Indian Minister for the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javedkar has released the 16th bi-annual India State of Forest Report, which cites a 5,188 sq km increase in the total amount of forested area in two years.
The report details an increase in forest cover in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory since 2017, the minister said on Monday.
“The top three states showing an increase in forest cover are Karnataka with 1,025 sq km, followed by Andhra Pradesh at 990 sq km and Kerala at 823 sq km.”
The department report also suggests an increase in Mangrove cover by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
The reports states: “The total forest cover of the country is 712,249 sq. km, which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country. The tree cover of the country is estimated as 95,027 sq. km, which is 2.89% of the geographical area. The total forest and tree cover of the country is 807,276 sq. km, which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.”
As per the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, a report, Truth Behind the Climate Pledges by Universal Ecological Fund, states that “for achieving the targeted carbon sink by 2030, India would need to more than double its current rate of forest cover expansion”.
India’s National Forest Policy 2018 details that forest and tree cover should account for more than a third of the country or more.