New Delhi : As per decision 19/Conference of Parties (CP) 9-Kyoto Protocol, the forest can be defined by any country depending upon the capacities and capabilities of the country as follows:-
Forest- Forest is defined structurally on the basis of
- Crown cover percentage: Tree crown cover- 10 to 30% (India 10%)
- Minimum area of stand: area between 0.05 and 1 hectare (India 1.0 hectare) and
- Minimum height of trees: Potential to reach a minimum height at maturity in situ of 2 to 5 m (India 2m)
India’s definition of forest has been taken on the basis of above three criteria only and very well accepted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for their reporting/communications. The forest cover is defined as ‘all land, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such land may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm’. The definition of forest cover has clearly been defined in all the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) and in all the International communications of India.
In ISFR 2021 recently published by the Ministry on 13th January, 2022, the forest cover figures are divided as ‘Inside Recorded Forest Area’ and ‘Outside Recorded Forest Area’. Those ‘Inside Recorded Forest Area’ are basically natural forests and plantations of Forest Department. The Forest cover ‘Outside Recorded Forest Area’ are mango orchards, coconut plantations, block plantations of agroforestry. Thus data of mango plantations etc. is automatically getting separated out as Forest Survey of India is reporting the figures of ‘Outside Recorded Forest Area’ separately.
The Interpretation of satellite data for classifying Very Dense Forest (VDF) is also supported by the ancilliary data like field inventory data of FSI, ground truthing data and high resolution satellite imagery wherever required.
At present, there is no plan to change the definition of forest cover and very dense forest. The definition of forest cover in ISFR represents true picture as described.
All India State of Forest Reports having state wise forest cover maps and district wise forest cover figure are available at FSI website.
This information was given by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in Rajya Sabha today.