NEW DELHI: The forest and tree cover in India has shown an increase of 1 per cent with 24.39 per cent of total geographical area under green cover in the country compared to last assessment in 2015, said a report released Monday.
The highest rise in green cover in reported from four southern states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Kerala but what is worrying is that top three state with forest cover – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a negative growth. The northeastern states have also taken a blow when it comes to green cover.
The India State of Forest Report 2017 says that the forest and tree Cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km (1 per cent) while the very dense forest has increased by 1.36 per cent but moderately dense forest has shown a downward trend as compared to 2015.
According to the report, the reason for degradation and deforestation could be due to diversion of forest land for non forestry purposes, encroachments and other biotic and natural disturbances.
Top five states where forest cover has decreased are Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya.
“The main reasons for the decrease in forest cover are shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, and diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters,” said the report.
The present assessment shows that 15 states and union territories have above 33 per cent of their geographical area under forest cover.
In addition to national level estimates, it is for the first time that the state level estimates of carbon stock have been given under different carbon pools for forest.
The mangrove cover of the country has shown improvement as the report shows that it has increased by 181 sq kms with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat being the top three gainers in terms of mangrove cover.
“As per present assessment total carbon stock in forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes. There is an increase of 38 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment,” it added.