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31 Aug, 2012

“Marginal Drop” in Indian Forest Cover


Ministry of Environment and Forests, 29-August, 2012 – The details of the India State of Forest Report, 2011 (ISFR) published by Dehradun –based Forest Survey of India is as follows:-

• India State of Forest Report 2011 is the twelfth such report. The first report was published in 1987.

• Forest and tree cover of the country is 78.29 million hectare, which is 23.81% of the geographical area. This includes 2.76% of tree cover.

• The forest and tree cover would work out to 25.22% after exclusion of 183135 square kilometre above the altitude 4000 m from the total geographical area of the country as these areas do not support tree growth.

• In the hill and tribal districts of the country, a decrease in forest cover of 548 square kilometre and 679 square kilometre respectively has been reported as compared to the previous assessment.

• The north eastern States of the India account for one-forth of the country’s forest cover. There is a net decline of 549 square kilometre in forest cover as compared to the previous assessment.

• Mangrove cover has increased by 23.34 square kilometre during the same period.

• The total growing stock of India’s forest and tree outside forests is estimated as 6047.15 million cum which comprises 4498.73 million cum inside the forests and 1548.42 million cum outside the forests.

• The total bamboo bearing area in the country is estimated to be 13.96 million hectare.

• The total carbon stock in the country’s forests is estimated to the 6663 million tones.

As per the assessments of 2011 (data period 2008-09) as published in ISFR-2011and the assessment of ISFR-2009 (data period 2006-07) there has been a marginal decrease of 367 sq. km in the forest cover of the country. The forest cover in the northeast between these two assessments has declined by 549 sq. km.

The loss of forest cover to the extent of 549 sq km in the seven northeastern States has been primarily due to prevailing socio-cultural practice of shifting cultivation in these states. Loss in other states like Andhra Pradesh (281 sq. km) and Kerala (24 sq. km) is reported due to harvesting of short rotation plantations like Eucalyptus, Acacia mangium, rubber etc. 15 States have reported cumulative gain of 500 sq. km which is mainly due to afforestation and conservation activities undertaken in these States.

The above information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan to the Parliament.