India’s Forest Cover Increased By 5188 Sq Km In Past Two Years: State Forest Report
Image Credit: NDTV, Jagran Josh

India’s Forest Cover Increased By 5188 Sq Km In Past Two Years: State Forest Report

The forest cover in all categories including Very Dense Forest, Moderately Dense Forest and Open Forests have increased since the last survey conducted in 2017, according to the India State of Forest Report, 2019

The report released by Union Minister for Environment, Prakash Javadekar on Monday states that there has been an increase of 5,188 sq km in total forest and tree cover in the country. The increase in the forest cover is 3,976 sq km, and that of tree cover has been 1,212 sq km since 2017, he added.

Javadekar said that India was among the top ten countries in the world to maintain and increase its forest and tree cover.

The report also assessed the qualitative nature of the forest cover, listing its biodiversity and the type of plants and trees found. It also created a national forest inventory on forest produce, drawn up estimates of the population dependent on forests and forest produce, listed wetlands and assessed forest carbon stock.

“This is very encouraging for us as it means that we are on the right track to achieve our Paris Agreement commitment of 2.5 -3 billion carbon sinks. The top five states to have shown an increase in forest cover include Karnataka (1,025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km), J&K (371 sq km) and Himachal Pradesh (334 sq km),” Javadekar said.

As per the report, the forest cover within the Recorded Forest Area/ Green Wash (RFA/GW) has witnessed a decline of 330 sq km (0.05 per cent) whereas forest cover outside the RFA/GW has increased to 4,306 sq km as compared to 2017.

The total forest cover in the tribal districts is 4,22,351 sq km, which is 37.54 per cent of the geographical area of these districts. However, the current report shows a decrease of 741 sq km of forest cover within the RFA/GW in the tribal districts and an increase of 1,922 sq km outside.

Total forest cover in the North-Eastern region is 1,70,541 sq km, which is 65.05 per cent of its geographical area. The current report shows a decrease in forest cover of 765 sq km (0.45 per cent) in the region. Except for Assam and Tripura, all the states in the Northeast show a decrease in forest cover.

The total Mangrove cover in the country has also increased by 54 sq km (1.10 per cent) as compared to the previous survey.

“There has been a slight decrease in RFA as well as in the North-East states – but this is where jhum cultivation is conducted. As far as the northeast is concerned, you have to remember that over 60 per cent of the region is covered in forest, so this decrease is marginal. Tree cover meanwhile has been increasing.”

Javdekar added that Maharashtra witnessed the highest increase in tree cover mostly due to horticulture. Every year a crore of new saplings are planted – of mangoes, pomegranates and other fruits. So in 18 years, the cover has increased by 18 crore trees. Even water paucity states like Rajasthan have shown a healthy increase in tree cover,’’ Javadekar said.

DG Forest Siddhanth Das said that the Ministry has decided to open 19 additional regional centres along with four regional centres of the FSI.

“Work for that is underway. While we have 2.4 per cent of the total global landmass, we have 17 per cent of its population and high numbers of cattle – all of whom are dependent on forests and forest produce. Despite this the forest cover has increased,” Das said.

Also Read: “Why The Fuss?” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar On Razing Trees For PM’s Rally

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Editor : The Logical Indian

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