Forests Act, 2015
Act 4 of 2015
- Assented to on 14 August 2015
- Commenced on 14 August 2015
- [This is the version of this document from 14 August 2015.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Forests Act, 2015.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"authorised officer" means a forest officer, a law enforcement officer or an honorary forest officer;"biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part, and diversity within species, among species, and of ecosystems;"botanical reserve" means an area declared as such under section twenty-four;"Chief" means a person recognised as such under the Chiefs Act;[Cap. 287]"citizen" means—(a)an individual who is a citizen of Zambia; or(b)an incorporated or unincorporated body of persons or a company which is composed exclusively of persons who are citizens of Zambia;"community forest" means a forest controlled, used and managed under an agreement between a community forest management group and the Department;"community forest management group" means a group of persons recognised by a Chief and local authority under section twenty-nine, which communally controls, uses and manages a forest in the area of the Chief and the local authority;"community resource board" has the meaning assigned to it in the Zambia Wildlife Act, 1998;[Act No. 12 of 1998]"concession licence" means a concession licence issued under section fifty-two;"convert" means to carry out the process of converting wood into any kind of product, and"conversion" shall be construed accordingly;"coupe" means any site or area for the cutting, felling or taking of forest produce, whether the boundaries of the area are demarcated on the ground or not;"court" means a subordinate court or the High Court;"customary area" has the meaning assigned to it in section two of the Lands Act;[Cap. 184]"demarcated forest" means a National Forest, Local Forest, joint forest management area, community forest or private forest;"Department" means the Forestry Department in the Ministry responsible for natural resources;"Director" means the Director of Forestry appointed under section four;"domestic animal" includes a horse, donkey, mule, camel, cow, sheep, pig, goat and domestic fowl;"ecosystem" means a living functional system which contains all organisms including human beings, their environment and the relationship that exists between them;"firewood" means all woody parts of a tree which cannot be converted into timber or poles but can be cut into short lengths for use as wood fuel;"flora" means all plants and parts of the plants in a particular area;"forest" means any land with a tree canopy cover of more than ten percent and area of more than zero point five hectares and includes young stands that have not yet reached, but are expected to reach, a crown density of ten percent and tree height of five metres that are temporarily under stocked areas;"forest area" means a National Forest, Local Forest, botanical reserve, plantation, private forest, community forest, joint forest management area and open areas;"forest management plan" means a management plan for a forest area prepared pursuant to section forty;"forest officer" means a person appointed as such under section four;"forest produce" includes algae, bamboos, bark, bedding, bees, honey, beeswax, boards, branchwood, carbon, canes, charcoal, chips, climbers, cones, coppice, creepers, fibres, flowers, fruits, fuelwood, fungi, gills, grass, gums, hives, lichens, litter, logs, moss, nursery plants, peat, planks, plant, poles, reeds, resin, roots, rubber, rushes, sand, sap, sawdust, scantlings, seeds, seedlings, slabs, soil, stumps, timber, thatch, thinnings, trees, vegetable-derived oils, vegetable derived tar and wood spirits;"forest resources" means vegetation, wood and non-wood products and forest ecological services, including the maintenance of soil quality, control of erosion, provision of organic materials and modulating climate;"Fund" means the Forest Development Fund established under section seventy;"game management area" means an area of land declared as such under the Zambia Wildlife Act, 2015;[Act No. 14 of 2015]"honorary forest officer" means a person appointed as such under section six;"indigenous forest" means any forest which naturally grows or regenerates in a particular area;"joint forest management" means the participation of stakeholders in the sustainable management of forest resources and the sharing of benefits derived from the management of the forest resources;"joint forest management area" means an area declared as such under section thirty-six;"joint forest management committee" means a committee constituted under section thirty-seven;"law enforcement officer" means a police officer, wildlife police officer, an officer of the Zambia Environmental ManagementAgency, theAnti Corruption Commission or the Drug Enforcement Commission;"licence" means a licence issued under this Act, and "licensee" shall be construed accordingly;"local authority" means a city, municipal or district council established under the Local Government Act;[Cap. 281]"local community" means the residents within or adjacent to a Local Forest, joint forest management area or open area who, by virtue of their rights over land, including customary land tenure, invest in and derive benefits from the sustainable utilisation of forest resources in their areas;"Local Forest" means an area declared as a Local Forest under