India's forest cover declines, blame on Naxals in AP
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Feb 7: India's forest cover shrank by 367 sq km with the maximum 80 per cent loss recorded in Andhra Pradesh mainly due to Naxals felling trees in Warangal and Khammam districts, according to a new survey released today.
Forest and tree cover of the country as per the biennial assessment report released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) is 78.29 million hectares, which is 23.81 per cent of the geographical area. This
includes 2.76 per cent tree cover.
The reduction is to the tune of 367 square km in comparison to the 2009 assessment, the new Government forest survey report released by Environment Ministry Secretary T Chatterjee said. The assessment was made on the basis of satellite imageries.
"It is a wake up call," said Sunita Narain, Director General Centre for Science and Environment(CSE).
Andhra Pradesh recorded maximum forest cover loss of 281 sq km, the report, the twelfth in the series said.
Chatterjee said Naxals have cut trees in hundreds of acres in AP. "In Warangal and Khammam, they cut because they wanted to get the people involved....The wood was auctioned later. These cuttings
were done over a period of three days," he said.
Decline in 281 sq km forest cover in Andhra Pradesh is also attributed to harvesting of mature plantation of Eucalyptus and other species. While 15 states have registered aggregate increase of 500 sq km in their forest with Punjab leading with increase of 100 sq km, 12 states and Union Territories, mainly from the north east, have shown a decline of 867 sq km.
Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country at 77,770 sq km followed by Arunachal Pradesh at 67,410 sq km.
In terms of percentage of forest cover in relation to total geographical area, Mizoram tops with 90.68 per cent followed by Lakshadweep with 84.56 per cent.
Fall in forest cover in north east is particularly due to prevailing practice of shifting cultivation in this region, says the report.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 7 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 7 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 8 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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