While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019

While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019

According to India State of Forest Report 2019, prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), India now has a total of 21.67 per cent of its area under forest and tree cover which is still far from its target of 33 per cent
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While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019The recently launched India State of Forest Report 2019 highlights that maximum progress in increasing the green cover has been made by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala

New Delhi: According to experts, forests play an extremely important role in ensuring ecological balance and existence of life on the earth. However, rampant cutting of trees and thinning of forests has been taking place in the country due to activities related to development and infrastructure building, emphasise the environmental experts. Thus, in a bid to keep up the pace of conservation of forests amidst developmental activities, the Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), started monitoring forest cover in 1987. Under the same initiative, FSI released its biennial assessment report, India State of Forest Report 2019 on Monday (December 30). While talking to NDTV about the findings of the report, a senior official from MoEFCC said,

This was the 16th assessment of forest and trees. In the past two years, the green cover in India has increased substantially and you can say that the size of the area increased is the area of Delhi and Goa put together. This is definitely a good news considering the current global climate concerns.

Also Read: Green Campuses, The Next Big Thing In Rajasthan: Education Minister Mandates Tree Plantation In Colleges By Students

While releasing the report, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that India is among few countries in the world where forest cover is consistently increasing and the increase in forest and tree covers is the result of sustained conservation, protection and afforestation efforts implemented on the ground under the policies of the national government and state government.

 

Also Read: Uttarakhand Plants 3,000 Trees In 2,700 Post Offices In The State, Chief Minister Lends Support

Key Highlights Of India State Of Forest Report 2019

For conducting the assessment, FSI surveyed 5,283 sample points spread across the country. The findings of the assessment done by FSI show that India’s green cover has increased by 5,188 sq km (square kilometre) in the past two years which includes the forest cover of 3,976 sq km and tree cover of 1,212 sq km. This accounts for 0.65 per cent increase from the previous assessment of 8.02 Lakh sq km (8,02,088 sq km). With this, the total forest and tree cover of the country is 8.07 Lakh sq km (8,07,276 sq km) which is 24.56 per cent of the geographical area of the country.

While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019
The total forest and tree cover in India in 2019 was 24.56 per cent of the geographical area of the country

The assessment observed maximum increase in the forest area in Karnataka with a surge of 1025 sq km followed by Andhra Pradesh where a growth of 990 sq km was noted and Kerala which increased its forest cover by 823 sq km.

While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019
States showing an increase in the forest area in 2017-19

The FSI found that India has a mangrove cover of over 4,975 sq km, which is an overall increase of 54 sq km since 2017. The top three states showing an increase in mangrove cover are Gujarat with an increase of 37 sq km, Maharashtra with an increase of 16 sq km and Odisha with an increase of 8 sq km.

However, a decline in the forest and tree cover was recorded in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. In these states, a total decline of 955 sq km was observed in forest cover and a decline of more than 740 sq km was recorded in the tree cover in these states. Responding on the reported loss of the forest area in Northeast, an official of the Department of Forest and Environment, Manipur told NDTV that the forest loss was majorly caused by developmental activities like railways and construction of highways and roads.

While Green Cover In India Has Increased By 0.65%, Existing Forests Are Thinning: India State Of Forest Report 2019
States with the maximum decline in the forest area in 2017-10

The report estimates that 22 per cent of the total forest area (7,12,249 sq km) in the country is prone to fires. The FSI used fire-detection data of the last 13 years to map these areas. The data showed that forests in Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur are extremely prone to fires.

Also Read: Tree Plantation Drive Across Uttar Pradesh: Over 10 Lakh Saplings Planted Across Noida, And Greater Noida

Still A Long Way To Achieve The Target

While referring to the increase in the overall green cover of the country, Vivek Chattopadhyay, Air Pollution expert at the Centre for Science and Environment said,

Even though a progress has been made in increasing the green cover over the past few years, the country is still quite far from achieving its target of 33 per cent of the total geographical area by 2030.

In the response, a senior official of MoEFCC said that the ministry is constantly trying to increase the green cover and has urged the citizens to plant more trees on private lands.

Mr. Chattopadhyay also asserted that increase in green cover will help to deal with dust pollution and will act as green lungs for habitats but there is a need to reduce desertification, such as in Aravali region in the coming years.

Also Read: India’s Forest Cover Increased By One Per Cent In The Last Five Years, Says Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

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