(For Civil Services Prelims Exam 2019)



  • India State of Forest Report (ISFR) is a biennial publication of Forest survey of India (FSI), an organization under the Ministry of Environment Forest, & Climate Change.
  • The first State of Forest Report was brought out in 1987. Since then, FSI has published 14 such reports and the ISFR 2017 is the 15″ in the series.
  • The report provides state/district wise forest cover of the country and changes thereon with respect to the previous assessment.
  • It provides the estimates of growing stock within and outside the forest areas, forest cover in hill, tribal and north eastern states, carbon and other important aspects such as tree, bamboo and mangrove cover.
  • The forest cover assessment based on remote sensing supported by intensive ground verification and field data from National Forest Inventory. The tree cover estimation is a sampling based exercise and estimated partly through high-resolution satellite data and partly through field inventory data of Trees Outside Forest (TOF). The information on growing/carbon stock and other important characteristics are estimated through field inventory data of forest and TOF under its regular inventory programme.
  • The FSI classify forest cover into three density classes viz. (Since 2001)
  1. Very Dense Forest (canopy density >70%)
  2. Moderately Dense Forest (canopy density 40 % to 70%)
  3. Open Forest (canopy density 10 to 40%)

(Before 2001, there were only two classes viz. Dense Forest (canopy density above 40%) and open forest (canopy density between 10% to 40%).)

  • The term ‘Forest Cover’ refers to all lands more than one hectare in area with a tree canopy of more than 10 %, irrespective of land use, ownership and legal status. It may include even orchards, bamboo, palm etc and is assessed through remote sensing.
  • The term ‘Recorded Forest Area’ or ‘Forest Area’ refers to all the geographic areas recorded as ‘Forests’ in government records. Recorded forest area mainly consists of Reserved Forests (RF) and Protected Forests (PF), which have been notified under the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927 or its counterpart State Acts. Besides RFs and PFs, the recorded forest area may also include all such areas, which have been recorded as forests in the revenue records or have been constituted so under any state Act or local laws. ay have blank areas with tree density less than 10 % such as degraded lands, wetlands, rivers, riverbeds, creeks in mangroves, snow-covered areas, glaciers and other snow covered areas, alpine pastures, cold deserts, grasslands etc. As per the definition of forest cover, such areas are excluded from the assessment of forest cover. On the other hand, there are areas outside the recorded forests with tree patches of one hectare and more with canopy density above 10%. For example plantations on the private/ community lands, road, rail and canal sides, rubber, tea, and coffee plantations etc. Such areas also constitute forest cover and are included in the forest cover assessment.
  • Sates with highest Recorded Forest Areas (%age of Geographical Area)
  1. Sikkim- 82.31
  2. Manipur- 78.01
  3. Himachal Pradesh- 66.52
  4. Andhra Pradesh- 61.39
  5. Tripura-60.02
  • Union Territories arranged in order of decreasing Recorded Forest Areas (%age of Geographical Area)
  1. Andaman and Nicobar-86.93
  2. Dadra and Nagar Haveli- 41.55
  3. Chandigarh-30.70
  4. Daman and Diu- 7.2
  5. Delhi- 6.8
  6. Puducherry- 2.65
  7. Lakshadweep- 0.00
  • Nagaland has shown a decrease in reserved forest area as compared to the 2015 assessment.
  • Till date, digitized forest boundaries of RFA from only 16 States are available and accordingly have been used for analysis and calculation of Forest Cover in the present ISFR. These States/UTs are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andaman& Nicobar Islands, Goa, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Odisha.
  • Due to non-availability of digitized boundaries of RFA from many states, it is not possible to give forest cover inside and outside the recorded forest area of such states. Thus, in the absence of digitized boundaries of the RFA, green wash areas have been taken as proxy to RFA. The green-wash refer to the portions of Survey of India topographic sheets representing the forest at the time of survey carried out to prepare such topographic sheets. This green wash by and large corresponds to recorded forest area of the country.
  • e-Green WatchIt enables the temporal change detection for the effective monitoring and evaluation. The application hosted on FSI portal is capable of depicting the Compensatory Afforestation, Diverted Land, Plantations, and other Asset categories on the Google earth imagery. At present 28 States and UTs are linked to the e-Green Watch Portal.
  • Decision Support System (DSS) is Web-GIS based application developed by FSI, to provide qualitative and quantitative information with respect to Forests. It enables forest managers to arrive at a well informed decision. Geospatial Data used in the DSS application includes Hydrological layer, Protected Areas (PA) including Tiger Reserves (TR), Tiger corridors, Forest Cover layer, Forest Types layer, Biological Richness (BR), and Landscape Integrity (LI) etc. This portal expedites the process of decision making and calculation of Net Present Value. Other layers like State, District and Forest Administrative boundaries, Recorded Forest Area are also available for visualization.
  • FAO regularly monitors the world’s forests and their management under Global Forest Resources Assessments (GFRA) through country reporting system by member countries. Every five years, FAO brings out a report on GFRA, which provides trend of global forest resources and changes as compared to previous assessment. The latest report published by FAO is GFRA 2015. It examines the current status and recent trends for about 90 variables covering the extent, condition, uses etc of forests and other wooded land, with the aim of assessing all benefits from forest resources.
  • As per the GFRA 2015, it is observed that over the past 25 years forest area has reduced from 4.1 billion ha to 4 billion ha, a decrease of 3.1 percent. The rate of global forest area change has slowed by more than 50 percent between 1990 and 2015. This change results from a combination of reduced forest conversion rates in some countries and increased forest area expansion in others.


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