The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the country's green cover has increased by 15,000 square kilometres in the past four years and also added that aforestation has increased in very few countries and that includes India.
In the past few years, India along with China, has been one of the few countries whose forest cover has increased in the background of environmental issues like global warming and climate change. According to reports, the world currently has about 5.5 million square kilometres of forests. Out of this 5.5 million square kilometres of forest cover, China has contributed 25% of it whereas India has added 6.8% between 2000 and 2017. According to the statistics released by the Indian government in 2018, India’s tree and forest cover had registered an increase of 1% or 8,021 sq. km in two years since 2015. The report also stated that the total forest cover was 7,08,273 sq. km, which was 21.54% of the total geographical area of the country. Forest and tree cover combined was 8,02,088 sq. km or 24.39% of the total geographical area, said The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017. The report is released by the Environment Ministry every two years.
As compared to the previous assessment in 2015, there has been an increase in India's forest cover by 8,021 sq. km (about 80.20 million hectares). The increase in forest cover was an encouraging sign as much of the increase was been observed in very dense forest (VDF) category, as they absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover with an area of 77,414 sq km followed by Arunachal Pradesh (66,964 sq. km) and Chattisgarh (55,547 sq. km), the report said.