Rise in India’s Forest Tree Cover: ISFR Report

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Daily News, Environmental News

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According to ISFR (Indian State of Forest Report), 2021, the nation has a total forest cover of 7,13,789 square kilometers, which accounts for around 21.72% of the country’s land area. As compared to ISFR 2019, the current assessment shows a rise in India’s forest tree cover of 0.28% at the national level.

The Forest Survey of India (FSI), situated at Dehradun, reports findings from its biennial assessments of the forest cover in the ISFR. The Minister of State for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change has been responsible for FSI since 1987. The increase in forest cover can be the result of various afforestation programs run by the government.

One such program is Nagar Van Yojana (NVY) started in the year 2020. This initiative aims to increase green cover in urban and peri-urban regions, including biological variety, offer ecological advantages, and improve city people’s quality of life. Thus far, the Ministry has authorized 270 projects totaling Rs.238.64 crore under the Nagar Van Yojana.

Rise in India’s Forest Tree Cover: ISFR Report

Source: Forest cover Map of India, 2021

What is the Status of Forests in India?

The country’s forest and tree cover has expanded by 2,261 square kilometers since the latest evaluation in 2019, as per the ISFR report 2021. India’s total forest and tree cover was 80.9 million hectares, accounting for 24.62% of the country’s geographical area. According to the report, forest cover covers over 33% of the area in 17 states and union territories.

Madhya Pradesh had the most extensive forest cover, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Nagaland are the top states with the highest forest cover in the geographical land of the country.

Forest Classification As Per India State of Forest Report

ISFR divides forests into four categories:

Very Dense Forest: has a canopy density of more than 70%. This category includes all lands having tree cover as well as mangrove cover. Just 3.04% of the total forest cover comprises very dense forests.

Moderately Dense Forest: varies from 40% to 70% of the tree canopy density. 9.33% of the total forest cover comprises rather dense forests.

Open Forest: ranges between 10% to 40% of the Tree canopy density. At 9.34% of the overall forest cover, the open forests comprise a significant portion of the nation’s forest cover.

Scrub: a canopy density of less than 10% with low tree development. Scrub forest mainly consists of tiny or stunted trees.

Source: Pie chart showing forest cover of India

Why is Forest Cover Essential?

Forests are crucial in preventing global warming by collecting air pollution and carbon from the atmosphere. One-third of the earth’s surface is covered by forests, which provide essential purposes and a living for 1.6 billion people. UN states that forests also reduce the effects of storms and flooding.

Over half of the major cities in the world receive their drinking water from the forests that feed their rivers. Also, they give communities that depend on the forest shelter, employment, and security. So a rise in India’s forest tree cover is a very positive sign and will benefit the citizens of India.

 

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