section seventeen;"major forest produce" means a tree, part of a tree or derivative product such as timber, charcoal and carbon, other than leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds;"minor forest produce" means non-wood forest produce which is part of a tree or found in the forest;"National Forest" means an area declared as a National Forest under section ten;"national monument" means an area declared as a national monument under the National Heritage and Conservation Commission Act;[Cap. 173]"National Park" means an area declared as a National Park under the Zambia Wildlife Act, 2015;[Act No. 14 of 2015]"open area" means an area outside a Local Forest, National Forest, National Park, game management area and national monument;"permit" means a permit issued under this Act;"plantation" means a forest stand of introduced or indigenous species created by planting or seeding in the process of afforestation or reforestation;"precautionary principle" means the principle that lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason to postpone measures to prevent environmental degradation, or possible environmental degradation, where there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage because of the threat;"pole" means all sound and reasonably straight parts of a tree which are one point two metres or longer and which are not more than thirty centimetres or less than five centimetres in maximum diameter over bark, unless otherwise specified on any licence;"private forest" means any land or plantation registered as a private forest under section twenty-six;"protected flora" means any kind or category of flora declared to be protected under section forty-seven;"public road" has the meaning assigned to it in the Public Roads Act, 2002;[Act No. 12 of 2002]"rail reserve" means an area of land approved for the construction of a railway under the Railways Act;[Cap. 453]"regulatory authority" means a person or body, except a professional body, which by law is empowered to regulate an activity under that law, and includes a Minister;"repealed Act" means the Forests Act, 1999;[Act No. 7 of 1999]"Register" means the Register of Licences and Permits established under section sixty-five;"river" includes a lake, stream, canal and any other channel, whether natural or artificial;"saw" includes a hand tool with a toothed blade or any power driven device with a rotating disk or moving band used for cutting wood;"sawmill" means a factory where wood is processed mechanically into planks or boards using a saw;"single-licensing system" has the meaning assigned to it in the Business Licensing RegulatoryAct, 2014;[Act No. 3 of 2014]"stakeholder" means a person or group of persons with interest in the utilisation and management of forests;"State Land" means all land in Zambia, other than customary areas, National Forests, Local Forests and land under leasehold tenure vested in any person;"timber" means the part of any felled or fallen tree which has been cut off or can be cut off to provide wood whether sawn, split, hewn, sliced, veneered or otherwise fashioned, which is sound and reasonably straight, and which is one point two metres or longer and thirty centimetres or more in minimum diameter under bark;"trees" includes bushes, climbers, coppice, palms, re-shoots, saplings, seedlings and shrubs of all ages and of all kinds and any part thereof;"woodlot" means a forest of introduced or indigenous species, measuring up to ten hectares, established by planting or seeding in the process of afforestation or reforestation; and"Zambia Environmental Management Agency" means the Zambia Environmental Management Agency established under the Environmental Management Act, 2011.[Act No. 12 of 2011]
3. Ownership of trees and forest produceThe ownership of all trees standing on, and all forest produce derived from, customary areas, National Forests, Local Forests, State Land, botanical reserves and open areas is vested in the President, on behalf of the Republic, until lawfully transferred or assigned under this Act or any other written law.
Part II – Forestry Department
4. Director of Forestry and other staff
5. Functions of Department
6. Honorary forest officers
7. ImmunityAn action shall not lie against a forest officer or an honorary forest officer in respect of any act done by the forest officer or honorary forest officer in good faith and without negligence in the execution of the powers vested in them under this Act.
8. General principles of forest development and managementThe Minister, Director or persons to whom the Minister or Director has delegated any powers and functions under this Act, shall, in implementing thisAct, have regard to—
9. Criteria for determination of sustainable forest management
Part III – Forest management and development
10. Establishment of National Forest
11. Acquisition of land for National ForestThe President may, on the recommendation of the Minister, compulsorily acquire under the Lands Acquisition Act any land for the purposes of a National Forest as may be necessary or desirable in the public interest.[Cap. 189]
12. Purpose of National ForestSubject to the other provisions of thisAct, all land comprised in a National Forest shall be used for—
13. Rights in National Forest
14. Control and management of National ForestsSubject to the other provisions of this Act, the Director shall be responsible for the control and management of National Forests.
