Andalib Akhter / NEW DELHI
India’s total forest cover increased by mere 0.2 per cent in the last two years, revealed the State of Forest Report 2017, released by the Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan and Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) here today.
The 15th State of Forest Report shows that India’s total forest cover increased by 0.2 per cent, from 7,01,673 square kilometers to 7,08,273 square kilometers since its last assessment in 2015. The biannual report is prepared by The Forest Survey of India (FSI), a body under MoEFCC, which conducts surveys and assessment of forest resources in the country.
Releasing the report Dr Harsh Vardhan said, India was among the top 10 countries of the world, both in terms of total forest area and the growth in the forest area.
The report reveals that Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have shown significant increase in forest cover due to successful agro forestry practices, increase in mangrove cover, better conservation and protection practices.
The minister said, there is also increase of 1.73 million hectare in bamboo cover. He said, the total Mangrove cover in the country is 4,921 square kilometre with an increase of 181 square kilometre.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, all Mangrove States and Union territories have shown an increase in Mangrove cover.
He said, it is a matter of cheer that there is decreasing trend of forest and tree cover in other countries of the world but India has shown an increasing trend.
The Minister said, he is impressed that India State of Forest Report is not like a routine report but prepared with a meticulous and scientific approach with the help of scientific tools.
The report gives information about forest cover of the country and provides separate information on forest cover for tribal, hill districts, north eastern states and gives information on forest fire and bamboo resources of the country.
In his address, Minister of State for Environment and Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, the increase in the forest cover is a matter of great pleasure.
He said, conservation of forests helps conserve water bodies and sequester carbon.