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How to expand India’s forest cover

  • Published
    11th Feb, 2022
Context

Recently Forest Survey of India (FSI) published India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021.

About

About India State of Forest Report (ISFR):

  • India State of Forest Report (ISFR) is a biennial survey of India’s forests and tree resources.
  • The First India State of Forest Report was published in 1987.
  • The India State of Forest Report is prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which has been mandated to assess the forest and tree resources of the country.
  • India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 is the 17th ISFR published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).

Major Findings of ISFR 2021:

  • Increase in total Forest and Tree Cover: As compared to the assessment of 2019 (ISFR-2019), there is an increase of 2,261 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
  • Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 1,540 sq km and that in tree cover is 721 sq km.
  • The total forest cover of the country is 21.71% of the geographical area; the tree cover is estimated at 2.91% of the geographical area. Thus, the total forest and tree cover comes to 24.62% of the geographical area of the country.
  • Increase in forest cover (Top States): Increase in forest cover has been observed in the open forest followed by very dense forests. As per ISFR-2021, the top three states showing an increase in forest cover are:
  • Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km)
  • Telangana (632 sq km)
  • Odisha (537 sq km)
  • Area-wise Forest Cover: ISFR 2021 reports that area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
  • Percentage-wise Forest Cover: In terms of forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are:
  • Mizoram (84.53%),
  • Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%),
  • Meghalaya (76.00%),
  • Manipur (74.34%) and
  • Nagaland (73.90%).
  • Loss of forest cover: The northeast reported the biggest overall loss of forest cover at 1,020 sq km. Though the area has 23.75% of total forest cover, states have lost their cover:
  • Mizoram (1.03%)
  • Arunachal Pradesh (0.39%)
  • Manipur (1.48 %)
  • Meghalaya (0.43%)
  • Nagaland (1.88%)

This decline caused by natural calamities, shifting agriculture and deforestation will affect the region’s water resources and will have an increased effect on landslides.

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