President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday cleared an ordinance amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927, under which bamboo in non-forest areas will not be defined as a tree anymore, PTI reported. Bamboo – taxonomically a grass – grown in forested areas would still be under the law’s ambit.

With this policy shift, the government hopes to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of raising the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country, Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Since it was classified as a tree, bamboo could not be easily ferried across state borders earlier. Village councils were required to give permits for bamboo cultivation and it could not be cultivated in non-forest areas, The Hindu reported.

Though 19% of the area under bamboo cultivation is in India, its market share is a mere 6%, the Environment Ministry said in a statement.