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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-III :
  • 17 June, 2020

  • 7 Min Read

India State of Forest Report

India State of Forest Report (ISFR)

Part of: GS-I- Geography and Forest (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

State of Forest Report (SFR 2017)

  • SFR is a biennial report published by Forest Survey of India (FSI), which is under the Ministry of Environment.
  • The latest report states that, India posted a marginal 0.21% rise in the area under forest between 2015 and 2017.
  • The document says that India has about 7, 08,273 square km of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country.
  • The top five States where maximum forest cover has increased are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Telangana.
  • India’s northeast showed a decrease in the forest cover.
  • The five States where forest cover has decreased most are Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya.
  • The main reasons for the decrease are shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Island.
  • The survey, which has for the first time assessed water bodies, said that during last decade, the area under water bodies is increased by 2647 sq.km.

India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019

The Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2019.

  • ISFR is a biennial publication of Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.
  • The ISFR assesses the forest and tree cover, bamboo resources, carbon stock and forest fires.
  • The 2019 report for the first time has assessed the qualitative nature of the forest cover, including listing its biodiversity and the type of plants and trees found.
  • It also created a national forest inventory for the first time on produce from forests.

Imp Points

  • Forest Cover
    • Forest Cover (Area-wise) : Madhya Pradesh> Arunachal Pradesh> Chhattisgarh> Odisha> Maharashtra.
    • Forest Cover (Percentage): Mizoram (85.4%)> Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%)> Meghalaya (76.33%)
  • Increase in Forest Cover
    • The country’s forest cover includes all patches of land with a tree canopy density of more than 10% and more than 1 hectare in area, irrespective of land use, ownership and species of trees.
    • The total forest cover of the country is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country.
    • The top five states to have shown an increase in forest cover include Karnataka (1,025 sq km) > Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) > Kerala (823 sq km) > J&K (371 sq km) > Himachal Pradesh (334 sq km).
  • Decline of Forest Cover in North Eastern Region
    • Total forest cover in the North Eastern region is 1,70,541 sq km, which is 65.05% of its geographical area.
    • There has been a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45%) in the region. Except Assam and Tripura, all the States in the region show decrease in forest cover.
  • Forest Cover in Tribal Districts
    • The total forest cover in the tribal districts is 4,22,351 sq km, which is 37.54% of the geographical area of these districts.
    • There has been a decrease of 741 sq km of forest cover within the Recorded Forest Area/ Green Wash (RFA/GW) in the tribal districts and an increase of 1,922 sq km outside.
    • There has been a decline in tree cover inside forests due to tribal populations getting “land titles” (patta) and there has been a rise in trees outside the forest area due to an increase in tree plantation and afforestation activities.

Note: Recorded Forest Area: The area recorded as forest in the Government records. Green Wash: The extent of wooded areas generally shown in light green colour on the Survey of India toposheets.

  • Increase in the tree cover
    • Tree cover comprises of tree patches of size less than 1 hectare occurring outside the recorded forest area.
    • The tree cover of the country is estimated as 95,027 sq km which is 2.89% of the geographical area.
    • Maharashtra has had the highest increase in tree cover and a large part of that is due to horticulture.
  • In comparison to 2017
    • The 2019 survey has found an increase of 5,188 sq km in total forest and tree cover in the country.
    • Tree and forest cover together made up 24.56% (8,07,276 sq km) of India's area. In the last assessment it was 24.39%.
    • The nation’s tree and forest cover has largely hovered from 21-25% and is short of the National Forest Policy, 1988, which envisages 33% to be under such cover.

Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.

  • Carbon Stock

The total carbon stock of the country was estimated at 7124 million tons, which is an increase of 42.6 million tons from the last assessment. It implies that India is on the right track to achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of 2.5 -3 billion carbon sinks.

  • Wetlands

The total number of wetlands located within the RFA/GW is 8.13%. Amongst the States, Gujarat has the largest area of wetlands within RFA in the country followed by West Bengal.

  • Forest Produce

Dependence of fuelwood on forests is the highest in the State of Maharashtra, whereas, for fodder, small timber and bamboo, dependence is highest in Madhya Pradesh. The analysis reveals that 21.40% of the forest cover of the country is highly to extremely fire prone.

National Forest Policy, 1988

  • The policy aims at maintaining of environmental stability.
  • It looks at conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural forests.
  • Increasing forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes.
  • Creating a massive people’s movement for achieving these objectives and to minimise pressure on existing forests.

Source: TH


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