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India’s forest, tree cover increase to 2,261 sq km

The ISFR-2021 provides information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock, carbon stock in India’s forests, forest fire monitoring, forest cover in tiger reserve areas, above ground estimates of biomass using SAR data and climate change hotspots in Indian forests.

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New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav on Thursday informed that there is an increase of 2,261 sq km in the total forest and tree cover in the country in the last two years.

“The total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.9 million hectare which is 24.62 per cent 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,” the Minister said after releasing the ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021’ prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).

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The ISFR-2021 provides information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock, carbon stock in India’s forests, forest fire monitoring, forest cover in tiger reserve areas, above ground estimates of biomass using SAR data and climate change hotspots in Indian forests.

As per the report, out of 2,261 sq km, the increase in the forest cover is 1,540 sq km and that in tree cover is 721 sq km, a statement said.

“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,” the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a release.

In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five states are Mizoram (84.53 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33 per cent), Meghalaya (76.00 per cent), Manipur (74.34 per cent) and Nagaland (73.90 per cent), it said quoting the findings of report.

Elated over the report, the Minister said the focus of the government is not to just conserve forests quantitatively but to enrich it qualitatively.

“The focus of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not just to conserve the forests quantitatively but to enrich it qualitatively,” Yadav said.

Among other major findings, 17 states/union territories have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover. 

“Total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km. An increase of 17 sq Km in mangrove cover 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),” the release said.

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, it said.

The annual increase in the carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes, it added. 

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