Forest covers of a geographical area includes all lands having a tree density of 10 per cent and more and have a minimum area of one hectare.

India”s total forest and tree cover has increased by 5081 sq km in the past two years, the latest Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR 2015), released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), says. Released on Friday by Union minister of environment, forests and climate change, Prakash Javadekar, under whose ministry the FSI comes, the mood among FSI officials and the minister was celebratory, as the biannual report was held up as a sign of India solidly on the path of achieving its INDC targets, as the climate change talks went on Paris.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest covers of a geographical area includes all lands having a tree density of 10 per cent and more and have a minimum area of one hectare. Tree cover estimation is a sample based exercise and the report explains that it comprises tree patches less than a hectare in the form of block plantations, linear plantations and scattered trees.The report says forest cover has increased by 3,775 sq km to take it to a total of 7,01,673 sq km, which is 21.34 per cent of the country’s geographical area (GA). Tree cover has gone up by 1,306 sq km to a total of 9,2,572 sq km or 2.82 per cent of the country’s GA. The mangrove cover of the country has increased by 112 sq km to 4,740 sq km.Maharashtra, however, saw a decrease in the forest cover to 50,628 sq km out of a total geographical area of 3,07,713 sq km. In 2013 its forest cover was 50,632 sq km, which was also a decrease from the 2011 data. Both reports attributed the decrease to encroachment on forest lands, with the 2015 report adding rotational felling and diversion of of forest area for non-forestry purposes as reasons.These numbers are all as compared to previous assessment carried out in 2013.The 2013 ISFR too reported such an increase at least in forest covers. The forest cover of the country had increased by 5871 sq km taking it to 697808 sq km country-wide as compared to the 2011 data. However, mangrove cover decreased by 34 sq km as compared to 2011 data, while in 2011 the mangrove cover had increased by 23.34 sq km as compared to 2009.The 2015 report shows the growing stock — the volume of all living trees in a given area of forest or wooded land more than a certain diametre at breast height — has increased by 110.34 million cubic metre. In 2013, there had been a decrease of 389.11 million cubic metre.India’s carbon sink, crucial in the current need to reduce carbon dioxide from the air, has increased by 103 million tonnes to 7044 million tonnes in 2015. In 2013 too there had been an increase of 278 million tonnes.Javadekar, buoyed by the report and the good news it carried, declared that such a report had been complied by using high resolution satellite data, so that each tree was accounted for. He added that he would ensure that afforestation meant trees that survived more than just 5 years. He took a dig at a “previous environment minister, whom he declined to name, who had apparently called this government’s environmental targets impossible.Javadekar also added that the government would also focus on reducing encroachment and chulhas that ran on wood for fuel, bringing LPG connections to every household.

This article is from – 

India’s forest cover increases to 21.34% of country’s total geographical area