Ground Report | New Delhi: ISFR 2021 Report; India’s forest and tree cover have increased by 2,261 sq km in the last two years with Andhra Pradesh increasing the maximum forest area to 647 sq km, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 released on Thursday.
There has been an increase in the country’s forest cover to 1540 sq km and 721 sq km of tree cover, although there has also been an increase in the concern of loss of forests in mountainous states hit by climate change.
ISFR 2021 Report
According to the Central Forest and Indian Survey of Forest Report (ISFR 2021), the total forest area in the country is 713,789, which is 21.27 percent of the country’s land area, as against the country’s forest area as per the ISFR of 2019 was 712,249 square kilometres.
The survey report about the loss of forests in the states, said the pressure of cultivation due to increase in development activities, the pressure of human activities, and pressure of agriculture, said in the Northeast and other hilly states. Those who suffer the most from climate change are the ones who have suffered the most. At the same time, the temperature is increasing in the Himalayan states as well.
According to the report, the densest forest area of the country has ended in Jammu and Kashmir. The dense forest area in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 was 4,279 sq km, which is 4,155 sq km in 2021. However, with the increase in open forests, the total forest area of Jammu and Kashmir has also increased. In the year 2019, the total forest area of Jammu and Kashmir was 21358 square kilometer while in 2021 it has increased to 21387 square kilometer.
The total forest area of Himachal Pradesh has increased by 9 square kilometer but there has been loss of open and medium dense forest area. In 2019, the moderately dense forest area was 7126 sq km while in 2021 it has been recorded as 7100 sq km with loss. At the same time, in 2019, the open forest in Himachal was 5195 sq km but in 2021, 5180 sq km has been recorded with a loss of 15 sq km.
On the other hand, the Medium Intensified Forest Area (MDF) of Orissa, which ranks among the top five states in terms of total forest area, has suffered the most in the country. The MDF of Odisha was 21,552 sq km in 2019 while it has come down to 20,995 by 557 sq km in 2021.
This forest survey report, coming after a gap of two years, has been released this time during the Covid-era. Union Forest and Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav have released this report on 13 January 2022. He said that in the matter of forests, not only numerical but also qualitative development is being given attention.
The major takeaways from the Report:
- The total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.9 million hectare which is 24.62 percent of the geographical area of the country. As compared to the assessment of 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.
- Increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest. Top three states showing increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km) followed by Telangana (632 sq km) and Odisha (537 sq km).
- Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra. In terms of forest cover as 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%).
- 17 states/UT’s have above 33 percent of the geographical area under forest cover. Out of these states and UT’s, five states/UTs namely Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have more than 75 percent forest cover while 12 states/UTs namely Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Goa, Kerala, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Assam, Odisha, have forest cover between 33 percent to 75 percent.
- Total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km. An increase of 17 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2019. Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Odisha (8 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (4 sq km) and Karnataka (3 sq km).
- Total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes and there an increase of 79.4 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2019. The annual increase in the carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes.
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