India's forest and tree cover increases by 1% over two years, report finds


Forest and tree cover in India has increased by one per cent over the last two years, a report has found.

Forests cover almost 275,000 square miles, or around 21.5 per cent of the country’s total geographical area, according to the India State of Forest Report 2017.

Combining forests and tree cover pushes that number up to 802,088 sq km, or 24 per cent.

Since the last report was released in 2015, overall green cover has increased by 3096 square miles.  

The report found 8128 square miles of non-forest area had become forest area over the last two years, attributing this in part to activities such as plantation.

However, over 540 square miles of forest has been lost in six northeastern states.

Harsh Vardhan, India’s environment minister, said the report showed a “heartening” increase in very dense forest, which “absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

He said the increase was part of India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, The Times of India reports, and went on to say India would meet its carbon sink target by increasing forest and tree cover by 2030.

India ranks eighth out of the top 10 nations reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area, Mr Vardhan said.

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