Maximum forest cover lost in Arunachal Pradesh in 2021
Forest cover in the Northeast reduced by 1,020 sq km in 2021 compared to the area in 2019 mainly due to anthropogenic pressure and developmental activities, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Responding to a query on loss of forest and tree cover in the area, Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Choubey said that as per the latest India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021, the forest cover of the region stood at 1,69,521 sq km while the tree cover stood at 4,574 sq km.
The minister said the forest cover declined by 1,020 sq km from 2019 to 2021 while the tree cover increased by 365 sq km in 2021 in two years.
“As per ISFR-2021, the total forest cover in the north eastern region of the country is 1,69,521 sq km showing an overall decrease of 1,020 sq km while the tree cover has increased by 365 sq km as compared to the previous assessment in 2019.
“The loss in forest cover in the Northeastern states may be attributed mainly to natural calamities, anthropogenic pressure, developmental activities and shifting cultivation practices,” Choubey said in a written reply to the question.
The maximum forest cover was lost in Arunachal Pradesh (257 sq km), followed by Manipur which lost 249 sq km of forest area and Nagaland which lost 235 sq km forest cover.
Among other states, Mizoram lost 186 sq km forest land, Meghalaya lost 73 sq km forest land, Assam lost 15 sq km, Tripura four sq km and Sikkim lost one sq km forest land.
Listing out the steps taken by the government to increase forest and tree cover in the country, the minister said the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) and Green India Mission (GIM) are being implemented by the environment ministry.
NAP, a centrally sponsored scheme for regeneration of degraded forest and adjoining areas in the country, has been merged with GIM.
GIM is one of the eight missions outlined under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims at protecting, restoring, and enhancing India’s forest cover and responding to climate change by means of plantation activities in forest and non-forest areas, the minister said.