The total tree and forest cover in the country increased by 5,188 square kilometer in the last two years, said the India State of Forest Report 2019 which was released on Monday by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The tree cover, which refers to small patches of less than 1 hectare outside forests, is estimated at 95,027 sq km which is 2.89% of the geographical area.
While releasing the report,Javadekar said that there is an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of the country as compared to the last assessment of 2017.
"This report gives us confidence that we are on track to achieve our Paris Agreement goals," he said.
He also said that the current assessment shows a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45 per cent) in north east India region.Except Assam and Tripura, all states in the region show decrease in forest cover.The mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10 per cent) as compared to the previous assessment, he said.
Karanataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have recorded the highest increase in the forest cover, much of which has been attributed to the conservation activities both within and outside the recorded forest areas. These states are followed by Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
The Forest Survey of India, which also mapped the mangrove cover in the coastal areas spread across 12 states and Union Territories, found an increase of 54 sq km or 1.1% in such cover from the previous assessment.
As a matter of concern, the report also showed that nearly 22 per cent of the forest in the country are highly prone to forest fires. This was estimated using forest fire detection data compiled by the FSI over the last 13 years.
The survey is carried out using remote sensing technique followed by field survey resulting in a forest cover map of India on 1:50,00,000 scale. At present, Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under forest cover followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.