India’s forest and tree cover has risen by 2,261 square kilometers in the last two years with Andhra Pradesh growing the maximum forest cover of 647 square kilometers, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 released on Thursday.
The biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), an assessment of the country’s forest resources, was released by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Sharing the findings, the Minister informed that the total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.9 million hectare which is 24.62 percent of the geographical area of the country.
As compared to the assessment of 2019, there is an increase of 2,261 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 1,540 sq km and that in tree cover is 721 sq km.
The Minister expressed happiness over the fact that the present assessment reveals that 17 states/UT’s have above 33 percent of the geographical area under forest cove
“The focus of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is not just to conserve the forests quantitatively but to enrich it qualitatively,” Bhupender Yadav said.
The top three states showing increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km) followed by Telangana (632 sq km) and Odisha (537 sq km).
Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76.00%), Manipur (74.34%) and Nagaland (73.90%).
As per the report, the total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km. An increase of 17 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2019.
Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Odisha (8 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (4 sq km) and Karnataka (3 sq km).
Total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes and there an increase of 79.4 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2019.The annual increase in the carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes.