India State of Forest Report 2021: Rise in Forest Cover!
”GS 2 & GS 3: Conservation, Issues Relating to Development, Forest Resources”
- India has increased its forest cover by an area roughly twice the size of Delhi in the past two years, suggests the “India State of Forest Report 2021”, released on January 13, 2022, by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
- As a result, the country’s forest and tree cover has risen to 809,537 sq km or 24.62 per cent of the total land area.
- India ranked third globally in average annual net gain in forest area between 2010 to 2020.
- India has increased its forest area significantly over the past decade, adding an average of 2,66,000 hectares (ha) of additional forest area, every year during the period.
- In other words, it has added approximately 0.38% of 2010 forest area every year between 2010 to 2020.
- India is advancing towards sustainable growth, following the ethos of economic growth with conservation, ecological security, and environmental sustainability.
- According to the India State of Forest Report 2021 (ISFR), in 2021, the total forest and tree cover in India is 80.9 million hectares, which is 24.62% of the geographical area of the country. It was 24.56% of the total geographical area as per the 2019 report.
What is a Forest Area?
- Forest Area refers to area recorded as forest in government records and is also called “recorded forest area”.
- Forest cover comprises all lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10%, irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area.
How much increase in forest cover?
- Forests covered 24% of India’s total geographical area accounting for 2% of the world’s total forest area in 2020.
- While 66% of the world’s forest area is accounted for by the top 10 countries. Brazil (59%), Peru (57%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (56%), and Russia (50%) have half or more of their total geographical area under forests.
- The increase in total forest cover is mainly attributed to an increase in very dense forests (all lands with tree canopy density of 70% and above), which rose by 19.54% between 2011 and 2021. Further, open forest (all lands with tree canopy density between 10-40%) also improved by 6.71% however, moderately dense forest (all lands with tree canopy density between 40-70&) declined by 4.32% between 2011 and 2021.
What should be the ideal forest cover?
- According to the National Forest Policy, 1988, the country must have 33 per cent of its geographical area under forest and tree cover.
- The same has been listed as an indicator under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life on land) as well as the “Strategy for New India@75”
Status of Indian states
- Among the Indian States, Madhya Pradesh leads the green cover having the largest area under forests in 2021 with 11% of India’s total forest cover. It is followed by Arunachal Pradesh (9%), Chhattisgarh (8%), Odisha (7%), and Maharashtra (7%).
- The top five states by per cent of State Geographical Area under Forest Cover, 2021 are Mizoram (85%), Arunachal Pradesh (79%), Meghalaya (76%), Manipur (74%), and Nagaland (74%).
- The top five states by Very Dense Forest, 2021 are Arunachal Pradesh accounting for 21% of India’s very dense forest in 2021, followed by Maharashtra (9%), Odisha (7%), Chhatisgarh (7%), and Madhya Pradesh (7%).