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India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019

  • 31 Dec 2019
  • 6 min read

Why in News

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.

Key Findings

  • 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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