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Overview of India Forest


Forest Survey of India estimates the forest cover of the country at "63.73 million ha constituting 19.39% of the geographic area of the country out of which 37.74 million ha (11.48%) is dense forest, 25.50 million ha (7.76%) open forest and 0.49 million ha (0.15%) mangroves. Madhya Pradesh accounts for the largest forest cover of the country i.e. 20.68% followed by Arunachal Pradesh (10.80%), Orissa (7.38%), Maharashtra (7.32%) and Andhra Pradesh (6.94%). The seven North-Eastern states together comprise 25.70% of the total forest cover."

An FSI report notes that the forest coverage of the country has shown a net increase of 3,3896 sq km during the period from 1997 (year of last survey conducted) to 1999. It was found out that the area of dense forest has increased by 10,098 sq.km; that of mangroves by 44 sq km.However the increase in the forest coverage is not uniform for all the states. Some states registered a net gain in the forest area while others show a declining trend.

For instance, " in Andhra Pradesh, net increase of 939 sq.km. in forest cover has occurred in 5 years (1993-98), whereas in Mizoram, loss of 437 sq.km has occurred in 4 years (1994-98). Other states where gains have been recorded are; Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan Tripura, U.P., West Bengal and Delhi. The states where forest cover has declined are Assam, Bihar, Goa, Mizoram, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Dadar Nagar Haveli."

The FSI observes that the reasons for gains and losses are varied and many. Inclusion of established large block plantations in the forest cover, improvement in the density of forest due to Joint Forest Management and natural regeneration of mangroves have been instrumental in the increasing of forest area. Negative growth are attributed to shifting cultivation, encroachment and tree fellings.

The following is the comprehensive list of the statewise forest coverage in sq. km:

Sl. No. States/Union Territories Forest Coverage(Sq.Km.)
1 Andhra Pradesh 47112
2 Arunachal Pradesh 68621
3 Assam 24061
4 Bihar 26561
5 Goa 1250
6 Gujarat 12320
7 Haryana 603
8 Himachal Pradesh 12501
9 Karnataka 32382
10 Kerala 10366
11 Madhya Pradesh 135164
12 Maharashtra 43843
13 Manipur 17558
14 Meghalaya 15714
15 Mizoram 18576
16 Nagaland 14291
17 Orissa 47107
18 Punjab 1.34
19 Rajasthan 13280
20 Sikkim 3127
21 Tamil Nadu 17.77
22 Tripura 5538
23 Uttar Pradesh 33986
24 West Bengal 8276
1 Andaman & Nicobar Islands 7615
2 Chandigarh 7
3 Dadra & Nagar Haveli 204
4 Daman & Diu 3
5 Delhi  (National Capital Territory) 26
6 Pondicherry N.A.
7 Lakshadweep N.A.

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