States fall short of target to improve forest cover, quality

Source: The post is based on the article “States fall short of target to improve forest cover, quality” published in The Hindu on 27th January 2023

What is the News?

India is lagging behind in the targets to increase the number and quality of tree- and forest-cover plantations set in the Green India Mission.

What is the National Mission for a Green India(GIM)?

It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. 

Aim: To protect, restore and enhance India’s forest cover and respond to climate change.

Target: The target under the Mission is 10 million hectares (mha) of forest and non-forest lands for increasing the forest and tree cover and improving the quality of existing forests. 

– Improving tree cover is critical to sequester carbon and bolster India’s carbon stocks as part of its international commitments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

What has been the progress on the targets under the Green India Mission?

From 2015-16 to 2021-22, the Centre had approved a target of increasing tree and forest cover by 53,377 hectares and improving the quality of the degraded forest by 1,66,656 ha.

However, as of December 2022, tree/forest cover had increased by 26,287 hectares and forest quality improved by only 1,02,096 hectares.

The States with a significant shortfall in tree cover include Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala.

What does the India State of Forest Report-2021 say on Forest Cover?

As per the India State of Forest Report-2021, forest and tree cover in the country has increased by 2,261 square kilometers since the last assessment in 2019.

India’s total forest and tree cover was 80.9 million hectares, which accounted for 24.62% of the geographical area of the country.

The report said 17 States and Union Territories had more than 33% of their area under forest cover. 

Madhya Pradesh had the largest forest cover, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra.

The top five States in terms of forest cover as a percentage of their total geographical area were Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76%), Manipur (74.34%) and Nagaland (73.9%).

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