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India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000: Global Forest Watch

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India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000According to the Global Forest Watch (GFW) monitoring project data, India has lost 2.33 million hectares (Mha) of tree cover since 2000 which is equivalent to a 6% decrease in tree cover during 2001-2023.

Key Findings:

i.The data showed that India lost 4,14,000 hectares(414 Thousand hectares (Kha)) of humid primary forest(4.1%) from 2001 to 2023 which is 18% of its total tree cover loss in the same period.

ii.The data mentioned that 95% of the tree cover loss in India from 2013 to 2023 occurred within natural forests.

iii.According to the data, Total tree cover gained by India is 1.88 Mha which is equivalent to 1.4% of global total.

  • Countries with maximum tree cover gain: Russia(37.2 Mha), Canada(17.0 Mha), United States (14 Mha), Brazil(8.06 Mha) and China(6.69 Mha).

States with maximum tree cover loss:

i.As per the data, 5 states in India accounted for 60% of all tree cover loss from 2001 to 2023.

ii.Assam saw the most tree cover loss at 3,24,000 hectares(324kha) compared to average of 66.6kha, followed by Mizoram(312kha), Arunachal Pradesh(262kha), Nagaland(259kha) and Manipur(240kha).

States with maximum tree cover:

i.As per the data, 7 states accounted for 55% of all tree cover in India.

ii.Arunachal Pradesh had the most tree cover at 6.11million hectares(6.11Mha) compared to an average of 957 kha, then followed by Assam(2.57Mha), Chhattisgarh(2.28 Mha), Kerala(2.28Mha) and Odisha(1.92Mha).

Tree Cover Loss due to Fires:

i.India lost about 35.9 kha of tree cover from fires and 2.15 Mha from all other drivers of loss from 2001 to 2022.

ii.As per the data, India saw the most tree cover loss in the year 2008 due to fires, with a loss of 3.0 kha.

iii.The data showed that Odisha had the highest rate of tree cover loss due to fires with an average of 238 hectares lost annually, it is followed by Arunachal Pradesh(198 ha), Nagaland(195 ha), Assam(116 ha) and Meghalaya(97 ha).

Net Carbon Sink:

i.According to the data, forests in India emitted 51million tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) equivalent to one year and removed 141 million tons of CO2 equivalent to one year. Thus, net carbon sink is 89.9 million tons of CO2 equivalent a year.

ii.The data highlighted that due to loss of tree cover in India, an average of 51.0 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year was released into the ecosystem.

About Global Forest Watch:
Global Forest Watch is an initiative of World Resources Institute(WRI) launched in 2014 in partnership with Google, USAID(United States Agency for International Development), among others.