- The India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017 has been recently released.
- 12th February, 2018: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017 and it is 15thsuch report in the series.
- The spatial information given in the report is based on interpretation of LISS-III data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II).
- Satellite data for the entire country was procured from NRSC for the period October, 2015 – February, 2016.
- The satellite data interpretation is verified by ground truthing.
The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 covers:
- Forest for sixteen States/ UTs within and outside the recorded forest areas,
- Information on forest for 633 districts, using updated district boundaries and Open Series Maps from Survey of India (as per Census 2001),
- Water bodies in the forests over a period of ten years (2005-2015),
- Real time monitoring of forest fire,
- Burnt area assessment,
- Pre fire alerts,
- Annual potential production of timber from Trees outside Forest (TOF),
- Total extent of bamboo areas and net stock of bamboo at the state and national level, and
- Carbon stock in India’s Forests at State Level.
India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 is useful in the following ways:
- Source of information for:
- policy makers,
- State Forest Departments,
- line agencies involved in various developmental works,
- civil society and
- others interested in natural resource conservation and management.
- It will also help to:
- Understand the changing dynamics of forest cover, mangroves and bamboo areas within and outside the recorded forest area,
- Understand the role of forests in maintaining hydrological balance and river flows,
- Curb forest fires and its underpinnings, and
- Analyse and develop strategies for achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target.
Key findings of the report:
Forest and Tree Cover:
- Forest and Tree Cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km (1 %) as compared to assessment of 2015.
Very dense forest:
- The very dense forest has increased by 36 % as compared to last assessment.
- Forest cover has increased in:
- Andhra Pradesh (2,141 sqkms),
- Karnataka (1,101 sqkms),
- Kerala (1,043 sqkms),
- Odisha (885 sqkms) and
- Telangana (565 sqkms).
- Water bodies inside forest cover have increased by 2,647 sqkms during the last decade.
- States showing increase in water bodies within forest areas:
- Maharashtra (432 sqkms),
- Gujarat (428 sqkms),
- Madhya Pradesh (389 sqkms).
- State Forest Departments have also undertaken steps to improve water conservation through different interventions such as building Check dams, vegetation barriers, percolation ponds, contour trenches etc. under various Central & State Government schemes.
- Mangrove forests have increased by 181 sqkms.
- States showing increase in terms of mangrove cover:
- Maharashtra (82 sqkms),
- Andhra Pradesh (37 sqkms) and
- Gujarat (33 sqkms).
- Please note: Mangroves play a major role in protecting coastal areas from erosion, tidal storms and tsunamis.
Nationally Determined Contributions:
- India is striving towards achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goal of creating additional carbon sink of 5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes.
- Forests in most of the biodiversity-rich north-eastern part of the country have been contracting continuously over the last few years.
- Forest cover has decreased in:
- Mizoram (531 sq km),
- Nagaland (450 sq km),
- Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km),
- Tripura (164 sq km) and
- Meghalaya (116 sq km).
- It is important to mention here that these states are in the North Eastern region of the country where the total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state.
Reasons behind the increase of forest and tree cover are:
- The national policies,
- Agro-forestry practices,
- Better conservation of forests,
- Improvement of scrub areas to forest areas,
- Increase in mangrove cover,
- Conservation and
- Protection activities have also led to increase in the forest and tree cover and
- Green Highways (Plantations & Maintenance) Policy
- Please note: Green Highways (Plantations & Maintenance) Policy aims develop 1, 40,000 km long tree line with plantation along with both sides of national highways.
Reasons behind the decrease of forest and tree cover are:
- Shifting cultivation,
- Other biotic pressures,
- Rotational felling,
- Diversion of forest lands for developmental activities,
- Submergence of forest cover,
- Agriculture expansion and
- Natural disasters.
- Thus, the report serves as rightful guide to acknowledge the overall scenario of the country’s forest covers and its related dimensions.