subsection (1) (b), (i), (ii) and (iii) shall hold office for a period of two years unless his appointment be sooner terminated and shall be eligible for re-appointment.
(4) The membership of the Board as first and subsequently appointed and every change in the membership to the Board shall be published in the Gazette.
(5) The office of the Director of Forestry shall provide the Secretariat of the Board.
(6) The office of a member appointed pursuant to subsection (1) (b), (i), (ii) and (iii) shall become vacant—
(a) upon his death;
(b) if he is absent from three consecutive meetings of the Board without the approval of the Chairman or without other valid cause;
(c) upon the expiry of one month’s notice in writing of his intention to resign his office given by the member to the Minister; and
(d) if he is convicted of an offence under the Act.
The functions of the Board shall be to advise the Minister on all matters relating to tree and forest management in Malawi, including in particular but not limited to—
(a) advising on the declaration and revocation of areas which for the purpose of protecting forest species, biotic communities, sites of special interest or aesthetic values, the Board considers should be declared forest reserves or protected forest areas;
(b) advising on the import, export and re-export of tree species specimen into and out of Malawi;
(c) initiating, overseeing and approving environmental impact assessments in forest reserves, protected forest areas and fragile sites.
(1) The Board shall meet not less than twice a year at such places and times as the Chairman may determine.
(2) The Board shall further meet at any time at the request, in writing, of any three of its members.
(3) The Board may, at the discretion of the Chairman, invite any person or persons to attend any meeting of the Board and such person or persons may take part in the proceedings of the meeting but shall not be entitled to vote.
(4) In the absence of the Chairman from any meeting of the Board the members present, if constituting a quorum, shall elect one of their number to preside at the meeting.
(5) One third of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
(6) At all meetings of the Board the decisions shall be reached by a simple majority, and the Chairman or other person presiding shall have, in the event of an equality of votes, a casting vote in addition to his deliberative vote.
(7) The Chairman of the Board shall report to the Board at each meeting thereof the action taken in respect of any matter on which the Board has advised the Minister.
(8) The Board shall determine its own procedure.
A member of the Board, who is not a public officer shall not, by virtue only of his membership to the Board, be deemed to be an officer in the public service.
Members of the Board shall be paid an honorarium determined by the Minister and shall be paid reasonable travelling expenses and subsistence allowance while engaged upon the business of the Board at the rate prescribed by the Minister.
FOREST RESERVES AND PROTECTED FOREST AREAS
The purpose of this Part is to provide for the declaration, conservation and management of forest reserves, protected forest areas and the biodiversity.
The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister responsible for land matters, by order published in the Gazette, declare any public land not already reserved for another public purpose to be a forest reserve.
Any area of land proposed for a forest reserve and which is not public land shall first be acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Land Act and the Land Acquisition Act.
In assuring the protection and management of forest reserves, the Director of Forestry shall prepare management plans as stipulated in section 5.
The Director of Forestry may enter into agreement with local communities for implementation of the management plans that is mutually acceptable to both parties.
(1) Where the Minister finds that the protection of soil and water resources, outstanding flora and fauna requires that any area of land be maintained or established as a forest, the Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, after consultations with the Minister responsible for land matters, the Minister responsible for agriculture, the Minister responsible for Irrigation and Water Development, the owner or occupier and, in case of customary land, the traditional authority, declare such land to be a protected forest area.
(2) Where the Minister considers that land which requires protection as a forest reserve or protected forest area, is liable to serious degradation if not immediately protected, the Minister may declare such land to be a protected forest area for such period not exceeding one year as may be necessary to complete the consultations required by section 22 or subsection (1).
A declaration made under section 26 shall state the measures required for protection of the areas, the assistance to be provided by the Department of Forestry towards accomplishing such measures and the obligations of the owner, occupier or traditional authority to maintain and protect the forest resources of the area.
(1) The Director of Forestry may recommend to the Minister to revoke or modify, by notice published in the Gazette, a declaration of a forest reserve or protected forest area with respect to any land, and the Minister shall first require a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
(2) The Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, amend such order the purpose of which is to delineate or exercise land from a forest reserve or protected forest area subject to advice from the Board.
(3) Any environmental impact assessment made pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1), shall investigate the ecological consequences of proposed resolution of modification and the report of the assessment shall be submitted to the Minister together with the advice of the Director of Forestry within ninety days of completion of the assessment being made.
(4) The Minister shall not decide upon a proposal related to revocation or modification of a forest reserve or protected forest area until the Minister is in receipt of the report referred to in subsection (3).
CUSTOMARY LAND FOREST
The purpose of this Part is to provide for promotion of participatory forestry on customary land through protection, control and management of trees and forests by the people on customary land, the demarcation and management of village forest areas, ownership of indigenous forest trees, establishment of three nurseries and regulation of forest produce.
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, any village headman may, with the advice of the Director of Forestry, demarcate on unallocated customary land a village forest area which shall be protected and managed in the prescribed manner for the benefit of that village community.
(1) For the proper management of village forest areas, the Director of Forestry may enter into a forest management agreement with a management authority providing for—
(a) the specifications of the nature of the forestry and other practices to be followed;
(b) the assistance to be provided by the Department of Forestry and provision for use and disposition of the produce and revenue therefrom.
(c) allocation of land to individuals or families for afforestation and revocation of such allocation if applicable provisions of the agreement are not adhered to by the occupier of the land so allocated;
(d) formation of village natural resources management committees for the purposes of managing and utilizing village forest areas.
(2) Subject to the performance of unfulfilled obligations under a forest management agreement to the right of third parties, a forest management agreement may be terminated by either party.
(3) In the event of any dispute arising under a forest management agreement, the matter shall be referred to the Minister:
Provided that any party aggrieved with the Minister’s decision may apply to the High Court for review of the Minister’s decision.
(4) Any area designated as a village forest area but without the forest management agreement shall be managed in accordance with section 30.
(5) Any educational, religious or interested institutions in consultation with a village headman may demarcate, establish and manage a forest area or woodlot on customary land with the advice of the Director of Forestry subject to the provisions of subsections (1), (2) and (3).
(1) The Minister may make rules which shall apply to all customary land outside forest reserves and protected forest areas.
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may—
(a) provide for the protection of water catchment and fragile areas, rehabilitation of degraded areas and any other activity which would be conducive to good land husbandry;
(b) facilitate the establishment and management of forest by village natural resources management committees for the benefit of local communities;
(c) encourage District Councils, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to contribute towards the provision of forestry extension services, as well as the establishment and management of plantations in accordance with guidelines provided by the Department of Forestry;
(d) provide for the establishment and maintenance of nurseries to provide seedlings for tree planting programmes;
(e) authorize the payment, of grants or bonuses out of public funds for the encouragement of forestry;
(f) provide for the declaration of endangered or essential tree species and their management;
(g) prescribe a mechanism for sharing costs and benefits between the Department of Forestry and village natural resources management committees in regard to forest produce confiscated from customary land forests.
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