On June 14, 2022, the Supreme People’s Court held a press conference to release the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Civil Disputes over Forest Resources and supporting typical cases.This batch of cases reflects the people’s court’s role in adjudicating environmental resources, and it is also a useful exploration and experience summary of the applicable laws for the protection and utilization of forest resources – involving the protection of the Yangtze River shelterbelt, the management of barren hills around the black soil area, forest fire prevention, green finance, etc.. Including this case: China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation(CBCGDF) vs the people’s government of a town in Xinzheng City, Henan Province, the village committee in Xinzheng City and other ecological damage civil public interest lawsuit. Details as follows.
CBCGDF vs the people’s government of a town in Xinzheng City, Henan Province, the village committee of a village in Xinzheng City and other ecological damage civil public interest lawsuit
Basic Information of the Case
The defendant, the People’s Government of a town in Xinzheng City, Henan Province, was approved as a construction unit to build a new community and affiliated school project. Because jujube trees over 100 years old are planted on the collective land of a village occupied by the project, the government of a town organized and coordinated with the relevant personnel of the village committee of a village in Xinzheng in January 2014, and felling and transplanting were not carried out in accordance with the law. In the case of formalities, the jujube trees are transplanted to the Chinese ancient jujube garden in another village within the jurisdiction of the town. The forest public security department determined that a total of 1870 jujube trees were transplanted, involving an area of 198.5 mu. After on-site investigation, only a few jujube trees survived in the moved-in site. CBCGDF filed a civil public interest lawsuit in May 2016, requesting that a town government, a village committee, etc. be ordered to bear responsibility for ecological and environmental infringement.
Result of the Case Judgment
In the first instance, the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhengzhou City, Henan Province held that the town government and the village committee of the village involved in the illegal transplanting of jujube trees, resulting in the death of a large area of the transplanted jujube trees, and should bear the tort liability for destroying the ecology. After consulting experts, based on the results and reports of relevant forest resources inventory, the average forest ecological value per mu of forest land in Henan Province in 2016 was 3,644.15 yuan, including water conservation, soil conservation, carbon fixation and oxygen release, accumulation of nutrients, purification of the environment, conservation of biodiversity, farmland protection, forest recreation and other values. With reference to this data and the specific circumstances of the case, it was determined that the loss of service functions during the period from the damage to the ecological environment of the 198.5 mu jujube forest land to the restoration of the original state was more than 3.61 million yuan. The decision was made: the government of a town and the village committee of a village stopped the illegal transplanting or logging; replanted five times the number of jujube trees that were transplanted to death within ten months after the judgment took effect, and tended and managed for three years; compensation during the period of ecological and environmental service function, the loss was more than 3.61 million yuan; the jujube trees that died from transplanting were displayed on the site where the jujube trees were transplanted, as a base for ecological environmental protection publicity, education and warning; apology was made on the national media, etc.. After the sentence was pronounced, the town government and the village committee of the village appealed. The second instance of the Higher People’s Court of Henan Province clarified that the time for on-site display of the transplanted jujube trees was one year, and the original judgment was upheld.
Typical Meaning of the Case
Xinzheng City, Henan Province involved in this case is the hometown of Chinese jujubes. The illegally transplanted jujube trees are old and carry the memory and nostalgia of the local people. The defendant failed to correctly handle the relationship between protection and development, and between man and nature, and illegally transplanted jujube trees for the construction project, causing large-scale deaths. Based on expert opinions and relevant investigation reports, the people’s court comprehensively considers the scope of forest damage, the difficulty of ecological environment restoration, and the ecological and environmental service functions of damaged forest resources in terms of carbon sequestration and increase in carbon sequestration, biodiversity protection, and soil and water conservation. Reasonable determination of the defendant’s loss of ecological and environmental service functions during the period, and a useful exploration of the rules for the determination of forest ecological and environmental damage. This case fully demonstrates the people’s court’s firm determination to promote higher-quality and more sustainable development, and strive to make green a bright background for high-quality development.
(Information source: Supreme People’s Court of China)
Original Chinese Article:https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/hQECcvlSsIaXaaeA4YTzmA
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