Forest Survey of India (FSI) an organisation under the ministry of Environment and Forest prepares report on the state of India’s forest, providing the detailed information about National, State and District wise forest cover assessment. The report is being prepared biennially since 1987; this is the 14th report in the regular series of publication.
This biennial report also brings changes in the forest cover in respect to previous assessment under different canopy classes, estimates of growing stock at national and state level. The forest cover of the country is mapped through indigenously built RESOURCESAT – 2 satellite using a LISS III sensor. The satellite data interpretation is followed by extensive and rigorous ground truthing.
Various Key Terms:
Canopy and Canopy Density
The branches cover and foliage formed by the crown of trees is called Canopy. The percentage area of land covered by the canopy of trees is called Canopy Density.
Recorded Forest Area and Forest Blank
The region recorded as ‘forest’ in the Government document/report (Legal Forest) is called Forest Area or Recorded Forest Area. The empty spaces or the patches within the forest area with little or no trees are called Forest Blank.
All the land area more than one (1) hectare and with canopy density of more than 10% (both under the government and private) is called Forest Cover.
Types of Forest Cover:
Scrubs: The degraded forest land with canopy density of less than 10% is called scrubs.
Open Forest: The lands with canopy density of 10-40% are called open forest.
Moderately Dense Forest (MDF): The lands with canopy density of 40- 70% are called MDF.
Very dense Forest (VDF): The lands with canopy density of 70% and above are called VDF.
Carbon Sink: It is defined as the carbon stored in the ecosystem of the forest especially in living biomass and soil.
Based on interpretation of satellite data (October 2013- 1014) and the inventory of forests and TOF carried out by FSI during 2008-2014, the key results of India State of Forest Report 2015 are as follows:
• Total forest cover in India: 7,01,673 sq km (increase of 3775 sqkm)
• Total forest cover as percentage of geographical area: 21.34 per cent
• Total tree cover in India: 92,572 sq km (increase of 1306 sq km)
• Total tree cover as percentage of geographical area: 2.82 per cent
• State with largest total forest cover: Madhya Pradesh having 77, 462 sq km
• State having highest forest cover as % of its area: Mizoram (88.93 per cent)
• Increase in carbon sink:103 million tonnes CO2 equivalent.
Based on the observations received, top five states with maximum forest cover are as follows:
• Madhya Pradesh (77,462)
• Arunachal Pradesh (67,248)
• Chhattisgarh (55,586)
• Maharashtra (50,628)
• Orissa (50,354)
Based on the observations received, top five states with maximum forest cover as part of their area are as follows:
• Mizoram (88.93%)
• Lakshadweep (84.56%)
• A&N islands (81.84%)
• Arunachal Pradesh (80.30%)
• Nagaland (78.21%)
Based on the observations of the State of Forest Report 2015, it is found that the majority of the increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest category mainly outside forest areas, followed by Very Dense Forest. The increase in total forest cover also includes an increase in the mangrove forest cover.
Further in world’s total mangrove vegetation, India’s share stands at 3%. Currently Mangrove cover in India is 4740 km² which is 0.14 % of the country’s geographical area. Sundarbans in West Bengal accounts for almost half of the total area. As compared to 2013 there is a net increase of 112 sq km in the mangrove cover.
Top five states with maximum Mangrove cover are as follows:
• West Bengal (2106 km2)
• Gujarat (1107 km2)
• Andaman & Nicobar Island (617 km2)
• Andhra Pradesh (367 km2)
• Odisha (231 km2)