Forest cover in NE states reduced by 1,020 sq km — ISFR report
New Delhi, Jan. 13 (PTI): India’s forest and tree cover has risen by 2,261 square km in the last two years with Andhra Pradesh growing the maximum forest cover of 647 square km, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 released on Thursday.
The biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), an assessment of the country’s forest resources, was released by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
He revealed that the total tree-and-forest cover in the country includes an increase of 1,540 square kilometres of forest cover and 721 sq km of tree cover compared to the 2019 report.
According to the report, India’s total forest and tree cover is now spread across 80.9 million hectares, which is 24.62 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
The top five states in terms of increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km), Telangana (632 sq km), Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km) and Jharkhand (110 sq km).
The gain in forest cover or improvement in forest canopy density may be attributed to better conservation measures, protection, afforestation activities, tree plantation drives and agroforestry, the report said.
Area-wise, Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
The report also added that the north-east did not show positive results as the current assessment showed a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 1,020 sq km in the region.
Arunachal Pradesh lost the maximum forest cover of 257 sq km, followed by Manipur which lost 249 sq km, Nagaland 235 sq km, Mizoram 186 sq km and Meghalaya 73 sq km.
The report said 17 states/UTs have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover.
Out of these states and UTs, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have more than 75 per cent forest cover, while 12 states/UTs (Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Goa, Kerala, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Assam, Odisha) have forest cover between 33 per cent to 75 per cent.
The report also said in total 140 hill districts of the country, the forest cover reduced by 902 sq km in the last two years. In the 2019 report, the forest cover in the hill regions had increased by 544 sq km.