India’s rank on Global Forest Resources Assessment:
India has ranked third among the highest 10 countries that have gained in forest areas within the last decade, the newest Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) brought out by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has said.
What is the Global Forest resources assessment (FRA) 2020?
FRA 2020 examines the status of, and trends in, quite 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories within the period 1990–2020. The information provided by Global Forest resources assessment (FRA) presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and therefore the ways during which the resource is changing.
The world still has a minimum of 1.11 billion of primary forest. Three countries combined, Brazil, Canada, and Russia, host more than half (61 per cent) of the world’s primary forest.
The area of primary forest has decreased by 81 million since 1990, but the speed of loss quite halved in 2010–2020 compared to the previous decade.
Loss of forest cover and regeneration
Africa had the most important annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020, at 3.9 million.
The rate of net forest loss has increased in Africa in each of the three decades since 1990. Annually South America had a net forest loss of 2.6 million in 2010–2020.
The rate of net forest loss has declined substantially in South America, to about half the speed in 2010 –2020 compared to 2000 –2010.
Asia had the very best net gain of forest area in 2010 –2020.
Oceania experienced net losses of forest area within the decades 1990 – 2000 and 2000 –2010.
An estimated 420 million of forest has been lost worldwide through deforestation since 1990, but the speed of forest loss has declined substantially.
In the most up-to-date five-year period (2015 – 2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million, down from 12 million in 2010 – 2015.
About 98 million of forest were affected by fire in 2015, mainly in the tropical domain, where the fire burnt about 4 percent of the total forest area in that year.
More than two-thirds of the entire forest area affected was in Africa and South America.
Insects, diseases, and severe weather events damaged about 40 million forests in 2015, mainly within the temperate and boreal domains.
There is an estimated 726 million forest in protected areas, worldwide. The area of forest in protected areas globally has increased by 191 million since 1990.
The area and proportion of forests with long-term management plans that are documented and periodically revised is a crucial indicator of the intention to sustainably manage forest resources.
Most of the forests in Europe have management plans, on the other hand, management plans exist for less than 25 percent of forests in Africa and less than 20 per cent in South America.
The area of forest under management plans is increasing altogether. Globally, it’s increased by 233 million since 2000, reaching 2.05 billion in 2020.
Seventy-three per cent of the world’s forests are under public ownership, 22 percent is privately owned, and the ownership of the remaining is categorised as either ‘unknown’ or ‘other’ (mainly comprising forests where ownership is disputed or in transition).
Public ownership is predominant in all world regions and most sub regions. Of the regions, Oceania, North and Central America, and South America have the highest proportions of private forests.
Globally, the share of publicly owned sub-regions decreased since 1990, and therefore the area of forest under private ownership has increased.
An estimated 399 million of forest is designated primarily for the protection of soil and water, a rise of 119 million since 1990. The rate of increase within the area of forest allocated for this purpose has grown over the whole period but especially within the last ten years.
Globally, 424 million of forest is designated primarily for biodiversity conservation.
In total, 111 million has been designated since 1990, of which the most important part was allocated between 2000 and 2010.
The rate of increase within the area of forest designated primarily for biodiversity conservation has slowed within the last ten years.
About 30 percent of all forests are used primarily for production. Globally, about 1.15 billion of forest is managed primarily for the assembly of wood and non-wood forest products. In addition, 749 million on is designated for multiple uses, which often includes production.
An area of 186 million of forest worldwide is allocated for social services like recreation, tourism, education research, and therefore the conservation of cultural and spiritual sites. The area designated for this forest use has increased at a rate of 186,000 ha per annum since 2010.
What is the share of forest cover in India?
As per the India State of Forest Report 2019 (released on 30th December 2019), the percentage of forest cover in India is 21.67% or 7,12,249 sq km.
The maximum forest cover area wise is in Madhya Pradesh and the lowest is in Daman & Diu. The maximum forest cover percentage-wise is in Lakshadweep Islands and the lowest is in Ladakh.
Forest cover is classified as:
• Very dense forest (VDF) is equal to the canopy density > 70%
• A moderate dense forest is equal to canopy density of 40% to 70%
• The open forest is equal to canopy density of 10% to 40%
All these three are added to calculate the total forest cover data.
Very dense forests (VDF) are important as they absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are 3.02% of India’s total area.
Arunachal Pradesh (21,095 sq km) has the largest area under the VDF category. Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under both Moderate Dense Forest and the Open Forest category.
Tree Cover of India is 95,027 sq km or 2.89% of India’s total area in 2019.
Total forest and tree cover of India are 8,07,276 sq km or 24.56% of India’s total area in 2019.