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India’s forest cover declines

Date:Feb 8, 2012

North-eastern states and tribal districts witness unprecedented forest loss

India has lost 367 square kilometres of forest cover in the past two years. According to the India State of Forest Report, 2011, released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) on February 7, the total forest cover in the country is now at 6,92,027 sq km. This accounts for 21.05 per cent of the total geographical area of India.



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Andhra loses, Punjab gains

  • Andhra Pradesh has lost the maximum forest cover—281 sq km—as compared to 2009
  • Northeastern states saw an unprecedented loss in forests this year. The region which accounts for nearly one-fourth forest cover of the country has seen a decrease of 549 sq km of forests
  • The other states that lost forest cover are Kerala (24 sq km), Chhattisgarh (4 sq km), Maharashtra (4 sq km), Uttar Pradesh (3 sq km), Gujarat (1 sq km) and Chandigarh (0.22 sq km)
  • Punjab registered maximum growth of 100 sq km forest cover followed by Jharkhand (83 sq km), Tamil Nadu (74 sq km), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (62 sq km), Rajasthan (51 sq km), Odisha (48 sq km) and Bihar (41 sq km)
  • Other states that registered forest growth include Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and West Bengal
  • A total of 548 sq km forest cover has decreased in the 124 hill districts of the country
  • In the 188 districts of the country dominated by tribal population forest cover has decreased by 679 sq km
  • The mangrove cover in the country has increased by 23.34 sq km. They are now spread over an area of 4661.6 sq km
  • The total growing stock of India’s forests and trees is now 6,047.15 million cubic metre which comprises of 4,498.73 million cubic metre of growing stock inside the forests and 1,548.42 million cubic metre outside the forests
  • FSI has for the first time estimated the growing stock of bamboo.
  • Total bamboo bearing area in the country is 13.96 million hectare (ha).
  • Arunachal Pradesh has maximum bamboo-bearing area of 1.6 m ha followed by Madhya Pradesh (1.3 m ha), Maharashtra (1.1 m ha) and Odisha (1.05 m ha) 

More dense forests

  • The dense forest cover (lands with tree canopy density of 70 per cent and above) increased by 43 sq km since 2009 and stand at  83,471 sq km.
  • The dense forests now account for 2.54 per cent of the geographical area of the country        
  • The moderately dense forest (lands with tree canopy density between 40 per cent and 70 per cent) now occupy 320,736 sq km and account for 9.76 per cent geographical area of the country
  • The moderately dense forest saw an increase of 498 sq km       
  • The area covered by open forests (lands with tree canopy density between 1O per cent and 40 per cent) saw a decrease of 908 sq km and stand at 287,820 sq km

Vague reasons

  • In Andhra Pradesh, the survey says, the forest cover has decreased due to harvesting of short rotation crops followed by new plantation and forest clearance in the encroached areas
  • In the Northeast, the decrease in forest cover has been attributed to shortening of shifting cultivation cycle and biotic pressure
  • The reason for increase in forest cover in Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar and Tamil Nadu is enhanced plantation in and outside forests and effective protection measures



India is losing forests and harming the natural habitats of the animals. The national forest policy of India, 1952 aimed at bringing one third of landmass of the country under forest cover.

8 May 2012
Posted by

1-3rd of india under forest-i guess indian government didnt expect population to go over a billion 50 years later!!!!!!!!

24 March 2013
Posted by

It has been clear that, if the de-forestation takes place in the same pace, then our country will lose the im-mortal forest trees and the wild life shortly. There won't be any forest left out for our future generations. This implies that there will be accute short of Oxygen or Oxygen with im-purites which will anyhow lead to "Short life" for the human beings in future. This is applicable for all the present day Tree cutters, present day Timber merchants, present day politicians, and the present day wood consumers kith and kin. Unfortunately the present day Tree cutting contractors as well as timber wood consumers have miserably failed to think this because of their selfishness. I wish the Indian government to enact a law by banning use of timbers or any wood, out of forest for atleast 25 years. This is only way to improve the forest wealth and to get more rain thereby the agree culture wealth will improve tremendously.

