Deforestation in India

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

India’s forests are destroyed at an alarming rate, owing to soaring human populations, concomitant demand for agricultural and residential land, and economic development.

The following are statistics of deforestation in India over the recent years:

  1. Government data showed that 14,000 km2 of forests were destroyed to accommodate 23,716 industrial projects in India over the last 30 years.

  2. From 2005 to 2007, India lost 2,206 km2 of dense forests, which increased to 6,407 km2 in 2015–2017.

  3. According to the Forest Status Report published by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2011, forest and tree covers extended over 78.29 million hectares in India, which is 23.81% of its geographical area; however, forest cover should constitute 33% of any country’s area.

  4. Between 2014 and 2017, Indian forestland equivalent to 63 football fields were cleared for development activities every day.

  5. As of 2016, it was reported that while 15,000 km2 of forestland were destroyed because of encroachments, 14,000 km2 were destroyed for ‘developmental activities,’ including mining, defense projects, and hydroelectric projects in the last thirty years.

  6. If this trend continues, the Indian forest value may reach zero in the next 20 years or so.

Nevertheless, the Indian Government has taken several steps to protect the country’s forest cover. Some of them are the Indian Forest Act 1927, Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and Forest (Conservation) Rules 1981, National Forest Policy 1988, National Mission for a Green India (a ten-year programme), and National Afforestation Programme 2006, to name a few.

Deforestation lies at the origin of most environmental crises, such as global warming, climate change, and so on. Our existence on Mother Earth can prolong only if her forests are protected.

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