oppn parties ISFR: Green Cover Increases But Quality Deteriorates

News Snippets

  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
  • India has moved to the 40th spot in the innovation index, up 6 spots from last year
  • DGGI has alleged that top insurance companies, banks and NBFCs has committed a fraud of Rs 800cr by claiming input tax credit without underlying supplies
  • The Centre will borrow Rs 10000cr less than planned earlier due to good revenue collections
  • At $23.9bn, India's current account deficit widened to 2.8% in Q1, the worst in four years
  • Stocks continue to flounder on Thursday: Sensex sheds 188 points to 56409 and Nifty 40 points to 16818
  • The 36th National Games were declared open on Thusrday by PM Modi in front of a record crowd in Motera near Ahmedabad
  • Jasprit Bumrah most likely to miss T20 World Cup due to recurrence of back injury
  • PFI's political wing, the SDPI is on EC radar and action will follow soon if discrepancies are detected
  • Ashok Gehlot to meet Sonia Gandhi today, says all issues will be sorted out soon
  • Referring to the PFI ban, most Muslim organizations ask the government to take similar action against right wings organizations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the like
In a landmark order, Supreme Court rules that all women, married or unmarried, are entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as per the MTP Act
oppn parties
ISFR: Green Cover Increases But Quality Deteriorates

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2022-01-14 07:51:23

The 17th India State of Forests Report (ISFR) is out. Although it reports that the overall green cover in India has increased in the last two years to cover nearly 25% of the country's geographical area, the fine print shows that the quality of the country's forests is declining. The green cover has now reached 809537 sq km of which 713789 sq. km is forest cover. The ISFR surveys three categories of forests - very dense forests (having canopy density over 70%), moderately dense forests (40-70%) and open forests (10-40%). Areas with canopy density less than 10%, called scrubs, are also surveyed but not categorized as forests.

The survey found that very dense forests have increased by 501 sq km. but the increase is mainly in forests that are protected and reserve forests with active conservation activities. On the other hand moderately dense forests, or "natural forests", have declined by 1582 sq km. Open forest area and scrub area has increased by 2621 sq km and 5320 sq km respectively. Experts say that taken together, these figures indicate a degradation of forests in the country with moderately dense forests becoming open forests and open forests giving way to scrub areas. This, they say, is extremely worrying and should be reversed.

The report has found that Telangana (3.07%), Andhra Pradesh (2.22%) and Odisha (1.04%) have shown the highest increase in forest cover while five states in the Northeast - Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have all shown loss in forest cover. In terms of types of covers, mangroves have increased by just 17 sq km and bamboo forests grown from 13,882 million culms (stems) in 2019 to 53,336 million culms in 2021. The survey also found that 35.46 % of the forest cover is prone to forest fires.

While efforts must be made to further qualitatively increase the forest cover in the country, what is extremely distressing is the loss of forest cover in the Northeast, which was blessed with abundant and natural forests. The loss of cover is as much due to natural calamities as developmental activities. This will damage the biodiversity of the region. It will also lead to worsening of the landslide problem in the region. Experts pointed out that the unique ownership of forest land (which is either owned by the community or is protected tribal land) in the region makes conservation challenging. The government must immediately think of ways to protect the green cover in the region to stop further degradation.