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India's forest cover has grown: minister

india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 15:25 IST

India's forest cover has grown over the past years and constitutes 20.64 per cent of the total geographical area, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

The forest cover grew from 637,293 square kilometres in 1999 to 675,538 sq kms in 2001 to 678,333 sq kms in 2003 when the last assessment was made on the basis of remote sensing satellite data, Environment and Forests Minister A Raja said during Question Hour.

Of the 678,333 sq kms forest area, 51,285 sq kms area was very dense, 339,279 sq kms moderately dense and 287,769 sq kms open forest, he said.

Among the states, Madhya Pradesh with 76,428 sq kms of forests has the maximum cover followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 68,019 sq kms and Chhattisgarh 55,998 sq kms.