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Global Forest Watch

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment Conservation


Source: TH

 Context: A study quoted by the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch reveals that tropical areas experienced a significant decline in forest cover in 2022.


Key findings:

  • The loss amounted to 4.1 million hectares, equivalent to an area the size of 11 football fields disappearing every minute.
  • The primary forest cover loss in tropical regions was 10% higher in 2022 compared to the previous year.
  • The study highlights that the world is not on track to meet its forest-related commitments:
  • Two key goals set by the World Resources Institute include ending deforestation by 2030
    • However, the global deforestation rate needs to decrease by at least 10% annually to meet the 2030 target.
    • While deforestation rates reduced by 3.1% in 2022 compared to the 2018-2020 baseline, they still exceeded the necessary levels by over one million hectares, indicating a deviation from the 2030 goal.
  • Restoring 350 million hectares of lost and degraded forests by 2030.
    • The overall change in tree cover over the past two decades has been a net loss of 100 million hectares. This indicates that forests are still being lost instead of being restored at the required rate.
  • Countries like Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with substantial tropical forest cover, experienced significant losses in 2022.
  • India: The study also highlights India’s loss of 44 thousand hectares of humid primary forest between 2021 and 2022, accounting for 17% of the country’s total tree cover loss during that period.


What are Primary forests?

Primary forests, also known as old-growth forests or virgin forests, are mature and undisturbed natural forests that have not experienced significant human intervention or alteration in recent history. These forests have reached a stage of ecological maturity and exhibit a complex and diverse ecosystem with fully developed tree canopy layers, understory vegetation, and rich biodiversity.

  • Significance: They play a crucial role in storing carbon and supporting biodiversity. Once lost, the regrowth of secondary forests cannot match the ecological and carbon sequestration capabilities of primary forests.


Global Forest Watch (launched 2014) is an open-source web application to monitor global forests in near real-time. GFW is an initiative of the World Resources Institute, with partners including Google, USAID, the University of Maryland, Esri, Vizzuality and many other academic, non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Developer: World Resources Institute (WRI)


Insta Links:

State of Forest Report 2021


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2021)

Consider the following statements

Statement 1: The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Arbor Day Foundation have recently recognized Hyderabad as the 2020 Tree City of the World.

Statement 2: Hyderabad was selected for recognition for a year following its commitment to growing and maintaining urban forests.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?


      1. Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 are correct and Statement 2 is the correct explanation for statement 1
      2. Both statement 1 and Statement 2 are correct but Statement 2 is not the correct explanation for Statement 1
      3. Statement 1 is correct But Statement 2 is not correct
      4. Statement 1 is not correct but Statement 2 is correct


Ans: 4