India State of Forest Report (ISFR)

(Headnote: ISFR is a biennial publication of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India; first ISFR was brought in 1987 and till 2015, 14 ISFRs have been published; forest cover assessment is based on remote sensing supported by intensive ground verification and field data from National Forest Inventory.)

India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017:

(The spatial information given in the report is based on interpretation of LISS-III data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II).)

Forest cover:

  • The terms ‘forest cover’ as used in the ISFR refers to all lands more than one hectare in area with a tree canopy of more than 10% irrespective of land use, ownership and legal status including orchards, bamboo, palm etc.
  • India ranks among the top ten countries of the world in terms of forest area. {Also, as per the latest FAO report, India is placed 8th in the list of Top Ten nations reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area}.
  • There is an increase of 8, 021 sq km (about 80.20 million hectare) in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015. The total forest and tree cover is 24.39 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
  • Much of the increase in the forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest (VDF).
  • Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), followed by Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km) have shown the maximum increase in forest cover.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km). In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33 per cent) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73 per cent).
  • ISFR also reveals that 15 states/UT’s have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover.

Mangrove cover

  • As per the ISFR 2017, the total mangrove cover stands at 4,921 sq km and has shown an increase of 181 sq km. All the 12 mangrove states have shown a positive change in the mangrove cover, as compared to the last assessment.

Carbon stock

  • The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes, which shows an increase of 38 million tonnes, as compared to the previous assessment.

Bamboo Resource

  • The extent of bamboo-bearing area in the country has been estimated at 15.69 million ha. In comparison to the last assessment done in 2011, there has been an increase of 1.73 million ha in bamboo area.  The growing stock of the bamboo in forest has been estimated to be 189 million tonnes. There is an increase of 19 million tonnes in the bamboo-growing stock as compared to the last assessment done in 2011.

Water Bodies

  • The water bodies in forest cover for the decade 2005-2015 have also been assessed. As per the assessment, there is an increase of 2,647 sq km in the extent of water bodies inside forest cover between 2005 to 2015.

Forest Fires

  • Between 2003 and 2016, the forest fires have jumped by almost 38% from 24,450 to 33,664.

Categories: POINT IAS

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