Andhra Pradesh stands first in increasing forest cover

Express News Service

GUNTUR: Andhra Pradesh has recorded an increase of 647 sq km of forest cover. According to the 17th India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 released by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav on Thursday, there has been a net increase of 2,261 sq km of forest cover at the national level. 

AP stood first in the country in increasing forest cover, followed by Telangana (632 sq km), Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km), and Jharkhand (110 sq km). Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.

In all, 17 states/UTs have above 33% of the geographical area under forest cover. Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have more than 75% of forest cover. 
The increase in forest cover in the state can be attributed to better conservation, afforestation and agroforestry.

However, the rise in forest cover is less compared to 990.40 sq km in 2019. The total Recorded Forest Area (RFA) in AP is 29,784 sq km, which is 18.28% of the total geographical area.

The extent is less than the national RFA of 24.62%. According to the ISFR, 1,965 sq km (8.10%) is very dense forest, 12, 814 sq km (52.87%) moderately dense and 9,460 sq km (39.03%) open forest inside the RFA of the total 24,239 sq km. 

Under the forest cover outside the RFA category of 5,545 sq km, 29 sq km (0.52%) is considered very dense forest, 1,115 sq km (20.11%) moderately dense forest and 4,401 (79.37%) open forest,
The total mangrove cover in the state is 405 sq km, which accounts for 8.11% of the total 4,992 sq km in the country.

When it comes to wildlife, 38 tigers are found in Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (3,296.31 sq km), including the core zone of 2,595.72 sq km and buffer zone of 700.59 sq km, which is the largest tiger reserve in the country. The total carbon stock of forests is 230.22 million tonnes (844.14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent), which is 3.20% of the total forest carbon of the country. 


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