About India State of Forest Report
• Forest Survey of India (FSI) an organization under the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change Government of India has been assessing the forest and tree resources of our country on a biennial basis since 1987.
• The results of the assessment are published in its biennial report titled “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”.
• The report contains information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock inside and outside the forest areas, carbon stock in India’s forests and forest cover in different patch size classes.
• Special thematic information on forest cover such as hill, tribal districts, and north eastern region are also includedseparately in the report.
• Currently in the ISFR, the government includes both trees grown in forest and outside forest towards estimating the portion of India’s geographical area covered by forest.
Highlights of the Indian state of Forest reports
• India has targeted since 1988 to have at least 33% of its area under forest cover but it is not able to achieve this goal.
• According to the recent India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017, India has about 7,08,273 sq.km. of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country (32,87,569 sq. km.).
• India achieved a marginal 0.21% rise in the area under forest from 7,01,673 Sq. km. to 7,08,273 sq.km between 2015 and 2017.
• The total tree cover, according to this assessment, was 93,815 sq. km. or a 2% rise from the approximately 92,500 sq. km. in 2015.
• The information given in the report serves as an important tool to monitor the country’s forest resources and plan suitable scientific and policy interventions for its management.
• It also serves as a useful source of information for the policy makers and others interested in natural resource conservation and management.
• Various editions of the ISFR over the years highlights that the reported the area under forests has remained around 21% only.
• So the government started including substantial patches of trees such as plantations or greenlands outside areas designated as forests, in its estimation of total forest cover.
• Critics considered this move of including both inestimating the India’s geographical forest cover area an ecologically unsound principle.
• They have for long recommended to separate estimate tree cover inside the forest and outside it for reflecting a true picture of forest cover of the country.
• Now, this is the first time that a government constituted committee has recommended for a separate survey of designated forest area.
Highlights of the news
• A highpower committee was constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
• The committee has recommended that forest surveys to estimate forest cover should separately estimate trees grown in forests from those grown outside, that is, in plantations and private lands.
o This will give a true picture of geographical area covered under forest in our country.
o Efforts made to achieve the 33% forest cover target can be monitored and evaluated.
o Effective planning can be done in order to achieve the 33% forest cover target.
o It will also serve as a useful source of information for all those involved in natural resource conservation and management.
Section : Environment & Ecology