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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.