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  • 18 March, 2021

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Data on Forest Resources

India State of Forest Report, 2019

  • ISFR is an assessment of the country’s forest resources every two years by the Forest Survey of India.
  • Starting in 1987, ISFR 2019 is the 16th report.

Salient findings

The key findings of the ISFR 2019 are as follows:

  • 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 tree cover of the country is estimated as 95,027 sq km which is 2.89% of the geographical area
  • The total Forest and Tree cover of the country is 8,07,276 sq km which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country

Compared to the previous assessment ISFR 2017, the changes in forest cover are:-

Forest Cover

  • Forest Cover Includes all patches of land with tree canopy density of more than 10%and more than 1Ha in area, irrespective of land use, ownership and species of trees.
  • Forest density is mapped under three Canopy density classes viz., Very Dense Forest with a canopy density more than 70%, Moderately Dense Forest with a canopy density between 40-70% and Open Forest with a canopy density between 10-40%.

Canopy density

% of canopy

Area spread

% of geo-graphical area

Very dense forest

70%

99,278

3.02

Moderately dense

40-70%

3,08,472

9.38

Open Forest

10-40%

3,04,499

9.26

Total Forest cover

7,12,249

21.67

Tree cover

Patches of trees in <1Ha area

95,027

2.89

Total forest and tree cover

8,07,276

24.56

Scrub

<10%

46,297

1.41

Non-forest

25,28,923

76.92

Total geographic area

32,87,469

100

  • The tree cover is assessed following a methodology involving remote sensing-based stratification and National Forest Inventory data.
  • Tree cover includes all patches of trees less than 1 ha.
  • The current assessment shows an increase of 0.58% of forest cover,1.29% of tree cover and 0.656% of forest and tree cover put together, at the national level.
  • Forest cover within the RFA/GW has shown a slight decrease of 330 sq km (0.05%) whereas there is an increase of 4,306 sq km of forest cover outside the RFA/GW.
  • The top five States in terms of increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km), Jammu & Kashmir (371 sq km) and Himachal Pradesh (334 sq km)

KA>AP>KR>JK>HP

  • Forest cover in the hill districts of the country is 2,84,006 sq km, which is 40.30% of the total geographical area of these districts. The current assessment shows an increase of 544 sq km (0.1996) in 140 hill districts of the country
  • 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. The current assessment shows a decrease of 741 sq km of forest cover within the RFA GW in the tribal districts and an increase of 1,922 km outside.
  • Total forest cover in the North Eastern region is 1,70,541 sq km, which is 65.05% of its geographical area. The current assessment shows a decrease in forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45%) in the region.
  • EXCEPT for Assam and Tripura, ALL the States in the NE region show decrease in forest cover.

Mangrove Cover

  • Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
  • There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.83% of the area within the RFA/GW of the country. 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.
  • They exhibit varied morphological and physiological evolutionary adaptations to survive limiting factors imposed by a)lack of oxygen b)high salinity and c)diurnal tidal inundation.

    Adaptations: Succulent Leaves Sunken Stomata, pneumatophores(aerial breathing roots), vivipary, stilt Roots, Buttresses

    Mangroves are a diverse group of salt-tolerant plant communities of intertidal regions of the world, occurring between 240N to 380S.
  • India has 3% of total mangrove cover in South Asia.
  • India’s Mangrove Cover 4975sq.km, 0.15% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • Net increase of 54sq.km in mangrove compared to 2017 assessment. A greater than 95% increase is seen in two states GJ and MH only.

Forest Fire Monitoring

  • Fire-prone forest areas of different severity classes have been mapped in grids of 5km x 5km based on the frequency of forest fires. The analysis reveals that 21.40% of the forest cover of the country is high to extreme fire-prone.
    • TS, UP, UK reported the highest number of cases in MODIS.
  • National Action Plan on Forest fires,2018 devised by MOEFCC to reduce forest fire incidences established Center for Excellence on Forest Fire management at FSI.

Tree cover

  • The total growing stock of wood in the country is estimated 5,915 million cum (in 4:1 ratio) comprising 4,273.47 million cum inside forest areas and 1,642.29 million cum outside recorded forest areas (TOF).

Growing Stock

  • An important parameter which quantifies forest Resources.It's also an Indicator of Forest Productivity.
  • The Growing Stock Data also forms the basis for the calculation of Biomass and Carbon Stock in the forests.

Bamboo Resources of the Country

  • 15-250 NORTH
  • FAO report: There are 1200 species from 90 genera worldwide of which 10% are available in India.
  • Total bamboo-bearing area of the country is estimated as 1,60,037 sq km. There is an increase of 3,229 sq km in the bamboo-bearing areas as compared to the estimate of ISFR 2017.
  • % Area Wise Bamboo Bearing Area is higher in MP>MH>AR>OD.

  • It contributes to socio-economic, ecological development of any region. It is a universally used plant and contributes to subsistence needs of more than 2.5 B people.
  • In India, about 2 million artisans' livelihood entirely depends on bamboo processing and sale.
  • Indian Forest Ordinance, 2017 removed bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of ‘tree’, by amending Section 2(7) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  • The total Bamboo Bearing Area is 16MHa out of which MP>MH>AR have the highest area.

Carbon Stock of Indian Forests

  • In the present assessment, the total carbon stock in forests is estimated at 7,124.6 million tonnes. There is an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of the country as compared to the last assessment of 2017. The annual increase is 21.3 million tonnes.
  • Soil Organic Carbon (SOC)

    represents the largest pool of carbon stock in forests, which has been estimated at 4,004 million tonnes. The SOC contributes 56% to the total forest carbon stock of the country
  • Forest type C-Stock when mapped at National Level in Different C-Pools indicated that Maximum C-Stock Has been Stored in Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests(2158MT) followed by Tropical Dry deciduous(1320MT) and Tropical Semi Evergreen Forests(719MT).
  • Out of the total emissions, the energy sector accounted for 73%, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU)8%, Agriculture16% and the waste sector for 3%
  • Whereas Land use, Land use change and the Forestry sector offset about 12% of India’s total emissions.

People and Forests

  • Dependence of fuelwood on forests is highest in the State of Maharashtra, whereas, for fodder, small timber and bamboo, dependence is highest in Madhya Pradesh. It has been assessed that the annual removal of the small timber by the people living in forest fringe villages is nearly 7% of the average annual yield of forests in the country.
  • The rural population is 68% if the country’s total population, significantly depending on forests for meeting the needs of fuelwood, fodder, small timber, bamboo and NTFPs
  • Census 2011 shows that there are 6.5 lakh villages in India, ISFR identifies that25% of all villages are located in the proximity of forests.

Source: Khullar ISFR

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