Reason: development projects and encroachments
In the past three decades, the Maharashtra state has lost a whopping 1,610 sq km of forests, says the annual administrative report of the Maharashtra forest department. Most of this loss, says the report, is due to either development projects or encroachment.
According to the report, the forest area in the state totalled 62,971 sq km in 1984-85, which included 42,610 sq km of reserve forests and 15,340 sq km of protected forests, apart from 6,021 sq km of forests in other categories. As of December 2013, the total figure is down to 61,361 sq km. There has been a drastic fall in the area of protected forests, which now stand at just 6,713 sq km. The area of reserve forests now stands at 50,716 sq km.
The forested area in the state now stands at 17 per cent of the total land area of the state, whereas policy says 33 per cent land area should ideally be under forests.
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