The Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, in its recently-published India State of Forest Report 2009 has revealed that the total forest cover in Gurgaon has gone up by 11 sq kms from 218 in the year 2005 to 229 sq kms in 2007.
The Haryana Forest Department attributes this increase to check in mining activities in the ecologically-fragile Aravalli Hills, following a ban by the Supreme Court in the last few years.
However, the Forest Survey of India (FSI) report has also reported a negative change in the forest cover by two sq kms since 2005.
The Haryana forest department has hinted that this change is primarily along National Highway (NH) No. 8 due to large-scale chopping of trees for further expansion of the highway.
According to the FSI report, the total geographical area of Gurgaon (including Mewat) is 2766 sq kms and the percentage of total forest cover in 2005 was 7.88 percent. In 2007, the forest cover rose to 8.28 percent.
Gurgaon does not have even a single inch of dense forest and its total forest cover was recorded as 52 sq kms in moderate forest area and 177 sq kms as open forest, thus bringing a total area of 229 sq kms under forest cover.
K.C. Meena, conservator of forests (south circle), Haryana said that the total forest cover in Gurgaon increased recently as the state government was able to check illegal mining activity in the Aravalli hills.
He said, “A major gain in
the forest cover in Gurgaon
and surrounding areas, such as the ecologically-fragile Aravali region that is spread across Faridabad, Rewari, Narnaul, Gurgaon and Delhi, h as been recorded.”
A noticeable change shown in the FSI report was a change in the forest cover by two sq kms which comes to around 500 acres of land.
Though the report has not categorically identified the spot or the region in Gurgaon where this change has occurred, Haryana forest department officials attribute it to large-scale chopping of trees along NH-8.
According to the records of the Haryana Forest department, about 70,000 trees had been chopped off till 2008-09, along NH-8, between Delhi (RTR junction) and Jaipur.
Around 29,000 trees were chopped off in late 2008 between Gurgaon and Jaipur, the stretch of the NH-8 that is being widened from a four-lane to a six-lane highway.
Before that, in 2006-07, about 10,000 trees faced the axe on the NH-8 stretch between Delhi and Gurgaon while building the Gurgaon Expressway.
About 25,000-30,000 trees were chopped off during 2001-02, when NH-8 (between Delhi and Jaipur) was widened from two-lane to four-lane.