ISFR-2019:J&K records 4th highest increase in forest cover
Jammu, Jan 11: On
December 30th, 2019, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate
Change, Prakash Javadekar released the biennial “India State of Forest Report
(ISFR)”, in New Delhi and announced that the forest cover in the country has
increased by 3,976 square Kilometres (sq km). As per the report, the erstwhile
State of Jammu and Kashmir too contributed in increasing the green cover by
figuring among top five States/UTs recording highest increase.
The report by
Forest Survey of India (FSI) comes after every two years and the 2019 report is
16th such report by the organization whose primary job is to conduct survey and
assessment of forest resources across different states.
based forest cover assessment in a periodic manner helps in knowing a broad
trend of forest cover in the country. The forest cover broadly signifies the
expanse of forest resources.
As per the
present assessment, the 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
and as compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km
in the total forest and tree cover of the country. The total carbon stock of
the country was estimated at 7,124 million tons, which is an increase of 42.6
million tons from the last assessment. With the focused attention and the hard
efforts of the Department of Forests, Environment and Ecology, the Forest cover
in Jammu and Kashmir has also increased and as per the ISFR-2019, the area
under very dense forest category has also grown this time, the report revealed.
Jammu and Kashmir
managed to be among the top five States/UTs that have registered maximum
increase in forest cover during the last two years. The State/UTs showing
significant gain in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh
(990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km) and J&K (371 sq km including 348 sq km in
UT of J&K and 23 sq km in Ladakh UT).
further said that the forests of J&K have recorded the highest growing
stock of wood per unit area, which is 144.16 cubic meter per hectare. The total
carbon stock of forests in UTs including ‘Trees outside Forests’ is 390.20
million tonnes (1430.73 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent), which is 5.48
percent of the total forest carbon of the country.
revealed that the extent of forest cover and the trees outside the forests in
UT of Jammu and Kashmir is 29,066 sq km, which is 55 percent of the total
geographical area of UT of J&K.
A total of 42
forest types are found in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, which
are highest in the country and denotes the diversity of forest ecosystems in
The two UTs have
so far notified 15,912 sq km under the Protection Area Network (PAN) which is
15.59% of the total geographical area of the combined UT, comprising five
National Parks, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 35 Conservation & Wetland
Reserves. The FSI report said that the Protected Area (PA) network of the two
UTs is the highest in the country in terms of area, which is nearly 10 percent
of the country’s PA network. Jammu and Kashmir has recorded the highest
diversity of herbs in the country. The last study had shown that in J&K the
area under very dense forest cover had grown by 14 sq km only which now has
grown by 206 sq km which shows that area under very dense forest cover has
increased the maximum.
In tune with the
Government of India’s vision of Digital India, FSI’s assessment is largely
based on digital data whether it is satellite data, vector boundaries of
districts or data processing of field measurements. In this report,
Ortho-rectified LISS III 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.
The forest cover
assessment reflects, in general, the status of forests in the country and its
trend and provides inputs for broad evaluation of the forests related policies,
legislations, programs and activities in the country.
The department of
Forests is making continuous efforts to enhance quality of forest cover and
improve ecosystem services from forest lands, including moderately dense forest
cover, open forest cover and degraded grass lands.
The increase in
the forest cover recorded by the FSI Report is the outcome of consistent
reforestation efforts including mega plantation drives by the department and
effective implementation of Forest related schemes. The afforestation
activities are being promoted at every level by utilization of CAMPA funds and
with improved techniques in challenging environment.
The way Forest
Department is moving ahead, hopefully the ISFR Report that is to be prepared in
2021 would see further increase in forest cover in the Union Territory of