Saturday, 14 January 2012

India’s forest cover Decline during 2007 and 2009: FSI Study

Written by Anil Singh

India's forest cover has declined by 367 sq km between 2007 and 2009, according to the 2011 report of the Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India, submitted to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

Although the figure may not seem alarming, does it counter the impression that afforestation and conservation programmes are giving results?

The largest decline in the forest cover was in the northeast. The Northeast lost 550 sq km.
Maximum reduction in forest cover has been reported from insurgency-hit Manipur.

Manipur lost a total of 190 sq km; followed by Nagaland (146 sq km). The forest cover depletion is equally worrying in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

The last FSI report in 2009 showed forest cover in the northeast had increased from 1,69,825 sq km in 2005 to 1,70,423 sq km in 2007 -- an annual increase of 299 sq km over two years.

According to experts, the reasons behind the sharp fall in forest cover range from forest areas in the region inhabited by tribals and locals cleared for Jhum cultivation, threat of organized wood smugglers and mafia.

But the States like Punjab, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan where social forestry projects seem to have worked to some extent, made up for the depleted Green cover in Northeast, at least to some extent.

The national Capital Delhi has no change in the forest cover, informs the report.

Courtesy social forestry projects, the forest cover has increased by 100 sq km during 2007 and 2009 in Punjab, says the report [The government is pushing agro forestry activities. If satellite imagery establishes at least 10% area in a hectare is under forest, FSI designates it as forest cover].

Haryana and Himachal Pradesh reported slight increase in forest cover as well - 14 and 11 sq km respectively.

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