• Andhra grew both in forest and tree cover. AP stood second in the country after Karnataka among states
    • Telangana grew in forest cover nominally and lost in tree cover. Haritha Haram failed to show results
    • West Godavari stood second in the country after Tumkur among districts in forest cover
    • Rayalaseema lost tree cover to red sanders smugglers. All four of its districts had shown negative growth in forests

Hyderabad: While Andhra Pradesh stood second in the country concerning the increase in forest cover with 3.52 per cent of growth, Telangana witnessed less than one per cent growth of forests. Shockingly, Medak has lost seven square kilometres of forest in the past two years.

While forest cover had shown a nominal 0.8 per cent growth in Telangana, the state’s tree cover decreased by 155 square kilometres in 2019 when compared to 2017. AP’s Kadapa lost around 16 square kilometres of forest cover and Rayalaseema districts Anantapur, Chittoor and Kurnool had shown a loss of forest cover in the past two years.

On Friday, Union Minister for Forest and Environment Prakash Javadekar released the India State of Forest Report 2019. In the entire country, Tumkur district of Karnataka has witnessed the highest growth of forest cover with 308 square km followed by East Godavari district (268 sq km), Palakkad in Kerala (257 sq km), and West Godavari (246 sq km) in the past two years.

Despite the Telangana government taking up the prestigious Haritha haram project for the past few years, the tree cover loss has been recorded by Forest Survey of India.

The total forest cover of the country increased by 3,976 square kilometres and tree cover of 1,212 square kilometres, adding up to a total of 5,188 square kilometres of forest and tree cover in 2019 when compared to 2017.

The forest covers in Telangana increased by 163 sq km when compared to the previous assessment of 0.8 per cent growth. Telangana has 20,582 square kilometres as forest cover in 18.36 per cent of geographical area.

In Andhra Pradesh, forest cover is 29,137 square km that amounts to 17.8 per cent of states total geographical area. The forest cover in AP increased by 990 square kilometres as compared to the previous assessment reported in 2017. While Rayalaseema witnessed a loss of forest cover, East Godavari has added 268 square kilometres followed by West Godavari, Vizianagaram and Krishna districts. Andhra Pradesh’s tree cover increased by 161 square kilometres in 2019 when compared to 2017.

The top five states in forest cover are Karnataka, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Besides, all 140 hill-districts of the country have shown an increase in forest cover by 544 square kilometres. Mangrove forest cover in the country increased by a nominal 54 square kilometres when compared to the previous assessment.

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