The Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 on February 12, 2018 in New Delhi.
The report reveals that the total forest and tree cover in India has seen an increase of over 8,000 square kilometres, which is one percent increase from 2015. Speaking on the occasion, the Environment Minister pointed out that India is among the top 10 countries of the world, both in terms of total forest area and the growth in the forest area.
Report: Key Highlights
• There is an increase of 8, 021 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015.
• The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1, 243 sq km.
• The total forest and tree cover is 24.39 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
• Much of the increase in the forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest (VDF). These forests absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
• Three states - Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km) have shown a significant increase in forest cover due to successful agro forestry practices, increase in mangrove cover, better conservation and protection practices.
• Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km).
• In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33 per cent) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (81.73 per cent).
• The study also reveals that 15 states/UT’s have more than 33 per cent of their geographical area under forest cover.
• Among these, seven states. UTs including Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur have more than 75 per cent forest cover.
• Eight other states including Tripura, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Assam have forest cover between 33 per cent and 75 per cent.
• About 40 per cent of the country’s forest cover is present in 9 large contiguous patches of the size of 10, 000 sq.km or more.
• According to the study, the total mangrove cover stands at 4,921 sq km and has shown an increase of 181 sq km.
• All the 12 mangrove states have shown a positive change in the mangrove cover, as compared to the last assessment.
• Further, the extent of the bamboo-bearing area in the country has been estimated at 15.69 million hectare, showing an increase of 1.73 million hectare since the last assessment in 2011.
About India State of Forest Report 2017
• The report is the 15th such report in the series.
• It contains information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock inside and outside the forest areas, carbon stock in India’s forests and forest cover in different patch size classes.
• It also contains special thematic information on forest cover such as the hill, tribal districts and the north eastern region.
• It also for the first time contains information on the decadal change in water bodies in the forest during 2005-2015, forest fire, production of timber from outside forest, state wise carbon stock in different forest types and density classes.
• The information given in the report will serve as an important tool to monitor the country’s forest resources and plan suitable scientific and policy interventions for its management.
• It will also serve as a useful source of information for the policy makers, planners, State Forest Departments, line agencies involved in various developmental works, academicians, civil society and others interested in natural resource conservation and management.