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The state of India's forests: 2015
Jan 09, 2016

While the definition of forest remains ambiguous, felling continues to be a major contributor to climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, around 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions are caused by land-use change or deforestation, mostly driven by population growth and agricultural expansion.

Forest Cover in India:

  • In December, two scientific publications showed the extent of forest cover in India. A study published in Biodiversity and Conservation, an international journal, shows a net loss of 243,447 sq. km (28%) in eight decades.

Forest Cover In India

What is Forest: A forest is defined as land spanning more than 1 ha, dominated with native tree species having a minimum stand height of 5 m with an over storey canopy cover greater than 10% in the study published in Biodiversity and Conservation

Observation of he India State Forest Report 2015:

Observation of he India State Forest

  • The forest cover of India has increased by 21.34 percent in the last two years

  • Very dense forests in India cover 2.61 percent of the total forest area, moderately dense forests account for 9.59 percent while open forests stand at 9.14 percent

  • According to the Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) biennial report for 2015, India’s forest cover increased from 640,819 sq km (64.08 Mha) in 1987 to 701,673 sq km (70.17 Mha).

  • The FSI report does not make any distinction between the origins of forest. It includes all land with a tree canopy density of 10% and above and a minimum mapping unit of one hectare.

  • Among all the states and Union Territories, Mizoram has the highest forest cover with 88.93 percent of the total area, followed by Lakshadweep

  • However, northeastern states have experienced a decline in forest cover except Manipur. The main reason for this is attributed to the biotic pressure and shifting cultivation in the region

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have gained around 1,930 square kilometre of very dense forests, Uttar Pradesh has added 572 square kilometre of very dense forest cover and Tamil Nadu has reported a net gain of 100 square kilometre of very dense forest cover

  • The mangrove cover in India has increased by 112 square kilometre following acute conservation in the Sundarbans and Bhitarkanika forest.

  • Increase in the forest cover of the State is mainly due to coppice growth (dense growth of small tress) and afforestation inside the forests, growth of commercial plantations and shade trees in tea gardens

  • West Bengal, a state with high population density, has only 18.93 percent forest cover.

Forest Cover Change

Source: livemint, India today 

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