• Background:
  • The biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)” was released by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • The Forest Survey of India (FSI), which has been tasked with assessing the country’s forest and tree resources, including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping on a biennial basis, has released the report.
  • So far, 16 assessments have been performed since 1987. The ISFR 2019 report is the 16th in the series.
  • The ISFR 2019 report is the 16th in the series.
  • FSI’s assessment is mostly based on digital data, whether it be satellite data, vector boundaries of districts, or data processing of field measurements, in line with the Government of India’s vision of Digital India.
  • The following are some of the advantages of these reports:
  • The fundamental goal of the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) is to maintain environmental stability and ecological balance, particularly atmospheric equilibrium, which are essential for the survival of all living forms, including humans, animals, and plants.
  • The pursuit of direct economic profit must take a back seat to this primary goal.
  • Forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock inside and outside forest regions, carbon stock in India’s forests, Forest Types and Biodiversity, Forest Fire Monitoring, and forest cover at various slopes and elevations are all included in the report.
  • The study also includes special theme information on forest cover, such as hill, tribal districts, and the north eastern region.
  • The interpretation of satellite data is followed by thorough ground truthing. Other sources of information are also employed to increase the accuracy of the interpreted image.
  • The following are some of the major findings of the 2019 “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”:
  • Area-wise Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra have the most forest cover in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra.
  • Mizoram (85.41 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63 percent), Meghalaya (76.33 percent), Manipur (75.46 percent), and Nagaland are the top five states in terms of forest cover as a proportion of total geographical area (75.31 percent ).
  • Mangrove habitats are unusual in that they are rich in biodiversity and provide a variety of ecological functions.
  • Mangrove cover has been independently recorded in the ISFR 2019, with a total of 4,975 sq km of mangrove cover in the country.
  • In comparison to the previous assessment in 2017, there has been a 54-square-kilometer increase in mangrove cover.
  • Gujarat (37 sq km), Maharashtra (16 sq km), and Odisha (14 sq km) are the top three states with increasing mangrove cover (8 sq km).
  • According to the current assessment, the total carbon stock in the country’s forest is expected to be 7,124.6 million tonnes, an increase of 42.6 million tonnes over the previous assessment in 2017.
  • The carbon stock increases by 21.3 million tonnes each year, or 78.2 million tonnes CO2 equivalent.
  • Wetlands inside forest areas form important ecosystems and contribute to the diversity of faunal and floral species in forest environments.
  • Because of the importance of wetlands, FSI conducted a national operation to find wetlands larger than 1 hectare inside RFA.
  • Within the RFA/GW of the country, there are 62,466 wetlands that cover 3.8 percent of the land.
  • Tribal District Forest Cover:
  • The tribal districts have a total forest cover of 4,22,351 sq km, accounting for 37.54 percent of their geographical area.
  • Within the Recorded Forest Area/Green Wash (RFA/GW) in the tribal districts, forest cover has decreased by 741 square kilometers, whereas outside the RFA/GW, forest cover has increased by 1,922 square kilometers.
  • There has been a decrease in tree cover inside forests as a result of tribal inhabitants receiving “land titles” (patta), while there has been an increase in tree cover outside the forest due to increased tree plantation and afforestation activities.
  • Forest Cover Loss in the North Eastern States:
  • The North Eastern region has a total forest cover of 1,70,541 sq km, or 65.05 percent of its geographical area.
  • The region’s forest cover has shrunk by 765 square kilometers (0.45 percent). With the exception of Assam and Tripura, all of the states in the region have seen a reduction in forest cover.
  • The following are the primary goals that must be met in order to improve green cover:
  • Environmental stability is maintained by preserving and, when required, restoring the ecological equilibrium that has been badly affected by the country’s severe deforestation.
  • Checking soil erosion and denudation in river, lake, and reservoir catchment areas in the “interest of soil and water conservation, flood and drought mitigation, and reservoir siltation prevention.”
  • Examining the extent of sand dunes in Rajasthan’s desert areas and along coastal stretches.
  • Massive afforestation and social forestry programs, notably on all denuded, degraded, and unproductive lands, to significantly increase the country’s forest/tree cover.
  • Meeting the needs of rural and tribal people for fuel wood, forage, minor forest produce, and small timber.
  • Increasing forest productivity to meet critical national demands.
  • Encourages effective use of forest products and maximizes wood substitution.
  • Creating a major people’s movement, with women at the forefront, to achieve these goals and reduce pressure on existing forests.
  • Conserving the country’s natural heritage through maintaining the country’s remaining natural forests, which contain a diverse range of flora and fauna and symbolize the country’s exceptional biological richness and genetic resources.
  • Conclusion:
  • India is one of the few countries in the world where forest cover continues to grow.
  • According to current estimates, the country’s total forest and tree cover is 80.73 million hectares, or 24.56 percent of its geographical area.
  • Karnataka (1,025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km), J&K (371 sq km), and Himachal Pradesh are the top five states with increased forest cover (334 sq km)
  • This is really encouraging for us, as it implies we are on track to meet our Paris Agreement pledge of 2.5-3 billion carbon sinks, according to the government.

Source The Hindu

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