India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021
The forest and the other natural resources such as soil, water, and air are one of the most important heritage of any nation and contribute significantly to the economic growth of any nation. Thus, keeping track of forest cover is quite essential. This duty is fulfilled by the Ministry of Environment, forest and Climate change (MoEFCC) in India, which publishes a report called the India state of forest report, every 2 years based on the forest-covered across India.
The total forest cover in India is about 24.62% as per the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2021
What is the India State of Forest Report (ISFR)?
The India State of Forest Report is a survey-based report published by the Ministry of Environment, forest and Climate change (MoEFCC) every 2 years. The main purpose of this report is to present the data based on the latest condition of the Indian forests and tree cover. The report is being published every 2 consecutive years since 1987. This report brings up the major concerns about the growth of forests and compliance with other international treaties like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The India State of Forest Report has classified the Forests in India into 3 basic categories based on the density.
- Very Dense Forests, with 70% of canopy density
- Moderately dense forests with 40-70% of the density
- Open forest with 10-40% density
Forests with a density of less than 10% are also considered for the survey but do not fall under the above category in the India State of Forest Report (ISFR).
What are the Major Highlights of the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021?
The data presented in the ISFR 2021, the area is quite promising and shows that the total forest cover of India has increased by 1540 Km2 in the last 2 years i.e. from 2019-2021. While on the other hand, the total tree cover area has also been increased by 721 Km2, and in the tree cover only trees are considered which do not belong to a dedicated forest area. Now at present, in 2021 the total forest area of India has reached almost 713789 Sq. Kilometers.
- In India, there are around 52 tiger reserves and 32 tiger corridors out of which 32 tiger reserves has observed in the total area in the last 10 years while the forest cover in the remaining 20 tiger reserves has increased. But in the IFSR 2021, the forest covers in tigers reserves have increased while it has decreased in the tiger reserved by 0.04%.
- Also, the forest covers in India have increased quite significantly in some areas like Indravati reserves (Chhattisgarh), Buxa (West Bengal), and Annamalai (Tamil Nadu) while observing a decrease in Sundarban Reserve (West Bengal), Kawal (Telangana), Bhadra (Karnataka).
Madhya Pradesh holds the first position with the largest forest cover in India, with Arunachal Pradesh in the second position.
Total Carbon Stock:
The total carbon stock refers to the carbon i.e. being stored in the forest in numerous forms like in biomass, soil, and up to some extent in deadwood and litter. This carbon is captured from the environment and is then stored in the forest. And the total carbon stock of India moved up by 79.4 million tonnes in 2019, thus making up a total carbon stock of around 7204 million as per the IFSR, 2021.
A Mangrove Forest is a forest that is found near sea coasts and trees found here usually grow and survives in saline water. In India, there are 3 states who have the highest mangrove forest cover i.e. Karnataka (3 sq. Km.), Maharashtra (4 Sq Km), and orifice ( 8 Sq Km). While the total Mangrove cover of the nation has increased by 17 Sq Km, thus making up the total mangrove forest cover of the nation to 4992 Sq Km,
Bamboo forests are one the dense forests and they are counted on the basis of culms (or the bamboo stem or pole), and as per the ISFR 2021, the bamboo forests have expanded almost 3 times between 2019-2021 from 13882 million culms in 2019 to 53,336 million culms in 2021.
The forests that are prone to catch fire due to a rise in earth’s temperature come under Fire prone forests. In India there, more than 46% of forests are prone to fire out of which 81% are extremely prone to fire. These fire-prone forests are found all over India but are mainly found in northeastern states like Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, and Nagaland. However, the forests in Ladakh are the most prone to fire.
What are the Alarming Concerns Found in IFSR 2021?
The major concerns found in the IFSR 2021 are below:
- The forest cover of North-East India is depleting every year and also these forests are prone to fire.
- The decline in the forest area in the Northeast region may lead to many natural calamities like landslides, heavy rains, and floods.
- The moderately dense forests also observed a decline in the total forest cover by 1582 Sq Km.
- The area of scrubs has increased significantly in the forests which shows forest degradation.