India's forest and tree cover rises 1% since 2015, says report -Mayank Aggarwal

-Livemint.com

India’s forest and tree cover rises by 8,021 sq. km, up 1% since 2015, to 802,088 sq. km, which is about 24.39% of the total geographical area of the country

New Delhi:
India’s forest and tree cover has increased by 8,021 sq. km, up 1% since 2015, to 802,088 sq. km, which is about 24.39% of the total geographical area (GA) of the country, revealed the Union environment ministry on Monday.

Of the total increase of 8,021 sq. km in forest and tree cover, forest cover grew by 6,778 sq. km and tree cover by 1,243 sq. km.

As per the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, which was released by Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan, India’s total forest cover is 708, 273 sq. km (about 21.54% of India’s total GA) and tree cover is 93,815 sq. km (about 2.85% of the total GA).

The increase in total forest cover also includes an increase of 181 sq. km in mangrove cover, taking the total mangrove area in the country to 4,921 sq. km.

In 2015, India’s forest cover was 701,673 sq. km.

The report comes every two years and the 2017 report is the 15th such report. ISFR 2017 is also more comprehensive as it is based on information from 633 districts of the country compared to 589 in 2015.

What is most heartening is that the area under “dense forest, moderately dense forest and open forest is 98,158 sq. km (2.98% of GA), 308,318 sq. km (9.38% of GA) and 301,797 sq. km (9.18% of GA) respectively.”

The increase is good news for India which has a target of having 33% of its GA under forest cover. The report said that 15 states and Union territories have more than 33% of their GA under forest cover.

As per the ISFR 2017, an increase of 754 sq. km of forest cover was witnessed in hill districts, while tribal districts saw an increase of 86.89 sq. km only in the last two years. But sadly, the forest cover in the north-eastern region showed a decline of 630 sq. km.

The report highlighted that about 40% of forest cover is contained in nine large patches, each more than 10,000 sq. km in extent.

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Livemint.com, 13 February, 2018, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/uyLsB1U0sNJmlFFaYljE3H/Indias-forest-and-tree-cover-rises-1-since-2015.html

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