Forest cover increases in 26 states/UT, depletes in 10 states including six in Himalayan range

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A significant ten states of the country including six Himalayan states have witnessed a major decline in its forest cover between 2017 and 2021 largely owing to deforestation while 26 states and Union Territories (UT) in the country have registered a rise in its green over in the mentioned period. As per an assessment of forest cover biennially carried out by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organization under the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India, the findings were published in India State of Forest Report (ISFR).

Findings of decrease and increase of Forest Cover

As per the findings published by Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun in India State of Forest Report (ISFR), around 9377.43 square kilometer of forest cover had increased in the country over the years as against a decline of 3861.37 square kilometer of green cover bringing the net rise in green cover to around 5516.06 square kilometer area.

States/UT with decreased Forest Cover

The ten states including six Himalyan states which have registered a decline in its forest cover over the years include Jammu & Kashmir (-1854 sq Km), Manipur (-748 sq. km), Arunachal Pradesh (-533 sq km), Mizoram (-366 sq.km), Nagaland (-238 sq.km), Meghalaya (100 sq.km), West Bengal (15 sq.km). Tripura (-4 sq.km), Sikkim (-3 sq.km) and Puducherry (-0.37 sq.km) respectively.

Reports revealed a significant 95% of green cover loss in India between 2013 and 2023 occurred within natural forests. Notably, maximum green cover loss of 189,000 hectares occurred in 2017 and 144,000 hectares in 2023, a maximum loss in last six years.
Five states accounted for 60% of all tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023. Assam experienced the highest tree cover loss at 324,000 hectares (compared to an average of 66,600 hectares). Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur also faced significant losses.

Fires were responsible for 1.6% of tree cover loss in India between 2001 and 2022. The year 2008 recorded maximum green cover loss due to fires, amounting to 3,000 hectares.
From 2001 to 2022, Odisha had the highest rate of tree cover loss due to fires with an average of 238 hectares lost per year.

States/UT with increased Forest Cover

Top 26 states/UT with increased green cover in square kilometer area include Ladakh (2,272), Andhra Pradesh (1,637 sq. km), Karnataka (1,180), Kerala ((932), Odisha (811), Telangana (795), Himachal Pradesh (343), Assam (207), Chhattisgarh (170), Gujarat (169), Jharkhand (168), Uttar Pradesh (139), Tamil Nadu (138), Maharashtra (116), Rajasthan (83), Bihar (82), Madhya Pradesh (79), Goa (15), Haryana (15), Punjab (10), Uttarakhand (10), Delhi (2.59) and A&N Islands (2) respectively.

Green India Mission

The Ministry of Forest and Environment supports States/Union Territories for carrying out afforestation activities through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Green India Mission. This flagship afforestation scheme of the Ministry, aims to undertake afforestation activities in degraded forest areas with people’s participation. The scheme promotes environmental conservation and rain water harvesting through afforestation and tree plantation, restoration of degraded forest landscapes, habitat improvement including through soil moisture conservation activities.
Afforestation activities are also undertaken in a major way under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund as per the provisions of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 and the Rules made there under.

The Ministry is also implementing the Nagar Van Yojana which envisages creation of 600 Nagar Vans and 400 Nagar Vatika in the country during the period 2020-21 to 2026-27. The Nagar Van Yojana aims at enhancing the green cover in the urban and peri-urban areas and augmenting biological diversity.
Afforestation activities are also taken up under various programmes and schemes of line Ministries such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Bamboo Mission, Sub-Mission on Agroforestry etc. and under schemes of State Governments/UT Administrations through different departments, Non-Government Organizations, Civil Societies, Corporate bodies etc. The multi departmental efforts have yielded good results in conserving and enhancing forest cover in the country.

State/UTs with increased Forest Cover

States/UT Area In 2017 In 2021 Increase (sq.km.)
Ladakh 2,22,236 0 2,272 2,272
Andhra Pradesh 1,62,968 28,147 29,784 1,637
Karnataka 1,91,791 37,550 38,730 1,180
Kerala 38,852 20,321 21,253 932
Odisha 1,55,707 51,345 52,156 811
Telangana 1,12,077 20,419 21,214 795
Himachal Pradesh 55,673 15,100 15,443 343
Assam 78,438 28,105 28,312 207
Chhattisgarh 1,35,192 55,547 55,717 170
Gujarat 1,96,244 14,757 14,926 169
Jharkhand 79,716 23,553 23,721 168
Tamil Nadu 1,30,060 26,281 26,419 138
Maharashtra 3,07,713 50,682 50,798 116
Uttar Pradesh 2,40,928 14,679 14,818 139
Rajasthan 3,42,239 16,572 16,655 83
Bihar 94,163 7,299 7,381 82
Madhya Pradesh 3,08,252 77,414 77,493 79
Goa 3,702 2,229 2,244 15
Haryana 44,212 1,588 1,603 15
Punjab 50,362 1,837 1,847 10
Uttarakhand 53,483 24,295 24,305 10
Delhi 1,483 192.41 195.00 2.59
A&N island 8,249 6,742 6,744 2
Chandigarh 114 21.56 22.88 1.32
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 491 207 227.75 0.26
Daman & Diu 111 20.49 227.75 0.26
Total       9377.43

 

State/UTs with decreased Forest Cover

State/UT Land Area In 2017 In 2021 Decrease(sq.km.)
Jammu & Kashmir 2,22,236 23,241 21,387 -1,854
Manipur 22,327 17,346 16,598 -748
Arunachal Pradesh 83,743 66,964 66,431 -533
Mizoram 21,081 18,186 17,820 -366
Nagaland 16,579 12,489 12,251 -238
Meghalaya 22,429 17,146 17,046 -100
West Bengal 88,752 16,847 16,832 -15
Tripura 10,486 7,726 7,722 -4
Sikkim 7,096 3,344 3,341 -3
Puducherry 490 53.67 53.30 -0.37
Total       3861.37

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