Forest cover in 5 NE states decreases

Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Feb 12 – In a disappointing development, the forest cover in five northeastern states has decreased. Assam’s forest cover, however, has increased by 567 sq km.This was stated in the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, which was released by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan here today.

The northeastern states that have lost forest cover are Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km).

The report said the northeastern states had recorded a high forest cover which was more than 70 per cent in each state. The reasons for decrease in forest cover are shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational tree felling, diversion of forest land for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters, the report said.

About Assam, the report said that the increase in forest cover in the State is mainly due to plantations, mostly outside forest areas. Based on interpretation of satellite data pertaining to October-December 2015, the forest cover in Assam is 28,105 sq km, which is 35.83 per cent of the State’s geographical area.

Assam has 2,979 sq km dense forest, 10,192 sq km moderately dense forest and 15,116 sq km open forest, the report said, adding, the area of water bodies within the forests has also recorded an increase of 87 sq km compared to 2005.

The report said the present assessment reveals that 15 states have over 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover. Of these states, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur have more than 75 per cent forest cover, while Tripura, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Assam have a forest cover between 33 per cent to 75 per cent.

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