Hyderabad: Call it a green revolution, the forest cover of Telangana has increased by 632 square kilometers, a 3.07 percent rise in two years.
This is the second-highest increase among all states. Overall, Telangana's total forest cover increased from 20,582 square kilometers in 2019 to 21,214 square kilometers in 2021.
According to the India State of Forest Report 2021, a biennial publication of the Forest Survey of India (FSI) which was released by Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav on Thursday said that increase has been observed in the open forest followed by very dense forest. The top three states showing an increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh 647 square kilometers followed by Telangana (632 square kilometers) and Odisha (537 square kilometers).
Forest Survey of India (FSI), is a premier national organization under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, responsible for assessment and monitoring of the forest resources of the country regularly.
In Telangana, the Very Dense Forest (VDF) inside the recorded forest area is 1,551square kilometers (8.30 percent), Moderate Dense Forest (MDF) is 8,651 square kilometers (46.27 percent), Open Forest (OF) is 8,494 square kilometers (45.43 percent). Similarly, the VDF cover outside the Recorded Forest area is 73square kilometers (2.90 percent), MDF is 468 square kilometers (18.59 percent) and OF is 1,977 square kilometers (78.51 percent).
The increase in forest cover has largely been in the MDF cover, with an increase in 332 square kilometers increase was seen, followed by Open Forests OF where a 284 square kilometers increase was witnessed. The least increase of 16 square kilometers was seen in the VDF cover
Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra. In terms of forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (84.53 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33 percent), Meghalaya (76.00 percent), Manipur (74.34 percent), and Nagaland (73.90 percent).
Among the megacities, Hyderabad witnessed the highest gain in the forest cover in the last ten years. It increased from 33.15 to 81.81 square kilometers in 2021 —a significant 147 percent growth.
During the same period, the forest cover rose by smaller margins in Chennai (26 percent), Delhi (11 percent), and Mumbai (9 percent) and reduced in Bengaluru (-5 percent) and Kolkata (-30 percent).
Meanwhile, Kawal Tiger Reserve forest areas saw a decline in ten-year forest cover by five percent, which translates to 118 sq km. The Reserve total forest cover decreased from 1,825.85 square kilometers in 2011 to 1,706.88 square kilometers in 2021. In Amrabad Tiger Reserve, however, a 43 square kilometers increase was observed in green cover over the decade.
The total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.9 million hectares which are 24.62 percent of the geographical area of the country. As compared to the assessment of 2019, there is an increase of 2,261 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country. Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 1,540 sq km, and that in tree cover is 721 sq km.
The total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km. An increase of 17 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2019. The top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Odisha (8 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (4 sq km) and Karnataka (3 sq km).
Total carbon stock in the country's forest is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes and there is an increase of 79.4 million tonnes in the carbon stock of the country as compared to the last assessment of 2019. The annual increase in carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes.