Context:

  • The India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017 has been recently released.

Background:

  • 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.

Know more about Forest Survey of India 

  • 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,
    • planners,
    • State Forest Departments,
    • line agencies involved in various developmental works,
    • academicians,
    • 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:

(Positive changes)

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:

  • 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).

Water conservation:

  • 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 cover:

  • 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.

Carbon stock:

  • The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes.

(Negative changes)

  • 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.

Conclusion:

  • Thus, the report serves as rightful guide to acknowledge the overall scenario of the country’s forest covers and its related dimensions.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Did you like what you read?

Enter your email address below to get all our updates in your inbox the moment it is published. Once you enter your email address, you will be subscribed immediately.


We do not spam you, so you can easily unsubscribe anytime, by clicking on unsubscribe link in the email.