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International Day of Forests – 21st March:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

Observed on: 21st March every year since 2021.

The organizers are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.

 

Background:

The occasion was established, and the date fixed, on November 28, 2012, by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The aim behind observing the International Day of Forests is to ‘celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.’

 

Theme 2022:

  • “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”.

 

Did you know?

  • Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with more that 60,000 tree species.
  • Around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income.
  • The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year – about the size of Iceland.

 

State of Forest Report 2021:

The biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) is an assessment of the country’s forest resources.

 

Highlights of the Report:

  • India’s forest and tree cover has risen by 2,261 square kilometers in the last two years with Andhra Pradesh growing the maximum forest cover of 647 square kilometers.
  • The total tree-and-forest cover in the country includes an increase of 1,540 square kilometres of forest cover and 721 sq km of tree cover compared to the 2019 report.
  • India’s total forest and tree cover is now spread across 80.9 million hectares, which is 62 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
  • The top five states in terms of increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km), Telangana (632 sq km), Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km) and Jharkhand (110 sq km).
  • The gain in forest cover or improvement in forest canopy density may be attributed to better conservation measures, protection, afforestation activities, tree plantation drives and agroforestry.
  • Among the mega cities in the country, Ahmedabad has been the biggest loser when it comes to forest cover.

 

States with maximum forest cover:

  • Area-wise, Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
  • 17 states/UTs have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover.

 

Challenges:

  • The north-east did not show positive results as the current assessment showed a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 1,020 sq km in the region.
  • Arunachal Pradesh lost the maximum forest cover of 257 sq km, followed by Manipur which lost 249 sq km, Nagaland 235 sq km, Mizoram 186 sq km and Meghalaya 73 sq km.
  • In total 140 hill districts of the country, the forest cover has been reduced by 902 sq km in the last two years. In the 2019 report, the forest cover in the hill regions had increased by 544 sq km.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the international day of forests.
  2. Celebrated by?
  3. Themes.
  4. State of forest cover in India- latest findings.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of forests in the growth of a country’s economy.

Sources: the Hindu.