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Indian State of Forest Report 2021

India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 was released by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

  • ISFR is a biennial (every two years) report on India’s forest and tree cover prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
  • The ISFR 2021 is the 17thedition in the series since 1987. This is the increase recorded during 2019 and 2021. The last such report was published in 2019.
  • The ISFR-2021 provides information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock, carbon stock in India’s forests, forest fire monitoring, above ground estimates of biomass using SAR data & climate change hotspots in Indian forests.
  • It also provides for the first time the forest cover in tiger reserve areas, tiger corridors and the Gir forest that houses the Asiatic lion.


  • The FSI defines ‘forest cover’ as all lands of a hectare or more with tree patches with canopy density of more than 10%. This covers all lands, irrespective of legal ownership and land use.
  • ‘Recorded forest area’ includes only those areas recorded as forests in government records and includes pristine forests.
  • The FSI has listed 4 categories of forests and the state of forest survey is based on these. They are:
Forest Classes of India Canopy Density Category-wise Forest %
Very Dense Forest 70-100% 3.04%
Moderately Dense Forest 40-70% 9.33%
Open Forest 10-40% 9.34%
Scrub <10% 1.41%
Non-forest Not covered in the above class 76.92%


Highlights of ISFR 2021

  • Total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.9 million hectare (62% of the geographical area of the country).
  • As compared to the assessment of 2019, there is an increase of 2,261 sq km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
  • Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 1,540 sq km and that in tree cover is 721 sq km.
  • Increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest.
  • There is a decline in the moderately dense forests or “natural forests”.
  • Top 3 states showing increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh followed by Telangana and Odisha. But the Northeast reported the biggest losses in forest cover.
  • Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
  • In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top 3 States are Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
  • The present assessment reveals that 17 states/UT’s have above 33% of the geographical area under forest cover.
  • Total mangrove coverin the country is 4,992 sq km. An increase of 17 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2019. Top three states showing mangrove cover increase – Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Total carbon stockin India’s forest is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes.
  • There is an increase of 79.4 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2019.
  • The annual increase in the carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes. It also identifies 35.46% of the forest cover as prone to forest fires.
  • Climate Change Hotspots– The report has also mapped the climate change hotspots in Indian forests, based on projections for 2030, 2050 and 2080.
  • It predicted that Himalayan states and UTs (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Ladakh) will record the maximum increase in temperature and may experience decrease in rainfall. Extreme rainfall may also increase in the states of the North East.

Other Findings 

    • Jammu and Kashmir has lost very dense forests but gained open forests. Increase in open forests is led by commercial plantations.
    • Total forest area of Himachal Pradesh has increased by 9 sq km.
    • But there has been loss of open and Moderately Dense Forest.
    • Moderately dense forests are usually close to human habitations.
  • Loss of forest cover in the Himalayas and North East is attributed to an increase in developmental activities as well as agriculture.

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