India has reported an increase of 1,540 square kilometres (sq km) in its forest cover, as per the biennial India’s State of Forest Report 2021, published by the Forest Survey of India. This is the increase recorded during 2019 and 2021.
The Forest Survey of India defines ‘forest cover’ as all lands of a hectare or more with tree patches with canopy density of more than 10 percent.
This includes all lands, irrespective of legal ownership and land use. ‘Recorded forest area’ includes only those areas reported as forests in government records and includes pristine forests.
India’s total forest cover is 713,789 sq km, or 21.71 percent of the total geographical area of the country. India has set a target of bringing 33 percent of its geographical area under forest cover.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupendra Yadav said that over 33 percent of the geographical area of 17 states and Union territories is under forest cover.
He said that the focus of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only on conservation. The government is working to enrich the forests quantitatively as well as qualitatively.