India's forest cowl will increase by 1 per cent

India's forest cowl will increase by 1 per cent

As per a report released by the environment ministry, the forest area has now increased to 802,088 square kilometre, and now covers 24.39 percent of the total geographical area of the country.

A density-wise breakup of forest cover showed that cover of very dense forests had increased by 1.36 per cent.

Karnataka's forest cover rose by 1,101 sq km with the highest increase reported from Uttara Kannada (293 sq km) and Chikmagalur (264 sq km) districts. The target was later modified to bring one-third of the area under tree and forest cover. This means there is net increase of 82 sq km, predominantly found in Raigad, Mumbai suburb an and Thane district. The IFSR 2017 records a loss of 630 sq kms of forest cover in NE - with Mizoram losing 531 sq kms, Nagaland 450 sq kms, Arunachal Pradesh 190 sq kms, Tripura 164 sq kms and Meghalaya 116 sq kms.

Though estimation of carbon stock is a regular feature of the India State of Forest Report, the present report has highlighted the state level estimates.

While conceding there was a decline seen in the green cover in the northeast, environment minister Dr Harshvardhan observed that these states already have 70 per cent of their area under forest cover.

He said, it is a matter of cheer that there is decreasing trend of forest and tree cover in other countries of the world but India has shown an increasing trend. In addition, it assessed the total carbon stock in forests.

The forest cover under-recorded forest area is 33,791 sqkm now, the while forest cover outside the recorded forest increased by 1.2 per cent since 2015 report. The tree cover registered an increase of 110 sq km against that in 2015. So far as the dense bamboo area is concerned the State stands third in the country. In comparison to the last assessment done in 2011, there has been an increase of 1.73 million ha in bamboo area. "There is an increase of 38 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment", it added. Maharashtra added the maximum mangrove cover, 82, since 2015, and the report attributed this rise to plantations and regeneration.

Panaji: Increase in mangrove cover continues to be the main factor in maintaining the 5% growth in the state's forest cover, as per the latest biennial assessment by forest survey of India (FSI). It will also serve as a useful source of information for the policy makers, planners, State Forest Departments, line agencies involved in various developmental works, academicians, civil society and others interested in natural resource conservation and management.

It shows that overall the extent of water bodies has increased from 14,509 sq km in 2005 to 17,156 sq km in 2015 with Maharashtra (432 sq km), Gujarat (428 sq km) and Madhya Pradesh (389 sq km) figuring as the top three states reporting maximum increase in areas of water bodies including lakes and wetlands.

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