Environment

India’s Forest Cover Rises

India's Forest Cover Rises

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar released the State of India’s Forest Report 2019(SoFR 2019). The SoFR is published every 2 years, according to this report 712,249 square kilometres of Indian territory is under forest cover amounting to 21.6 percent of Indian land mass. The previous report released in 2017 showed that 21.5% of India was under forest cover. The report shows that in the past two years India’s forest cover roze by 5188 square kilometres. Forest cover is classified under various categories like Very Dense Forest’s(VDF)’s, Middle Dense Forests(MDF) and Open Forest’s(OF). The 2019 report shows that 3.02 % of Indian territory is under Very Dense Forest’s whereas 9.39 percent is under Middle Dense Forest’s and Open Forest’s occupy 9.2% of India. India’s forest cover throughout this decade shows a consistent rise in the open forest category which also includes commercial plantations, this increase is mostly taking place at the cost of Middle Dense Forest’s. MDF have shown a declining trend throughout this decade though they registered a marginal rise of 0.04% between 2017 and 2019. One  cause of worry is that a very small proportion of Very Dense Forest’s  (which is defined as having a canopy cover of more than 70%) amounts to a mere 3% of Indian land, though this category showed a minor rise of 1.14 % between 2017 and 2019.

The North Eastern states present a gloomy picture as they have lost approximately 25,012 square kilometres of forest cover in this decade. The top three states in terms of forest cover are Karnataka(1025 square kilometres), Andhra Pradesh(990 square kilometres) and Kerala(823 square kilometres). India aims to bring about 33% of the country’ s geographical area under forest cover this is essential for maintaining the ecological balance in the country.

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