15. Grant of right or interest in National Forest
16. Restrictions in National Forest
17. Establishment of Local Forest
18. Acquisition of land for Local ForestThe President may compulsorily acquire under the Lands Acquisition Act any land for the purposes of a Local Forest as may be considered necessary or desirable in the public interest.
19. Purpose of Local ForestSubject to the other provisions of this Act and any other written law, all land comprised in a Local Forest shall be used for the conservation and development of forests for—
20. Rights in Local ForestSection thirteen shall apply to a Local Forest.
21. Control and management of Local Forest
22. Grant of right or interest in Local ForestSection fifteen shall apply to a Local Forest.
23. Restrictions in Local Forest
24. Establishment of botanical reserve
25. Prohibition of certain activities in botanical reserve
26. Registration of private forest
27. Entitlement of owner of registered private forest
28. Deregistration of private forest
Community forest management
29. Community forest management group
30. Recognition of group
31. Community forestry agreements
32. Rights and obligations of local community under community forestry agreement
33. Assignment of rights under community forestry agreement
34. Termination of community forestry agreement
35. Register of community forestry agreementsThe Director shall keep or cause to be kept a register of all community forestry agreements entered into under this Part.
Joint forest management
36. Declaration of joint forest management area
37. Joint forest management committee
38. Functions of joint forest management committee
39. Benefit sharing and financial provisions regarding joint forest management committees
Part IV – Forest management plans and conservation orders
40. Preparation of forest management plans
41. National and local inquiriesThe Director shall, for the purpose of preparing a forest management plan under this Part, conduct national and local inquiries on the management plan and its implementation as may be necessary to obtain representation from a local community, Chief and any other stakeholder in the prescribed manner.
42. Consultation with holders of rights, title or interest in forest areas
43. Publication of forest management plan
44. Registration of forest management plan
45. Conservation orders
46. Apportioning costs due on conservation order
Part V – Protected flora
47. Declaration of protected flora
48. Recovery plans for protected flora
Part VI – Regulation of forest produce
49. Purpose of conserving trees on State Land and customary areas
50. Control and management of major forest produce on State Land and customary areas
51. Sale of forest produceSubject to the provisions of this Act and to the general or special directions of the Minister, the Director may offer forest produce for sale and sell forest produce by auction, tender or estimate at such places and in such a manner as the Minister may prescribe by statutory instrument.
54. Integrated decision-making process and single licensing system
55. Terms and conditions of licences and permits
56. Limitations of licences and permits
57. Obligations of licensee and permit holder
58. Removal of forest produce from forest areaA person shall not remove from a forest area any forest produce cut or taken under a licence or permit until—
59. Variation of licence or permit
60. Surrender of licence or permit
61. Transfer of licence or permitA licence or permit or any rights conferred under the licence or permit shall not be transferred or assigned by the licensee or permit holder to any other person.
62. Suspension or cancellation of licence or permit
63. Renewal of licence or permit
64. Regulations on import and export of forest produceThe Minister may, on the advice of the Director and in consultation with the Minister responsible for trade and industry, by statutory instrument, regulate the import or export of any forest produce and such regulations may incorporate the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna.
65. Register of licences and permits
Part VII – Marking of timber
66. Licence for manufacture and use of timber marking hammer or instrument
67. Prohibition of use of Department’s or other licensee’s timber marking hammer or instrument
68. Alteration and obliteration of marks on timber or tree stumpsA marking made on any timber or tree stump by a timber marking hammer or other instrument shall not be altered, defaced, obliterated or removed without the consent of the owner of the tree stump or timber and the consent of a forest officer.
69. Marking of timber for exportAll timber being exported shall be hammer marked in such manner as the Director may determine.
Part VIII – The Forest Development Fund
70. Establishment of Fund
71. Administration and management of FundThe Fund shall be vested in the Minister responsible for finance and shall be managed and administered by the Department.
72. Auditing of FundThe Fund shall be audited every year by the Auditor-General.
73. Statement of income and expenditureThe Minister shall cause to be prepared an annual audited statement of income and expenditure with respect to the Fund which shall be laid by the Minister before the National Assembly.
Part IX – Enforcement
74. Powers of authorised officer
75. Power to carry out tests and take statistics
76. Arrest without warrant
77. Obstruction of authorised officerA person who—
78. Demanding production of licence or permitAn authorised officer may demand from any person engaged in doing or causing to be done anything for which a licence or permit is required under thisAct to produce the licence or permit, and if that person fails to produce the licence or permit, restrain that person and the employees and agents of that person from doing such thing until the licence or permit is produced.
