Chandigarh, July 25
Punjab is top among the neighbouring states in the region in the area of forest and tree cover lost since the last forest survey was undertaken in 2019.
The area under forests and tree cover in Punjab has reduced by 456 sq km, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) – 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change informed the Lok Sabha today.
Himachal Pradesh has lost 145 sq km, while Haryana has lost 139 sq km.
Punjab has a geographical area of 50,362 square km, out of which 2,985 square km are covered by forests and trees.
The area of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana is 55,673 square km and 44,212 square km, respectively, out of which forest and tree cover accounts for 16,118 square km and 3,028 square km, respectively.
Replying to Rattan Lal Kataria, Member of Parliament from Ambala, Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that there has been an increase in the forest cover in some states while some states have reported a decrease as compared to ISFR – 2019.
India has a total land mass 32,87,469 square km, out of which forest and tree cover accounts for 8,09,537 square km. Overall, there has been an increase of 2,261 square km in green cover across the country. As many as 16 states and union territories have shown a decline in forest and tree cover.
The loss of forest cover is attributed due to developmental activities, harvesting of short rotational plantations, biotic pressure and various factors such as urbanization, overexploitation, overgrazing and diversion of forest land for other purposes.
The ministry’s data also showed that from the 2019-20 fiscal to 2021-22 fiscal, a total of 529.32 square km of forest land across the country was approved by the government for non-forest use. This includes 15.01 square km in Haryana, 13.87 square km in Punjab and 11.93 square km in Himachal Pradesh.
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