Suggest measures for the expansion of forest cover in India taking cues from the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021.
The Forest Survey of India publishes an assessment of India’s forest and tree cover every two years. The ISFR is used in policy planning and formulation in the forest management, forestry, and agroforestry sectors. There are three types of forests surveyed: very dense forests (canopy density greater than 70%), moderately dense forests (40-70%), and open forests (10-40 percent). Scrubs (canopy density less than 10%) are also surveyed but are not classified as forests.
- It has assessed forest cover in tiger reserves, tiger corridors, and the Gir forest, which is home to the Asiatic lion for the first time.Between 2011 and 2021, forest cover in tiger corridors increased by 37.15 square kilometres (0.32 percent), but decreased by 22.6 square kilometres (0.04 percent) in tiger reserves.
- The country’s forest and tree cover has increased by 1,540 square kilometres in the last two years. India’s forest cover has increased to 7,13,789 square kilometres, or 21.71 percent of the country’s geographical area, up from 21.67 percent in 2019. The area covered by trees has grown by 721 square kilometres.
- Telangana (3.07 percent), Andhra Pradesh (2.22 percent), and Odisha have seen the greatest increase in forest cover (1.04 percent ). Forest cover has declined in five Northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
- Madhya Pradesh has the most forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra in terms of area. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Nagaland are the top five states in terms of forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area.
- Mangroves have grown by 17 square kilometres. The total area of mangroves in India is now 4,992 square kilometres.
- Forest fires threaten 35.46 percent of the forest cover. 2.81 percent are extremely prone, 7.85 percent are extremely highly prone, and 11.51 percent are highly prone.
- Climate change and rising temperatures will affect 45-64 percent of India’s forests by 2030.
- The total carbon stock in the country’s forests is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes, a 79.4 million-tonne increase since 2019.
- Bamboo forests have increased in size from 13,882 million culms (stems) in 2019 to 53,336 million culms in 2021.
- There is a 1,582 square kilometre decrease in moderately thick woods, sometimes known as “natural forests.” The reduction, along with a rise of 2,621 square kilometres in open forest areas, indicates that the country’s forests are degrading. In addition, the scrub area has grown by 5,320 square kilometres, suggesting that the woods in these places have completely degraded.
- The forest cover in the northeast area has decreased by 1,020 square kilometres. The Northeast comprises 7.98% of total geographical area but 23.75% of total forest cover. The loss has been ascribed to a series of natural disasters in the region, including landslides and severe rains, as well as manmade activity such as shifting agriculture, pressure from construction operations, and tree removal.
- Forest variability and optimal sample size for estimating Growing Stock in various areas of the country: a ready reckoner for Working Plan development or any other forest resource assessment task
- A new grid-based algorithm for detecting locations of changes in forest vegetation in a pin pointed manner over large landscapes.
- Rapid assessment of fire-affected forest areas in the country based on MODIS-detections following a sampling approach
- A new approach has been devised to determine the country’s TOF(Trees Outside Forest Resource) resources and the breadth of the Fret region. Furthermore, the potential yearly production from TOF wood has been calculated.
- India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of producing an extra carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through increased forest and tree cover: Possibilities, size, and costs for developing plan
- The provisions in draft NFP 2021 include substantially increasing the tree cover outside forests by incentivising and promoting agro-forestry and farm forestry; managing and expanding green spaces in urban and peri-urban areas to enhance citizens’ well-being; plantation of trees outside forests in partnership with local communities, land-owning agencies, and private enterprises; creation, sustainable management and promotion of urban forests (woodlands, gardens, avenue plantations, herbal gardens, etc.) as an integral component of urban habitat planning and development; afforestation/reforestation in public-private partnership (PPP) mode; promotion of urban forests, which include woodlands, wetlands, parks, tree groves, tree garden, plantations in institutional areas, on avenues and around water bodies, etc.
Notwithstanding these gains, the goal of 33 per cent area under forest and tree cover as per the National Forest Policy, 1988, remains to be achieved. In the present scenario, the possibility of a sizeable increase in forest cover is limited due to the inelasticity of forest land. However, the balance of 9 per cent can be achieved through taking up plantation/afforestation outside the forests and restocking/plantation in degraded and scrub forests.
How to structure
- Give an intro about forest cover in India
- Explain the major points from the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021.
- Suggest measures for the expansion of forest cover from the report