India's forest cover has increased by 1.29% from 2009 to 2015, reports Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: India's forest cover stood at 21.34 percent in 2015, an increase of 1.29 percent from 2009, according to a government report on the environment.

The 'Status of Environment Report, India 2015', released by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan at the state environment ministers’ conference on Monday said the forests and tree cover together constitute about 24.16 percent of the country's geographical area.

As per the latest estimate by Forest Survey of India (FSI), in 2015 the forest cover stood at 21.34 percent of India's total geographical area with a marginal rise from 20.05 percent in 2009.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Mizoram, with 89 percent, has the highest forest cover among the states and Union Territories (UT).

It is followed by Lakshadweep (84.56 percent), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (82 percent), and Arunachal Pradesh (80 percent), according to the report.

Among the group of 15 states and Union Territories which have a forest cover of more than 33 percent, Assam's forest cover at 35 percent was the lowest in the list.

The forest cover of the country has increased from 692,027 square kilometres in 2010 to 701,673 square kilometres in 2015, the report said.

The FSI defines forests as all lands — more than one hectare in area — with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent.

Out of the total forest cover, moderately dense forests cover 9.59 percent of the total geographical area and very dense forests cover only 2.61 percent, the report said.

There has been a net increase of forest cover in hill states, according to the report.

Degraded forest land with canopy density less than 10 percent is classified as scrub. The area under scrub is reported to be 41,362 square kilometres, which is 1.26 percent of the total geographical area of the country. Scrub does not fall within the classification of forests.

The northeastern states account for one-fourth of the country's forest cover.

There had been a net decline of 628 square kilometres in forest cover and an increase of 112 square kilometres in mangroves, as compared with 2009.

Madhya Pradesh has the maximum forest cover of 72,462 square kilometres in the country, it said.

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2018 19:29:06 IST

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