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Extent of Forest and Tree Cover

Extent of Forest and Tree Cover: The term Forest Cover can be any non-government-recognized land having forests in it.A tree cover ...

Any forested region which represents a legal status of the land in the Government Records is called Forest Area, whereas the term Forest Cover can be any non-government-recognized land having forests in it.

  • A tree cover is defined as a region of size smaller than one hectare which is found outside the recorded forest area, this region contains trees of varying size and canopy sizes and is scattered everywhere.

Indian State of Forest Report 2021

  • India State of Forest Report 2021 has been released by the Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • This India State of Forest Report provides a comprehensive assessment of the forest and tree cover in the country, as well as the changes that have occurred in the past two years. It is a crucial tool for policymakers, researchers, and conservationists who work towards maintaining and improving the forest ecosystem. 
Highlights of the Report:
  • 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.
  • The total tree-and-forest cover in the country includes an increase of 1,540 square kilometres of forest cover and 721 sq km of tree cover compared to the 2019 report.
  • India’s total forest and tree cover is now spread across 80.9 million hectares, which is 24.62 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
  • The top five states in terms of increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km), Telangana (632 sq km), Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km) and Jharkhand (110 sq km).
  • The gain in forest cover or improvement in forest canopy density may be attributed to better conservation measures, protection, afforestation activities, tree plantation drives and agroforestry.
  • Among the mega cities in the country, Ahmedabad has been the biggest loser when it comes to forest cover.
Forest Area in India – States with Largest Forest Area in India

In terms of area, the list of top 5 states in terms of Largest Forest Area in India are given below:

  • Largest forest in India in terms of area is located in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Odisha
  • Out of the largest forest in India in terms of area, Maharashtra occupies the 5th position.

Forest cover in India (2023)

  • Very dense forest: All land with tree canopy density of 70% and above.
  • Moderately dense forest: All land with tree canopy density of 40% – 70%.
  • Open forest: All land with tree canopy density of 10% – 40%.
Top 5 states/UTs with most forest cover area
  • Madhya Pradesh: 77,493 sq km
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 66,431 sq km
  • Chhattisgarh: 55,717 sq km
  • Odisha: 52,156 sq km
  • Maharashtra: 50,798 sq km
Findings of Forest Report 2021
Some important points
  • The tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of Western Ghats (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka) have the maximum tree and shrub biodiversity followed by the forests of North-east India.
  • Karnataka has the highest tree species richness followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The forest cover assessment is done with the help of the LISS III sensor of ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 satellite.
  • Since satellites assist in conducting the assessment, various factors influence the accuracy of the gathered data.
Significance of Forest Cover
  • Achieving Land degradation neutrality: India’s Prime Minister, at the UN dialogue in 2021, emphasized India’s commitment to land degradation neutrality through expanding forest and tree cover.
    • Grassland development restored land in the Bannin region of Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch.
  • Important ecological functions:Urban tree patches serve vital ecological roles, creating microclimates and habitats for diverse bird species.
  • Pledge of net zero by COP26: it has highlighted the importance of forests as an undisputed mechanism to help mitigate the challenges of climate change.
    • According to a study, Land-based sinks can reduce emissions by up to 37% and limit global warming to below 2°C.
    • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that forests secure approximately 32% of carbon storage.
Government Initiatives for Forest Conservation:
  • National Afforestation Programme
  • Environment Protection Act of 1986
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Extent of Forest and Tree Cover,Extent of Forest and Tree Cover,Extent of Forest and Tree Cover

Also Read : Factors Affecting Forest Growth

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