Forest Cover Increases in India, Still Far from the Actual Target

Forest Cover Increases in India, Still Far from the Actual Target
The forest cover in the country has risen since 2017.
Forest Cover Increases in India, Still Far from the Actual Target
The forest cover in the country has risen since 2017.

Forests play a significant role in the survival of human beings. Apart from providing habitat to the animals, it is also a means of livelihood for humans. Forests are a boon for everyone on this planet. It also offers watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and make our environment healthy. Despite depending on forests, we are cutting them mercilessly.

India’s forest cover size alarming

At least 33 per cent of the geographical area of a country should come under the forest cover for maintaining balance in the environment. Unfortunately, India is far behind, and it has a meagre 21.67 per cent of the areas covered under forest, which is marginally increased from 21.54 per cent in 2017. However, it is far from satisfactory. India’s 712,249 square kilometres (sq km) areas are covered under forest as per the data released on 30 December 2019, by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.

The 33% target looks tough to meet

India is targeting to cover 33 per cent of its geographical area under forest cover. The National forest policy has been planning to cover 60 per cent land in hilly and 20 per cent in plains regions respectively under the forest cover. If India succeeds in its mission, then hopefully the country may achieve its 33 per cent target in future. However, the goal is far away and a daunting task to achieve, seeing the crippling nature of the government’s policy.

No concrete step

Talks are in the air to raise the forest cover in the country for the last two decades, but lacking the positive results. The Central and various state governments are not looking serious about elevating the forest cover. Therefore, the percentage of forest cover is not speeding up. Most Indians, especially those who are living in urban areas, are on the receiving end facing the challenges due to dearth of forests. Our environment is polluted, so unknown ailments are penetrating among the people of all age groups.

18% jungle cut in North East

The picture in the North Eastern States is gloomy as well as alarming. The forest cover in six states, excluding Assam has gone down by nearly 18 per cent between 2011 and 2019. As per the data received, 25,012 sq km of forest cover have been lost in the last decade.

Biggst forest cover in MP

Madhya Pradesh (MP) has stolen the show because it has been declared as the most abundant forest cover in the country. Its forest cover has gone up with a marginal 0.03% increase in comparison to the previous year. The latest report released by the Union Minister of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javdekar, on Monday showed that forest cover of the state has gone up by 68.49 sq km. As per the Forest Survey of India (FSI) report total area of the state under forest cover is 77482.49 sq km which is 25.14% of the geographical area of Madhya Pradesh.

Top states in forest preservation

According to area-wise report, states with top forest cover areas are – Madhya Pradesh (leading in forest cover in the country), Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.

The minister has also revealed while releasing the report that Karnataka (with 1,025 sq. km forest area) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km) are the other states which have shown some positive sign as far as the increase in forest cover is concerned.

Punjab-Haryana lowest forest cover

Some of the states: Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar are showing a sombre picture in terms of forest cover areas in India. These states possess less than 10 per cent forest. Punjab and Haryana have the dubious distinction of having just 3.52 and 3.59 per cent areas under forest.

India needs detailed planning to increase its forest cover. Real estate players are ruthlessly cutting the forest, but no one raises the voice. The government is also responsible for making a half-hearted effort in saving the forests. The environmental condition in India is getting poor. It is the responsibility of everyone to come forward and encourage the common man.