Takeaway from the Forest Report
- India State of Forest Report is an assessment of India’s forest and tree cover.
- It is published every 2 years by the Forest Survey of India under the MoEFCC.
- Data is computed through wall-to-wall mapping of India’s forest cover through remote sensing techniques.
- The forest and tree cover continues to increase over the past two years. Eg: 21.7% in 2020 and 21.6% in 2019.
- The total carbon stock in country’s forests is estimated at 7,204 million tonnes, an increase of 79.4 million tonnes since 2019.
- Tree cover has increased by 721 sq km.
The states with highest increase in order – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha
Five states in the Northeast – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have shown loss in forest cover.
Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has the highest forest cover (nearly 97%).
- Mangroves have increased by 17 sq km.
- 35% of the forest cover is prone to forest fires.
- Inference – Natural forests has degraded to less dense open forests.
Cause of decline in forest in the North East:
- A spate of natural calamities, particularly landslides and heavy rain
- Anthropogenic activities such as shifting agriculture, pressure of developmental activities and felling of trees.
- North eastern states are repositories of great biodiversity.
- Declining forests will in turn increase the impact of landslides
- Impacts water catchment in the region
- Challenges due to different ownership pattern — community ownership and protected tribal land.
- Impact due to climate change:
- Vulnerable Forests – except Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland all states will be highly vulnerable climate hot spots.
- India’s forests are already showing shifting trends of vegetation types, Sikkim has shown a shift in its vegetation pattern for 124 endemic species.
- By 2030, 45% of forests will experience the impact with Ladakh being the most impacted.
New areas of Coverage:
- For the first time forest cover in tiger reserves, tiger corridors and the Gir forest which houses the Asiatic lion has been assessed
- Buxa, Anamalai and Indravati reserves have shown an increase in forest cover while the highest losses have been found in Kawal, Bhadra and the Sunderbans reserves.
- Plantations – such as coffee, coconuts or mango are included under forest cover.
- Forest survey is carried out as an assessment of India’s biodiversity. Such an overarching survey does not meet that objective, experts say.