India's tree and forest cover has registered an increase of 1% or 8,021 sq km in two years since 2015, according to the latest assessment by the government.
The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 was released by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan and his deputy Mahesh Sharma here today.
Harsh Vardhan said India has shown an increasing trend in the forest and tree cover as against the global trend of decreasing forest cover during the last decade.
According to the report, the total forest cover is 7,08,273 sq km, which is 21.54 % of the total geographical area of the country. Forest and tree cover combined is 8,02,088 sq km or 24.39 % of the total geographical area.
The environment ministry said in the latest assessment that very dense forest in India has also increased by 1.36 % as compared to 2015. ISFR is released every two years.
"There is an increase of 8,021 sq km (about 80.20 million hectare) in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015.
"The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1,243 sq km," Harsh Vardhan said.
He said that the encouraging sign was that much of the increase in forest cover has been observed in very dense forest (VDF) category, as they absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
"The increase in forest cover in VDF is followed by increase i...