Representational image.

While forest cover in Assam has increased by 221.54 sq km, the green cover in six Northeastern states has recorded depletion.

The India State of Forest Report 2019 brought out by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) has revealed this.

The report was released by environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi on Monday.

According to the report, the current assessment shows a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 square km in the Northeast.

The forest cover in Assam has increased by 221.54 sq km as compared to the previous assessment report of 2017, the report said.

The northeastern States that recorded a decrease in forest cover are Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland, he said.

Later replying to question, he said the government is aware of the illegal activities being carried out in the forest areas.

He was reacting to allegation of rampant rat hole mining in Meghalaya and open cast mining in the Dihing Patkai region of Assam where large scale destruction were detected.

“We have to pay attention but one of the reasons for decrease in forest cover in the Northeast could be the practice of shifting cultivation in the region,” Javadekar added.

The report said that the recorded forest area of Assam is 26,832 sq km, of which 17,864 sq km is reserve forest and 8,968 sq km is un-classed forest.

In Assam, during the period from January 1, 2015 to February 5 this year, only one hectare of forest land was diverted for non-forestry purpose.

Dibrugarh and Dima Hasao districts of Assam have, however, shown a decrease in forest cover.

Among the northeastern States, Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed a decrease of 276.22 sq km of forest cover, which can be attributed to shifting cultivation and development activities, the report said.

The forest cover in Meghalaya has decreased by 27.21 sq km, the report said, adding, the forest cover in Manipur has decreased by 499.10 sq km.

The forest cover in Mizoram has decreased by 180.49 sq km, while that in Nagaland has decreased by 2.60 sq km.

Tripura also witnessed a decrease of forest cover by 0.41 sq km.

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