General Studies Current Events 07

General Studies (Current Events): India State Of Forest Report 2019

General Studies Current Events 07: The Union Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forest on December 30, released the biennial report India State of Forest Report 2019. The report is prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI)

Key Findings

  • The total Forest and Tree cover of the country is 8,07,276 sq km which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
  • The current assessment shows an increase of 3,976 sq km (0.56%) of forest cover, 1,212 sq km
  • (1.29%) of tree cover and 5,188 sq km (0.65%) of forest and tree cover put together, at the national level as compared to the previous assessment i.e. ISFR 2017.
  • Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
  • India aims to bring 33% of its geographical area under forest cover
  • In 2017, total forest cover (TFC) of India stood at 21.54% of the total geographical area (TGA) of the country; it increased slightly o 21.67 per cent of TGA in 2019.
  • In 2011, the TFC in India was 6,92,027 sq km.

Soil Organic Carbon (SOC): It represents the largest pool of carbon stock in forests, which has been estimated 4,004 million tonnes. The SOC contributes 56% to the total forest carbon stock of the country.

Concerns of Growth Pattern of India’s Forests

General Studies Current Events 07: UPSC 2020 Prelims cum mains Pointers

  • In terms of canopy density classes, area covered by VDFs (Very Dense Forest) is 99,278 sq km (3.02 per cent), MDFs (Moderately Dense Forest) is 3,08,472 sq km (9.39 per cent) and OFs (Open Forest) is 3,04,499 sq km (9.26 per cent).
  • There has been a consistent increase in the area under the OF category; OF category includes commercial plantations.
  • Growth in the OF category is happening at the cost of the MDF category; MDF category happens to be closer to human habitations
  • Area under the OF category recorded a 5.7% growth this decade, but the area under MDF category recorded a negative growth of 3.8% during the same period.
  • During this decade, India’s open forests recorded a positive growth, it grew by 0.86% between 2011-2013; there was a further increase by 1.60 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

Performance of States

General Studies Current Events 07: UPSC 2020 Prelims Pointers

  • According to the report, the top three states in terms of forest cover are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
  • While Karnataka grew the maximum forest-and-tree cover at 1,025 sq km, Andhra Pradesh grew a 990-sq. km cover and a 823-sq. km of forest cover was created by Kerala in the last two years.
  • In terms of growth, fourth and fifth positions are occupied by Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh respectively.
  • Except Assam and Tripura. forest area cover decreased in all north-eastern states.

Remember This

Every two years, Forest Survey of India (FSI) undertakes assessment of country’s forest resources, the results of which are presented as the ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR)’. Since 1987, 15 such assessments have been completed and the current assessment is the 16th in the series.


General Studies Current Events 07: UPSC 2020 Prelims Pointers

  • Very Dense Forest: Lands with forest cover having a canopy density of 70 per cent and above.
  • Trees Outside Forests (TOF): TOF refers to all trees growing outside recorded forest areas irrespective of patch size.
  • Tree Cover: It comprises of tree patches of size less than 1 ha occurring outside the recorded forest area. Tree cover includes trees in all formations including scattered trees.
  • Tree: A large woody perennial plant having a single well-defined stem (bole or trunk) and more or less definite crown. It also includes bamboos, palms, fruit trees, etc. and excludes non-perennial non-woody species like banana and tall shrubs or climbers. For the purpose of assessing growing stock and tree cover, only those trees having diameter at breast height (dbh) of 10 cm or more are measured.
  • Soil Organic Matter (SOM): It is the organic component of soil containing small plants residues, small living soil organism and decomposed organic matter.
  • Reserved Forests: An area so constituted under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act or other State Forest Acts, having full degree of protection. In Reserved forests all activities are prohibited unless permitted.
  • Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs): It is defined as product or service other than timber that is produced in forests. NTFPs are useful materials or commodities obtained from forests without harvesting (logging) of trees.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC): NDC articulates commitments by each country to reduce its national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Countries across the globe adopted this international climate agreement at UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
  • Moderately Dense Forest: All lands with forest cover having a canopy density between 40 to 70 percent
  • Forest Cover: All lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm.

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