In place of wood, iron or fibre glass materials can be used.

9 July 2012
Posted by

The present decline in the forest cover is giving regular warning to all of us about the future situation of our mother earth.
we should not impose any blame to anyone for this menace,rather if we want to improve the situation then firstly we have to work on our own without depending on others, planting of trees is not a big deal but the care of that plant after planting is the main thing.
Doing things at individual level may lead to great efforts in protecting our environment.Now this is the time to wake up and do something to protect us, our future and our earth!

26 July 2012
Posted by

The above discussion is very good, providing knowledge of forest cover in India,but according to PIB released information , the Forest and Tree cover of the country is 78.29 million ha, which is 23.81% of the geographical area of the country. see the link-
http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=80170 . while herein you have told it- the total forest cover in the country is now at 6,92,027 sq km. This accounts for 21.05 per cent of the total geographical area of India.
please clarify which one is correct !

19 September 2012
Posted by
KC Bairwa

The figure 6,92,027 represents the total forest area of the country--open forests+grasslands+moderate forests+dense forests. Of this, less than 3% accounts for the dense forests with over 70% tree presence as mentioned in the article. The trouble is that its the dense cover that harbours most of our wild-life, and that is what has been declining rapidly, diminishing future prospect for the fauna like the tigers and elephants. Most increase in forests is in states with moderate cover and is of seasonal and grassland type, while most losses are in the densest regions like the north-east and A.P. By census estimates, we lost more than 20,000 sq. kms of tiger territory just between 2006 and 2010. Go figure!

13 May 2013
Posted by
Vivek Agarwal

Can you pl give data YEAR vs FOREST AREA (sq km) for India for 1941 - 2011 (including a mention of the year from when we have satellite imaging data)!

21 September 2012
Posted by

the decrease in forest cover in northeastern states is a matter of worry for all of us. bangladeshi encroachment & vote bank politics are the prime reason behind this huge deforestation .

1 October 2012
Posted by

How come West Bengal didn;t lose forest cover is a mistry

15 October 2012
Posted by
Gora Lahiri

I read this article and found it very useful. It is a matter of real concern that we are killing the best source of clean air available to us free of cost, without realising its impacts. Our corrupt political system is responsible for this to a large extent. But our leaders are living in Lutien's zone which has best green cover in Delhi, so why would they worry. The day they get this in their brains that their own oxygen quota is in danger of pollution, they will stop all the tree cutting, mining, etc., but that might be too late for the rest of people.

By the way, I didn't see the situation of MP's forest cover in the article, could anyone tell me about it please?

20 November 2012
Posted by
Vandana Kacker

Dear Readers !
We still have hope and can turn our naked India(almost naked with only 20% of forest cover) into a very beautiful and densly forested country it once was it takes only 5 years of hard work and I mean very hard work and everyones efforts and then relax for the life time ! thats my promise and If any one wants to work along with my ideology or wants to form an associaltion of like minded people let me know. You can reach me on bryan.soz@gmail.com
Lets make Indian Shining !

24 June 2014
Posted by
Brian Dsouza

Dear Friends,

Posting comment and liking it simultaneously will not help "naked india". We have to actively participate in growing them, not from donations, planting trees from our hands but making people understand the importance of plants.

Can i ask you guys to help me in increasing awareness among our literate citizens?

I am waiting for your reply.

Please reply. I need volunteers with whom i can start awareness or plan.

This is Niraj from Bangalore.

25 August 2014
Posted by


you can contact me at


25 August 2014
Posted by


It is okay to destroy forests as long as we pay Al Gore and his partner some money. This will make the destruction "carbon neutral." So go ahead and destroy forests but pay a handsome compensation to Al Gore.

Remember Al Gore's mansion consumes a huge amount of power, he has traveled around the world in a private jet and he leaves his car idling when he is delivering a speech. Yet, he is a green guy because he pays carbon offsets to his own firm!

To the guy who says forests are required for generating oxygen. Don't be silly. You just have to pay money to Al Gore and Goldman Sachs for the diminished oxygen and it will become neutral once again!

8 September 2014
Posted by

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