On 5 June 2018 the General Sustainable Forestry Law (the "Forestry Law") was published in the Official Federal Gazette, abrogating the one with the same name that had been published in 2003.
Due to a more precise definition of "forestry land" contained in this new law, many projects in Mexico will no longer need to secure a forestry land use change approval or an environmental-forestry impact authorization.
The Forestry Law states that forest land is "the one covered by forest vegetation, producing forestry goods and services. For purposes of this Law, land located within the limits of population centers, in the terms of the General Law on Human Settlements, Territorial Ordainment and Urban Development (the Human Settlements Law"), will not be considered forestry land, with the exception of natural protected land."
To determine if a property is located within a forestry land, it will be necessary to verify first if it is located within a population center and, if need be, a natural protected land. In this regard, the Human Settlements Law states that "population centers" are "areas comprised of urbanized zones and those reserved for their expansion".
To define urban zones, each municipality has the authority to prepare, approve, manage and execute population center programs or plans, following a series of guidelines established by the Human Settlements Law. If a work, project or activity is carried out within a population center, it will become exempt from having to secure a forestry land use change approval.
How can we help?
At Baker McKenzie we have the expertise to determine if a project site is located within forestry land or within a population center. We are positioned to provide you a high-value service that will allow you to obtain legal certainty in this and other issues.