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India’s green cover goes up by 2,261 sq km

Photo for representation

India’s total forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 square kilometres as compared to the previous assessment year carried out in 2019, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

The current assessment shows that the total forest cover of the country has increased by 1540 square kilometres, while the tree cover has increased by 721 square kilometre.The latest biennial survey was carried out in 2021, the minister informed.

India’s total forest cover is 7,13,789 square kilometre which is 21.72% of the geographical area of the country,

The Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organization under the Ministry carries out the assessment of forest cover of the country biennially since 1987 and the findings are published in India State of Forest Report (ISFR).

In the written reply it was stated that in order to restore ecosystems and increase the forest cover in the country, afforestation and tree plantation activities are undertaken by States/UTs.

The Union Ministry provides financial assistance to States/UTs under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes namely Green India Mission to support and supplement the efforts of States and Union Territories. National Mission for a Green India (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 undertaking plantation activities in the forest and non-forest areas.

GIM activities started in the Financial Year 2015-16. So far, a sum of Rs. 728.21 Crores have been released to sixteen States and one union territory for afforestation activities, over an area of 1,36,808 hectare.

It was stated that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is implementing Nagar Van Yojana (NVY) since the year 2020 which envisages creation of 400 Nagar Vans and 200 Nagar Vatika in the country during the period 2020-21 to 2024-25 under the funds available under National Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAMPA). The Nagar Van Yojana aims to enhance the green cover in the urban and peri-urban areas including biological diversity, provide ecological benefits and improve the quality of life of city dwellers. So far, the Ministry has approved 270 projects under Nagar Van Yojana with the total cost of Rs.238.64 Crore.

Afforestation activities are also taken up under various programs and schemes of line Ministry such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Bamboo Mission, Sub-Mission on Agroforestry etc. and under schemes of State Government /UT Administration through different departments, Non-Government Organizations, Civil Society, Corporate bodies etc. The multi departmental efforts have yielded good results in conserving and enhancing forest cover in the country.