The Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee discussed the Draft Forest Code with the I reading
The Committee discussed the Draft Forest Code and ten accompanying Bills.
“The Forest Code, adopted by the current Parliament, is the first Code developed based on the sustainable forest management principles and envisaging minimized pressure on the forest, more eco-services – timber or non-timber, and maintenance of the forest quality for the future generations”, - one of the initiators and reporters, Maia Bitadze stated at the sitting.
According to her, the changes concern 16 main directions and specification of the terms. An essential change also concerns the basis of termination of the forest status, which will be possible in case of the use of the forest for the resort-recreation purpose solely. The Draft specifies that the simple administrative proceeding rule can be applied in case of the removal of the lineal and infrastructural buildings and correction of the forest boundaries.
As the Chair of the Committee noted, the forest registration will serve as a basis for raising the issue of correction to the Government by the National Forest Agency.
The Draft also envisages the change concerning the number of the inspectors in the Forest Fund and engagement of the rangers in forest control with the right to impose the administrative reprimand.
The changes envisage also the use of the non-timber resources, use of the forest for the arrangement of the temporary bee-hives and the integration of the license for fishing and hunting economies. There as well are the important changes being developed for years and concerning the illegally obtained and stored timber resources being the evidence for the investigation. The disposal of the evidence shall be possible in the case if the person is not recognized guilty.
“Funds obtained as a result of the disposal of hereof resources by the Forest Fund administrative body shall be refunded to the person if he/she is not proved guilty. It is a very important issue, especially for the rural population and the Forest Agency as the sanitary state of the forest is aggravated by the stored timber resources”, - M. Bitadze noted.
The Draft includes the changes envisaging the registration of the lands under lawful ownership. The Forest Fund shall be engaged in this process.