The forest and tree cover of 8,02,088 sq km covered 24.39 per cent geographical area of the country and is still short of India's target of 33 per cent as stated in the National Forest Policy, 1988. The report specified that the decrease in forest cover may be more prominent as forest and tree cover comprise more than 70% area in each state.
With a 190 sq km decrease in forest cover, Arunachal Pradesh is among the five Northeastern states where forest cover has decreased the most, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, which was released by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan and his deputy Mahesh Sharma here on Monday.
"The main reasons for the decrease in forest cover are shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, and diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters", said the report.
The forest and tree cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km over the last two years, a latest government assessment said today.
It shows that overall the extent of water bodies has increased from 14,509 sq km in 2005 to 17,156 sq km in 2015 with Maharashtra (432 sq km), Gujarat (428 sq km) and Madhya Pradesh (389 sq km) figuring as the top three states reporting maximum increase in areas of water bodies including lakes and wetlands.
The environment minister also pointed out that the nine other countries in the list do not even have a population density more than 150 persons per square kilometres as compared to India which has a population density of 382 persons per square kilometres.
Addressing the gathering, Secretary, MoEF&CC, C.K Mishra underlined that economic value of the forests must be realized and forests should be used economically.
"Congreso no tiene que hacerle caso a la Corte IDH" — García Belaunde
Desde Quito y en una rueda de prensa la noche del jueves 8 de febrero de 2018, la canciller Espinosa dijo que la presencia de la delegación ecuatoriana en Costa Rica fue de enorme importancia para recibir de primera mano el pronunciamiento de la Corte .
However, the situation continues to worsen in the northeast which is constantly seeing its rich forest cover shrink as shown by forest survey reports since 2013.
The report comes every two years and the 2017 report is the 15th such report. In addition, it assessed the total carbon stock in forests.
The ISFR 2017 further said that the "total carbon stock is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes", which is an increase of 38 million tonnes compared to 2015.
As per the assessment, there is an increase of 2,647 sq km in the extent of water bodies inside forest cover between 2005 to 2015. The report said that 15 states and Union territories have more than 33% of their GA under forest cover.
The largest of such patches lies in the North Eastern states and covers an area of 1,58,439 sq.km. Overall, nearly all the states have shown a positive change in water bodies, the report added.
The ISFR updated the number of districts for its assessment from 589 to 633.
With regards to the percentage of forest cover in comparison to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep has the highest forest cover with 90.33%, followed by Mizoram at 86.27% and Andaman & Nicobar Island with 81.73%. Satellite data for the entire country was procured from NRSC for the period October, 2015 - February, 2016.
Forest Survey of India (FSI) has been assessing the forest and tree resources of our country on a biennial basis since 1987.