India’s forest and tree cover increases by 1%, shows survey

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About 802,088 sq. km or 24.39% of the total geographical area (GA) of India is covered by forest and trees, and the area has increased by 8,021 sq. km, or 1% since 2015, a new official survey reveals.

According to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, by the Union environment ministry, the forest cover grew by 6,778 sq. km and tree cover by 1,243 sq. km.

While the country’s total forest cover is 708, 273 sq. km (about 21.54% of India’s total GA), tree cover is 93,815 sq. km (about 2.85% of the total GA).

Mangrove coverage in the country increased by 181 sq. km to 4,921 sq. km.

The ISFR 2017, which covers 633 districts of the country compared to 589 in 2015, is the 15th edition of the report.

Andhra Pradesh (2,141 sq. km), Karnataka (1,101 sq. km), Kerala (1,043 sq. km), Odisha (885 sq. km) and Telangana (565 sq. km) were the states that showed the maximum increase in forest cover.

Northeastern states such as Mizoram (531 sq. km), Nagaland (450 sq. km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq. km), Tripura (164 sq. km) and Meghalaya (116 sq. km) showed a decrease in the coverage.

Shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters were the major reasons for the decrease, the report said.

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