NE’s overall forest cover declines while Assam witnesses an increase

Representative Image

Guwahati, February 13: The Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017 released by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan, unveiled that the overall forest cover in the five northeast states have declined, while Assam has witnessed a marginal increase.

Reportedly, the forest cover in Assam, as per the reports based on the satellite interpretation of data in October-December 2015, is 28, 105 sq km, which is 35.83 percent of the state’s geological area. Assam has 2,979 sq km dense forest and 10,192 sq km moderately dense forest apart from 15,116 sq km open forest.

On the other hand, the rest of the northeastern states where the forest cover has declined includes Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km).

The report further stated that earlier northeastern states had a forest cover which was more than 70 percent of each state. The reasons for its decline may be cited as agricultural expansion, natural disasters, rotational tree felling, and shifting culture, among many others. While the major reasons behind the increase in forest cover in Assam may be traced to plantations, mostly outside forest areas.

It may be further mentioned that the area of water bodies within the forest cover has also increased in Assam by 87 sq km as compared to the records of 2005.