Forest Survey of India 2013: Main Findings

Forest Survey of India 2013: Main Findings

Question : Periodic assessment of forest and tree resources is the basic mandate of the Forest Survey of India. Discuss the findings of the latest FSI 2013.

- Assessment of forest and tree resources of the nation was carried out as per the FSI 2013

- Forest assessment commenced through the FSI as far back as 1987

Following advancement in remote sensing technology across the years, this survey uses updated satellite data for mapping the forests of the nation on a biennial cycle

- TOF or Trees Outside Forests and inventory of forests was conducted in 60 randomly selected areas spread over a term of 2 years

- Biennial report has information about the district wise forest cover assessment of states, modifications with regard to previous assessment under numerous canopy classes, rising stock at state and national level within and outside forests, carbon stock within Indian forests and more

Main Findings

- In association with the interpretation of satellite data and inventory of forests and TOFs carried out by FSI, the India State of Forest Report 2013 is as follows:

- Forest cover of the nation has been assessed at 697,898 sq km(69.79 mha) which is 21.23 percent of the geographical section of the country

- Tree cover is estimated to be around 91,266 sq km that is 2.78 percent of the geographical area

- Complete forest and tree cover of the nation as per the 2013 assessment is 789,164 sq km or 78.92 mha that is 24.01% of the geographical parts of the nation

- There is an increase of forest cover by 5871 sq km in comparison to 2011 assessment

- Forest cover information was segregated between the areas within and outside the green wash of Survey of India topo-sheets

- Greenwash areas mostly coincide with the forests of the nation providing a fair idea of forest cover within and outside the area of the forest

- In hill and tribal areas of the nation, forest cover rose by 40 sq km and 2396 sq km respectively as against the assessment in the previous year

- NE states account for 1/4th of the country’s forest cover and this means a net decline of 627 sq km in the forest as against the previous assessment

- Rising stock of Indian forests and trees outside forests is 5658.046 million cum which includes 4,173.362 million cum within the forests and 1484.68 million cum outside the forests

- There was a fall of 389.11 cum in complete growing stock of the nation between the 2 assessments of ISFR 2011 and 2013

- From this, the decrease within the forest is 325.369 cum while that outside the forest is 63.743 cum

- Increase in total forest cover in the nation has been accompanied by decrease in growing stock inside and outside forest area

- The composition of forest cover is as follows:

- Very Dense Forest: 83,5022.54

- Moderate Dense Forest: 318,745 9.70

- Open Forest: 295,651 8.99

- Total Forest Cover: 697,898 21.23

- Tree Cover: 91, 266 2.78

- Total Forest and Tree Cover: 789,164 24.01

- Scrub: 41,383 1.26

- Non forest area comprises 2,547,98211.51 while the total geographical area comprises 3287263100.00. This includes 4628 sq km under mangroves

- Non forest area comprises 77.51% of the total geographical area

- Very dense scrub comprises 1.26% of the total forest area while the forested part comprises 2.54%

- Open forest or moderately dense forest comprises 8.99%

- Forest cover constitutes 9.70% while total forest cover is 21.23%

- Stock within the forest area indicates loss of 1991 sq km of moderately dense forest

- Conversion of MDF into Open Forest results in forest area severely depleted in measure of growing stock

- A massive increase in forest cover under OF will not offset the loss in growth of stock due to reduction in MDF

- Loss of growing stock outside the forest area is associated with harvesting of mature tree crops

- Present assessment total carbon stock in forest is assessed to be 6941 million tonnes

- An increase of 278 million tonnes in the carbon stock of the nation as against lass assessment reported in ISFR 2011 corresponding to 2004

- As per ISFR 2013, forest cover inside the greenwash area is around 530,779 sq km

- Outside the greenwash area, it is 5739 sq km.

- National Forest Inventory has been conducted since 2002

- As per the NFI, information is obtained on various parameters such as differential use of forest land, regeneration intensity, incidence of fire, crop injuries, grazing, presence of weeds and grass, soil data, humus, degree of rockiness and bamboo information, potential for plantation, biotic influence and more

- Around 48% of the recorded forest area possesses adequate regeneration while around 24% of the area possesses inadequate regeneration

- In close to 10% of the forest area, there was no regeneration

- Close to 73 percent of recorded forest area is impacted by light to heavy grazing

- Humus is prevalent in 54 percent of recorded forest area from which 43% is under shallow category

- Low levels of humus are present in 32.73% of the area

- Around 76% of the RFA is under natural forest of 63% of which is of seed origin

- Plantations constitute around 6%

- 41.62% of the RFA falls under miscellaneous/mixed forests while Sal constitutes 5.78%, lowland hardwood (5.69%), teak (4.68%) and teak with miscellaneous species (4.23%)

- Close to 53 percent recorded forest area is under regeneration or pole or small timber crop

- Only 7.62% of the area is under big timber and 21% has mixed crop

- Total green cover under agroforestry is estimated to be 111,554 sq km

- Wood volume found in the agroforestry system is 1023 m.cum

- Total carbon stock estimated is 280 million tonnes

- FSI has been assessing three resources under the TOF inventory since the year 2002

- Urban tree cover area is around 12,790 sq km

- Around 16.40% of urban area constitutes this

- India State of Forest Report 2013 states the total forestt cover in the nation is 697,898 sq km from which 21.23% is belonging to the total geographical area

- A net increase of 5871 sq km has been observed in the forest cover compared with India State of Forest Report 2011

Facts and Stats

Present ISFR has 4 new features including the following:

- Assessment of forest cover within and outside greenwash area

- Important characteristics of India’s Forests

- Trees in agroforestry

- Urban tree resources

- As per ISFR 2013, forest cover inside the greenwash area is 530,779 sq km and outside the greenwash area is 167,119 sq km.

- Of the total, increase of 5871 sq km in forest cover of the nation, increase within the greenwash area is 132 sq km and outside the greenwash is 5739 sq km.
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