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Biodiversity & Environment

Global Forest Watch

  • 26 Apr 2019
  • 2 min read

The Global Forest Watch (GFW) is released by World Resources Institute (WRI) which reveals that India has lost over 1.6 million hectare of tree cover between 2001 and 2018, about four times the geographical area of Goa.

  • GFW is an open source web application to monitor global forests in near real time.

Key Findings 

  • In India, five north-eastern states — Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur — were responsible for over 50% of all tree cover loss in the same period.
  • The main reason for loss of tree cover in the north-eastern states is diversion of forest land and climate change.
  • The loss of tree cover contributed to 172 MT of carbon emissions in India during this period.
  • The analysis reveals the total tree cover which used to be 12% of the country’s geographical area in 2000 reduced to 8.9% in 2010.


  • The Global Forest Watch uses a dataset collated by the University of Maryland, Google, US Geological Survey, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), besides satellite images, to map tree cover (at 30 metre resolution) globally for the years 2000 and 2010.


  • The data used by Global Forest Watch for this analysis is very coarse for India as it doesn’t cover open forest and scrub forest which is a big composition of forests in India.

World Resources Institute

  • WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries and focuses on six critical issues at the intersection of environment and development: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transport.
  • It was established in 1982. Headquartered in Washington, US.

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