India’s forest cover stood at 21.34% in 2015, increase of 1.29% from 2009, says report

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New Delhi | Published: June 4, 2018 7:17:08 PM

India's forest cover stood at 21.34 per cent in 2015, an increase of 1.29 per cent from 2009, according to a government report on environment.

India forest cover, Harsh Vardhan, Andaman and Nicobar Islands,  Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya PradeshThe FSI defines forests as all lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 per cent. (IE)

India’s forest cover stood at 21.34 per cent in 2015, an increase of 1.29 per cent from 2009, according to a government report on environment. The ‘Status of Environment Report, India 2015’, released by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan at the state environment ministers’s conference here today, said forests and tree cover together constitute about 24.16 per cent of the country’s geographical area. As per the latest estimate by Forest Survey of India (FSI), in 2015, the forest cover stood at 21.34 per cent of India’s total geographical area, with a marginal rise from 20.05 per cent in 2009, it said. Mizoram with 89 per cent has the highest forest cover among the states and Union territories in the country.

It is followed by Lakshdweep (84.56 percent), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (82 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (80 per cent), according to the report. Assam’s forest cover at 35 per cent was the lowest in the list of 15 states and Union territories (UTs) having more than 33 per cent forest cover. The forest cover of the country has increased from 692,027 square kilometres in 2010 to 701,673 square kilometres in 2015, the report said.

The FSI defines forests as all lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 per cent. Out of the total forest cover, moderately dense forest cover 9.59 per cent of the total geographical area and very dense forest cover only 2.61 per cent, the report said. There has been a net increase of forest cover in hill states, it said.

Degraded forest land with canopy density less than 10 per cent are classified as scrub. The area under scrub is reported to be 41,362 sq km, which is 1.26 per cent of the total geographical area of the country. Scrub do not fall within the classification of forests. The northeastern states account for one-fourth of the country’s forest cover. There had been a net decline of 628 sq km in forest cover and an increase of 112 sq km in mangroves, as compared with 2009, the report said. Madhya Pradesh has the maximum forest cover of 72,462 sq km in the country, it said.

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