The country’s forest and tree cover has increased by 8,021 sq km or 1% since it was last surveyed in 2015, the India State of Forest Report said. The document, which is released every two years, attributed the rise to the Central government’s conservation and sustainable management policies.
The states where forest and tree cover had increased the most are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Telangana, the report said. Forest cover grew by 6,778 sqkm and tree cover by 1,243 sqkm. The survey included natural forests as well as commercial plantations and tree patches.
Meanwhile, forest and tree cover declined in several states in the Northeastern region. The decline was seen in Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya. The report attributed it to several factors, including shifting cultivation and conversion of forest lands for development projects in the states. The report specified that the decrease in forest cover may be more prominent as forest and tree cover comprise more than 70% area in each state.
The study found that the very dense forest category had also increased by 1.36% since the last report. The document credited the Centre’s Green India Mission, National Agro-Forestry policy, REDD plus policy, Joint Forest Management, National Afforestation Programme and funds under Compensatory Afforestation to States for the rise.