Prakash Javadekar Photograph:( ANI )
According to the report, there has been an increase of 5,188 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country, when compared to the 2017 assessment.
India has increased its total forest cover by 13,000 square kilometres in the past four years, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javdekar said on Monday, adding that his ministry is on the right track to further increase the green cover in the country.
Speaking on the occasion of the release of India State of Forest Report (2019) here, Javdekar said, "India is one of the leading countries in the world which has increased the total forest cover. We have increased it by 13,000 sq kilometres, including that in very dense forest, moderately dense forest and outside forests. This is a big achievement for the nation."
According to the report, there has been an increase of 5,188 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country, when compared to the 2017 assessment. In addition, the tree cover has seen an increase of 1,212 sq km, while the forest cover has increased by 3,976 sq km.
Under the current assessment, the total carbon stock in country's forest is estimated 7,124.6 million tonnes and there has been an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the assessment of 2017, the report read.
Javadekar credited the Ujjawala scheme for the decline in fuelwood dependence. "According to the study, the per capita fuelwood dependence from forests in the forest fringe villages shows a declining trend."
The top three states showing an increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq km), followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km), according to the report.
Mangrove cover has been separately reported in the ISFR 2019. The total mangrove cover in the country is 4,975 sq km. An increase of 54 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2017. Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Gujarat (37 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (16 sq km) and Odisha (8 sq km).
The total growing stock of woods in the country is estimated 5,915.76 million cum, of which, 4,273.47 million cum is inside the forests while 1,642.29 million cum is outside. There is an increase of 93.38 million cum of total growing stock, compared to the previous assessment.
The extent of the bamboo bearing area of the country has been estimated 16.00 million hectares. The total estimated green weight of bamboo culms is 278 million tonnes, showing an increase of 88 million tonnes as compared to ISFR 2017, the report noted.