The forest and tree cover in India is now 8,09,537 sq kms, which is 24.62 per cent of the country's geographical area and 1,540 sq kms more compared to the 2019 assessment, said the India State of Forest Report 2021, released by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav at a virtual ceremony on Thursday.
The total forest cover is 7,13,789 sq kms, which is 21.71 per cent of the geographical area of the country while tree cover is 95,748 sq kms (2.91 per cent of GA). This is an increase of 2,261 sq kms (0.28 per cent) in total forest and tree cover in the country compared to the 2019 assessment.
The area under Very Dense Forest, Moderately Dense Forest and Open Forest is 99,779 sq kms, which is 3.04 per cent of the geographical area (GA), 3,06,890 sq kms (9.33 per cent of GA) and 3,07,120 sq kms (9.34 per cent of GA) respectively.
The top five states in terms of increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq kms, Telangana (632 sq kms), Odisha (537 sq kms), Karnataka (155 sq kms) and Jharkhand (110 sq kms).
The country's tree cover (small patches outside forests) which is on the rise, is estimated to be 95,748 sq km, or 2.91 per cent of GA. There is an increase of 721 sq kms in the vegetative cover as compared to the 2019 data, the report said.
An important aspect highlighted in the report is the mangrove cover for the vast 7,500 kms coastline spread over 12 states and Union Territories. The latest report mentions that the mangrove cover is 4,992 sq kms, which is 0.15 per cent of the GA. There has been a net increase of 17 sq kms in the mangrove cover compared to 2019. Odisha (8 sq kms) and Maharashtra (4 sq kms) have shown significant improvement.
Total number of bamboo culms has increased by 13,882 million since 2019. The total estimated green weight of bamboo culms at the national level is 402 million tonnes. The present assessment observed an increase of about 124 million tonnes equivalent green weight of bamboo as compared to the previous assessment.