The Union Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change Mr. Prakash Javadekar released the biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019”, in New Delhi.

The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI). ISFR 2019 is the 16th report in the series. First Report in 1987

India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019 Analysis

Total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.73 million hectare which is 24.56 percent of the geographical area of the country.

As compared to the 2017 report, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country. “Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 3,976 sq km and that in tree cover is 1,212 sq. Km.

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As per ISFR

Forest Cover – All lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm.

Tree Cover – It comprises of tree patches of size less than 1 ha occurring outside the recorded forest area. Tree cover includes trees in all formations including scattered trees.

Range increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and moderately dense forest

Dense Forest – All lands with a forest cover having a canopy density of 40 percent and above.

Canopy – The cover of branches and foliage formed by crowns of trees.

Canopy Cover – The percentage of ground covered by a vertical projection of outermost perimeter of natural spread of foliage of plants.

Canopy Density – Percent area of land covered by canopy of trees.

Moderately Dense Forest –  All lands with forest cover having a canopy density between 40 to 70 percent.

Open Forest – Lands with forest cover having a canopy density between 10 to 40 percent

The total forest cover of the country, as per current assessment is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of the total geographic area of the country.

Top three states showing increase in forest cover are

Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by

Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and

Kerala (823 sq km).

Largest forest cover in the country area wise :

Madhya Pradesh 

 Arunachal Pradesh,

Chhattisgarh,

Odisha and

Maharashtra.

Forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are

Mizoram (85.41%),

Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%),

Meghalaya (76.33%),

Manipur (75.46%) and

Nagaland (75.31%).

Mangrove cover

It has been separately reported in the ISFR 2019

 total mangrove cover in the country is 4,975 sq km. 

An increase of 54 sq Km in mangrove cover as compared to the previous assessment of 2017.

Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are

Gujarat (37 sq km) followed by

Maharashtra (16 sq km) and

Odisha (8 sq km).

Wetlands

Due to importance of wetlands, FSI has carried out an exercise at the national level to identify wetlands of more than 1 ha within RFA. 

There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.8% of the area within the RFA/GW of the country.

METHODOLOGY used for this survey

FSI’s assessment is largely based on digital data

Data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II) with the scale of interpretation 1:50,000 to monitor forest cover and forest cover changes at District, State and National level.

Satellite data for the entire country was procured from NRSC(National remote Sensing centre). Information from other collateral sources are also used to improve the accuracy of the interpreted image.  

For the first time, Ortho-rectified satellite data has been used for forest cover mapping due to its better positional accuracy as it removes effects of image perspective (tilt) and relief (terrain) and scale distortions in the image to represent features in its true positions for accurate measurement of distances, angels and areas.

Accuracy of Data :

The accuracy level achieved in the current assessment is the highest amongst all the previous assessments.

The accuracy of forest cover classification has been assessed 93.17% .

The accuracy of classification between forest and non-forest classes has been assessed 97.20%.

Fire prone forest areas

The present report also gives information on the fire prone forest areas of different severity classes,

This would enable the govt to manage and control forest fires effectively in the respective States.

Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP)

They are important source of livelihood for many tribal communities and villagers living in the proximity of forests.

A new information has been generated from the national forest inventory data about the top five NTFP species in each State & UT

Points to be remembered

FSI, in a first ever attempt has carried out a rapid assessment of biodiversity for all the States and UTs (except two) and for all the sixteen Forest Type Groups as per Champion & Seth Classification (1968).

Apart from the number of tree, shrub and herb species as observed in the survey, Shanon Wienner Index which gives species richness along with the relative abundance, has also been calculated for each forest type groups in each State & UT.

FSI has carried out mapping of forest types of India as per the Champion & Seth Classification (1968), for the first time in the year 2011 based on the base line forest cover data of 2005.

Forest Survey of India (FSI)

It is a national organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.

Established on 1st June 1981

Headquarter at Dehradun and

four regional offices at Shimla, Kolkata, Nagpur and Bangalore.

The Eastern zone has a sub center at Burnihat.

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