According to the State of Forest Report 2021, India’s forest cover rose 1,540 sqkm between 2019 and 2021, but unreliable methodology is painting a skewed picture, experts point out.  

India’s forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 square kilometres (sqkm) compared to the last biennial assessment in 2019, according to the 2021 India’s State of Forest Report (ISFR) released this month. Independent assessments, however, reveal a contradictory story. One that speaks of huge loss of forest, biodiversity and wildlife on the ground to official norms, definitions and legal loopholes. 

According to the ISFR report, India’s total forest cover (TFC) rose 1,540 sqkm between 2019 and 2021. At 713,789 sqkm, the TFC in 2021 is 21.71% of the total geographical area (TGA) of the country as opposed to 21.67% of the TGA of the country in 2019. In 2017, the TFC was 21.54% of the TGA. According to the National Forest Policy 1988, India is chasing a target to get 33% of its geographical area under forest cover.

But experts point out that methodology reliant on satellite data is not equipped to assess forests with their social and ecological life. The data fails to capture the fact that forests are about food and water security and include forest dwellers and millions of other species. Experts say by including fruit orchards and monoculture plantations as forest cover, the aim is to show compliance with domestic forest policy and global climate targets. But all it ends up doing is showcasing a distorted picture of India’s forests. read more

source :- carboncopy

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