79. Prevention of offences
80. Search with warrant
81. Prosecution by officers
82. Seizure of propertyWhere there is reason to believe that an offence has been committed, any major forest produce felled, cut, collected or removed contrary to the provisions of this Act and any tools, instruments, plants, machinery, equipment, vehicles and other property suspected of having been used in the commission of the offence may be seized by an authorised officer and detained until an order of the court is made regarding the disposal thereof.
83. Forfeiture and restoration of property
84. Assistance in extinguishing fire
Part X – Offences and penalties
85. Offences by authorised officersAn authorised officer who willfully or negligently permits the removal of unmarked produce from a coupe commits an offence.
86. Prohibition of removal, felling, cutting, collecting, etc. of major forest produce without licence or permit
87. Restrictions on manufacture of charcoal
88. Destruction of major forest produceA person who willfully destroys major forest produce commits an offence.
89. Illegal possession of forest produceA person who knowingly receives or is in possession of any forest produce in respect of which an offence has been committed commits an offence.
90. Import of forest produceA person who imports or attempts to import any forest produce without an import permit issued under this Act commits an offence.
91. Export of forest produceA person who exports or attempts to export any forest produce without an export permit issued under this Act commits an offence.
92. Mixing of marked forest produce with unmarked forest produceA person who willfully mixes forest produce marked by the Department with unmarked forest produce contrary to the provisions of this Act commits an offence.
93. Defacing of mark on forest produceA person who, without being authorised under this Act to do so, alters, defaces, obliterates or removes any stamp, mark or sign placed upon forest produce or upon a tree stump by a forest officer commits an offence.
94. Removal, damage, etc, of boundary markA person who, without being authorised under this Act to do so, removes, damages or defaces any boundary mark, beacon, notice, fence or gate posted or erected by or on the authority of a forest officer commits an offence.
95. Illegal fixing of Departmental mark
96. Failure to assist with extinguishing fire in forest area, etcA person who, being liable under section eighty-four to render assistance in the case of a fire, accident or other danger in a forest area, refuses or fails to do so without reasonable excuse when called upon by an authorised officer commits an offence.
97. Malicious damage to infrastructure in forest areaSubject to any other written law, a person who intentionally damages any plant, machinery, equipment, road, track, tramway, bridge, water installation, power line, telephone line, drain or other infrastructure in a forest area commits an offence.
98. Unauthorised possession or use of uniform or identity of authorised officerA person who, without authority, wears or is in possession of any uniform or part of a uniform or any badge, mark or identity document issued by or on behalf of the Director to be worn or possessed by an authorised officer commits an offence.
99. General penaltyA person who commits an offence under thisAct for which a penalty is not provided is liable, upon conviction—
100. Payment of fine without appearing in court
101. Additional powers of court
102. Civil remedy reserved
103. EvidenceWhere in any proceedings under this Act the question arises whether any forest produce is the property of the Republic, it shall be presumed to be the property of the Republic unless the contrary is proved.
104. ExhibitsWhere in any proceedings under this Act it becomes necessary for an authorised officer to produce in evidence any forest produce and, in the opinion of that authorised officer, production of the whole of the forest produce would be impracticable or involve unnecessary expense or undue delay, it shall be sufficient for the authorised officer to produce in the court any piece or sample of the forest produce.
Part XI – General provisions
106. Repeal of Act No. 7 of 1999The Forests Act, 1999, is repealed.
107. Savings and transitional provisions
History of this document
14 August 2015 this version
|Forest (Carbon Stock Management) Regulations, 2021||Statutory Instrument 66 of 2021|
|Forest Reserve No. 4: Maposa (Cessation) Order, 2021||Statutory Instrument 1 of 2021|
|Kasama National Forest No. P. 47: (Alteration of Boundaries) Order, 2021||Statutory Instrument 2 of 2021|
|Local Forest No. P. 320: Mpande Hills (Alteration of Boundaries) Order, 2020||Statutory Instrument 12 of 2020|
|National Forest No. F.12: Luano (Alteration of Boundaries) Order, 2020||Statutory Instrument 13 of 2020|
|National Forest No. F31: Kabwe (Alteration of Boundaries) Order, 2021||Statutory Instrument 3 of 2021|