'Forest, tree cover increases by 8021 sq km over last 2 yrs

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The three states that have recorded the maximum increase in forest cover include Andhra Pradesh with 2141 sq km, followed by Karnataka with 1101 sq km and Kerala with 1043 sq km. But unfortunately, six northeastern states including Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim have seen a steep loss of green cover estimated at 630 sq km.

"Work has already started for preparing ISFR 2019", he said.

Ministers Dr Harshvardhan and Dr Mahesh Sharma launched the report in Delhi on Monday. Mishra stated that forests do not exist in isolation and the benefits of the forests must be transferred to the people. Over 11,000sqkm of moderately dense forest degraded into open forests.

However, India has been trying to achieve to put 33 per cent of its geographical area under forest but has failed to do so.

The five states where forest cover has decreased are Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya.

Seven districts lost forest cover between 2015 and 2017 with Bangalore Rural (minus 136 sq km) and Kodagu (minus 102 sq km) recording the maximum loss. All the 12 mangrove states have shown a positive change in the mangrove cover, as compared to the last assessment. Mangrove ecosystem is rich in biodiversity and provides a number of ecological services. Out of this the increase in growing stock, there is an increase of 23.333 million cum inside the forest and 30.657 million cum outside the forest area.

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India has also shown an increase of 39 million tonnes in its carbon stock taking the total stock to 7083 million tonnes in 2017. So far as the dense bamboo area is concerned the State stands third in the country. The increase in bamboo area is attributed to scientific management. It has shown an increase of 181 sq km in 2017 as compared to the last assessment. There is a jump from 42.77m3 in the 2011 assessment to 74.51m3 in timber production in Trees outside Forests (TOF) category. Mizoram is having the maximum land under green cover, says a government report. Forests play a vital role in water conservation and improve the water regime in the area.

Nearly one quarter of India is now covered by either forests or trees, according to new data published by the government.

The report also demonstrates an increase of water bodies within forests by 2,647 sq km in the last 10 years.

Bengal has added 21sqkm forest cover, which FSI officials say can be attributed to plantation activities mostly outside recorded forest areas and because of conservation efforts on the coastal mangrove vegetation. Special thematic information on forest cover such as hill, tribal districts, and north eastern region has also been given separately in the report.

In addition to national level estimates, it is for the first time that the state level estimates of carbon stock have been given under different carbon pools for forest. The results were based on interpretation of satellite data from October 2015 to February 2016.