- NET Web Desk
Known for its diverse and most extensive ageless forest cover, the northeastern part of India plays a significant role in the development of ecological niches across the region. Unfortunately this region has been facing the grave threat of deforestation thereby affecting wildlife, ecosystems & weather patterns.
According to the recently-released India State of Forest Report-2021, the green cover in the Northeastern region of India witnessed severe declination by 1,020 square kilometres during 2019-2021.
The eight northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim account for 23.75 percent of the country’s total cover.
However, the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh lost the maximum cover of 257 sq kms during this time frame, Meghalaya lost 249 sq km, Nagaland 235 sq km, Mizoram 186 sq km, Meghalaya 73 sq km, Assam 15 sq km, Tripura 4 sq km and Sikkim lost one square kilometre forest cover.
“The loss in forest cover and forest canopy may be attributed to shifting cultivation, felling of trees, natural calamities, anthropogenic pressure, and developmental activities,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the report found that there had been a 1,540 sq km increase in forest cover and 721 sq km increase in tree cover since the last report in 2019.
“Increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest. Top three States showing increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km) followed by Telangana (632 sq km) and Odisha (537 sq km),” – asserted a statement of the Environment and Forest Ministry.
Madhya Pradesh had the largest forest cover, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra. The top five States in terms of forest cover as a percentage of their total geographical area were Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76.00%), Manipur (74.34%) and Nagaland (73.90%).
According to the report, India’s forest cover currently stands at 7,13,789 sq. km (71.3 million hectares), or 21.71 per cent of India’s geographical area. This is 1,540 sq. km higher than the 2019 figure.
The Ministry said the survey used mid-resolution satellite data, followed by “rigorous ground truthing” and information from other sources. “The accuracy level achieved in the current assessment is significantly high. The accuracy of forest cover classification has been assessed 92.99%. The accuracy of classification between forest and non-forest classes has been assessed 95.79% against internationally accepted accuracy of classification of more than 85%,” the Ministry said.