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25 May 2020
In 2018 the New General Law for Sustainable Forest Development (Forest Law) entered into force, introducing new legal definitions with regard to the forestry regulatory framework (for further details please see "New forest regulation aims to improve resource management"). On 13 April 2020 a seemingly small yet quite relevant amendment to the law was published in the Federal Official Gazette, making various adjustments to the legal definitions set out in Article 7 of the law.
The previous definition of 'forestry land' excluded terrain that despite holding the defining traits of forestry land (ie, covered by forest vegetation and producing environmental assets) was located within a 'population centre', as defined under the General Law for Human Settlements, Territory Ordinance and Urban Development. This exception has been removed from the Forestry Law, meaning that any land covered by forest vegetation and producing environmental assets is considered forestry land.
The definition of 'land other than forestry' has been adjusted to cover any land that does not qualify as forestry land (as defined above). The previous definition included the concepts of 'forest vegetation' and 'forest ecosystems'. The amendment will make it simpler to classify land as 'forestry land' or 'land other than forestry'.
The amendment has also introduced additional definitions, including:
Although none of these definitions have direct legal consequences, they lay the legal foundations for future additional regulations relating to the loss of forestry resources and introducing precise technical definitions.
Entities with pending forestry land change procedures based on the previous law's definition of forestry land should pay close attention to the outcome of such procedures and identify any necessary legal actions before they are concluded or once they are resolved, considering that the above exception has not been able to be argued before the environmental authorities since 15 April 2020.
Also, based on these amendments, parties responsible for projects that will require a forestry land change authorisation should pay close attention to other applicable environmental authorisations, such as the federal environmental impact authorisation currently before the Federal Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
Finally, affected parties should keep track of potential changes to the forestry regulation which could introduce additional restrictions, measures and obligations based on the new and adjusted definitions.
For further information on this topic please contact Brenda A Rogel Salgado, Jeanett Trad Nacif, Mario Jorge Yanez or Javier Camacho at Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.
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