India's forest and tree cover has seen significant growth of 2,261 square kilometres in the last two years.
This was reported by the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) in its 2021 report, released by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Thursday, January 13. The report is an assessment of the country's forest resources.
The country's total forest and tree cover is now spread across 80.9 million hectares, which is 24.62 percent of the geographical area, Business Today reported.
Significant Increase From 2019
Compared to 2019, the country had seen a rise of 1,540 sq. km of forest and 721 sq km of tree cover.
The union minister said it was heartening to see the growth in the environment sector and touches on critical aspects in the climate change matter.
Yadav informed that the ministry had initiated measures to enter the second phase of its Green Mission and increase forest conservation.
"To achieve India's aim of increasing additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent by 2030, Nagar Van Yojna has been introduced to increase the tree cover and joined with the second phase of Green Mission in the next five years," BT quoted the minister as saying.
Conduct Plantation Drives
The minister stressed the need for afforestation and urged the citizens and private sector to carry out plantation drives and reduce their carbon footprint.
To encourage plantation, the ministry has also set up a consultation process under the Forest Conservation Act and had received over 5,000 suggestions from people regarding the maintenance and quality of the trees.
States That Topped The List
Among states, Andhra Pradesh led the way, with the maximum land having a tree canopy density of 10 per cent and above (647 sq km). Telangana stood in second place with 632 sq km, followed by Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km), and Jharkhand (110 sq km).
Area-wise, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra have the largest forest cover, BT reported.
Decrease In Northeastern States
The northeastern states saw a decrease in forest cover to the extent of 1,020 sq km. Arunachal Pradesh lost the maximum forest cover ( 257 sq km), while Manipur had the second highest with 249 sq km. Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya lost 235 sq km, 186 sq km and 73 sq km, respectively.