With the increase in forest and tree cover by one percent since the year 2015, India now features among the top 10 with respect to forest area.
As per a report released by the environment ministry, the forest area has now increased to 802,088 square kilometre, and now covers 24.39 percent of the total geographical area of the country.
The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan has emphasised on the country’s increasing green credentials. According to the Press Information Bureau, he said while releasing the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017,
India is ranked tenth in the world, with 24.4 percent of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4 percent of the world surface area and sustains the needs of 17 percent of human and 18 percent livestock population
The environment minister also pointed out that the nine other countries in the list do not even have a population density more than 150 persons per square kilometres as compared to India which has a population density of 382 persons per square kilometres. Despite the livestock and population pressures, India is still among the top 10 in terms of forest cover.
According to the Economic Times, the report states,
The total forest cover of the county is 708,273 square kilometres, which is 21.54 percent of India’s geographical area. The tree cover of the country is estimated to be 93,815 square kilometres, which is 2.85 percent.
As per the state-wise breakup of the highest increase in forest area, Andhra Pradesh is on the top with 2,141 square kilometres increase, followed by Karnataka (1,101 square kilometres) and Kerala (1,043 square kilometres). With respect to forest cover, Madhya Pradesh is on the top in the state-wise breakup with 77,414 square kilometres, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
The environment ministry also pointed out that India stands eighth in terms of the highest annual net in forest cover according to the latest FAO report.