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Jharkhand posts marginal growth of 0.04 % in forest cover

ranchi Updated: Feb 15, 2018 12:44 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times
Jharkhand,FSI,ISFR

Green cover at Morhabadi in Ranchi(HT File Photo)

Jharkhand, which is known for its greenery, has posted a marginal 29 sqkm growth in forest area between 2015 and 2017, which is merely 0.04% of its total 79,716 sqkm area, as per the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 released by the union environment ministry.

The state’s forest cover increased from 23,524 sqkm, as per updated assessment in 2015, to 23,553 sqkm in 2017, which is 29.55% of the total geographical area of the state. The initial ISFR report of 2015 had published 23,478 sqkm forest area in Jharkhand.

Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF), Jharkhand, Sanjay Kumar, however, said, “Jharkhand’s tree cover is 3.67% as per the ISFR. Therefore, state’s total forest and tree cover have reached to 32.22% of its total geographical area against the 33% mandate of national forest policy. The growing stock is positive of Jharkhand.”

Prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), the biannual report showed country’s forest cover increased by 6,778 sqkm, which is 21.54% of its total geographical area.

Jharkhand’s growth is higher than its neighbouring West Bengal (21 sqkm) and Chhattisgarh (-12sqkm). However, Odisha and Bihar have done much better than Jharkhand by registering growth of 885sqkm and 45 sqkm respectively in the period.

Attribute it to the forest degradation or rising mining activity, areas of very dense forest (VDF) and moderately dense forest (MDF) have declined in the state since 2015. The VDF declined by 3% while MDF by 6% in last two years. The increase was recorded only in the area of open forest (OF), which is around 38sqkm.

Out of total 23,553 sqkm forest of Jharkhand, 2,598 sqkm is VDF, 9686 sqkm is MDF and 11,269 sqkm is OF, as per the ISFR 2017.

“The partial decline in the VDF and MDF might be due to use of very high resolution (VHR) data. The use of more science and technology in the survey is providing more accurate data,” Kumar said.

ISFR in its observation has pointed out, “A net increase of 29 sqkm has been observed in the state which can be attributed to plantation and conservation efforts within recorded forest areas. Although there is an increase of 314 sqkm in forest cover within recorded forest areas, its effect on forest cover has been offset due to felling of trees outside it.”

State forest department is, however, confident that the forest cover would improve in next survey, as government has taken several measures to increase the green cover. Under Silviculture scheme, degraded forest on 5,100 hectares of land was converted into rich forest. The department has planned to take 7,000 hectares degraded forest land under the scheme this financial year, a forest official said.

Jharkhand forest department claimed to have planted over 24 crore saplings since its inception in 2000. The state has planted 2.67 crore sapling in 2017. The same amount of saplings would be planted in 2018.

intro: Green cover State forest department is confident that the forest cover would improve in next survey, as government has taken several measures to increase its forest cover

quote: A net increase of 29 sqkm has been observed in the state which can be attributed to plantation and conservation efforts within recorded forest areas. Although there is an increase of 314 sqkm in forest cover within recorded forest areas, its effect on forest cover has been offset due to felling of trees outside it. – ISFR report. 

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 12:40 IST