With 66,964 sq km, or 79.96 per cent of its area, Arunachal Pradesh comes second in terms of overall forest cover in India, even as it is over three times smaller than Madhya Pradesh that has the maximum forest cover of 77,414 sq km, about 25 per cent of its total geographical area. The Similarly, the bamboo bearing areas in Maharashtra have also increased remarkably to 15927 sq km as against the assessment of 11465 sq km made in 2011.
Mizoram, with 86.27 per cent of its geographical area under forest cover, has also lost the maximum forest cover among all states (531 sq km) to developmental activities and shifting cultivation.
The total forest cover in the northeastern region is 1,71,306 sq km, which is 65.34 per cent of its total geographical area in comparison with a national forest cover of 21.54 per cent.
The three states that have recorded the maximum increase in forest cover include Andhra Pradesh with 2141 sq km, followed by Karnataka with 1101 sq km and Kerala with 1043 sq km.
The Minister said the news was "good" because it reverses the trend of decreasing forest cover the world over.
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There are just nine contiguous patches, which are spread over 10,000 hectares each and comprise 40 per cent of India's forest cover. This means there is net increase of 82 sq km, predominantly found in Raigad, Mumbai suburb an and Thane district. On the other hand, forest cover in states like Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya has decreased in 2017 as compared to 2015. The FSI has been assessing forests resources biannually since 1987.
"Although there has been a decline in the forest cover world over, it is great that India's forest cover is increasing and we stand 10th in the world", Vardhan said while releasing the report.
This was revealed in the state of the Forests Report released on Monday by Ministry of Environment and Forests. Also, 65 patches, each having an area above 1,000 sq.km covers more than 65 percent of the forest cover in the country.
The estimate implies that almost one-fourth of the country's geographical area is under forest or tree cover.
The total growing stock of India's forest and trees outside forests is estimated as 5,822.377 million cum, of which 4,218.380 million cum is inside the forests and 1,603.997 million cum outside.
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Panaji: Increase in mangrove cover continues to be the main factor in maintaining the 5% growth in the state's forest cover, as per the latest biennial assessment by forest survey of India (FSI).
In 2017, Mangrove cover increased by 181 sq km as compared to the previous assessment.
According to the report, forests play a vital role in water conservation and improve the water regime in the area.
The spatial information given in the report is based on interpretation of LISS-III data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II) with a spatial resolution of 23.5 meters.
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