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India State of Forest Report (ISFR), Key Findings and Concerns

Context: A satellite-imagery-based analysis by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Sustainability, suggested that India may have lost nearly 5.8 million full-grown trees in agricultural lands between 2019 and 2022.

India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021

  • Increase in Forest and Tree Cover: India’s forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 square kilometres in the last two years, with Andhra Pradesh contributing the most with an increase of 647 square kilometres.
    • An increase of 1,540 square kilometres of forest cover and 721 square kilometres of tree cover compared to the 2019 report.
  • Total Forest and Tree Cover: India’s total forest and tree cover now spans 80.9 million hectares, which is 62% of the country’s geographical area.
  • Top Five States by Increase: The top five states with the highest increase in forest cover are:
    1. Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km)
    2. Telangana (632 sq km)
    3. Odisha (537 sq km)
    4. Karnataka (155 sq km)
    5. Jharkhand (110 sq km).
  • Reasons for Increase: The gain in forest cover or improvement in forest canopy density can be attributed to better conservation measures, protection, afforestation activities, tree plantation drives, and agroforestry.
  • Forest Cover Loss in Mega Cities: Among the mega cities, Ahmedabad has experienced the greatest loss in forest cover.

States with Maximum Forest Cover

  • Area-wise, Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra.
  • 17 states/UTs have over 33% of their geographical area under forest cover.
    • Among these, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya have more than 75% forest cover.
  • Mangrove Cover:
    • There has been an increase of 17 square kilometres in mangrove cover since the previous assessment in 2019.
    • The total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 square kilometres.
    • The top three states showing an increase in mangrove cover are Odisha (8 sq km), Maharashtra (4 sq km), and Karnataka (3 sq km).
  • Carbon Stock:
    • The total carbon stock in India’s forests is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes, with an increase of 79.4 million tonnes since the last assessment in 2019. The annual increase in the carbon stock is 39.7 million tonnes.

Comparison Between The Forest Survey Of India And The Satellite Imagery Analysis

Aspect Forest Survey of India (FSI) Satellite Imagery Analysis (University of Copenhagen)
Data Sources Sentinel satellite RapidEye and PlanetScope satellites
Analysis Method
  • Coarser resolution (10 metres)
  • Data on acreage changes.
  • Higher resolution (3 to 5 metres) and machine learning
  • Changes in the number of individual trees
  • Tree cover inside and outside forests.
  • Focuses on broad tree cover trends
  • Large individual trees in farmlands.
  • Focuses on trends of large individual trees in farmlands
Survey Frequency Regular surveys (biennial) Analysis conducted for 2010-2022
Specific Findings Increase in tree cover of 2261 sq km. between 2019-2021.
  • Disappearance of 11% of trees from 2010-2011 to 2018-2022.
  • 5.8 million full-grown trees lost from 2019 to 2022

About Forest Survey of India (FSI)

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) is a premier national organisation under the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, responsible for the regular assessment and monitoring of the country’s forest resources. FSI also provides training, research, and extension services.

Establishment of Forest Survey of India (FSI)

FSI was established on June 1, 1981, succeeding the “Pre-investment Survey of Forest Resources” (PISFR), a project initiated in 1965 by the Government of India with sponsorship from FAO and UNDP.


  • The main objective of PISFR was to ascertain the availability of raw materials for the establishment of wood-based industries in selected areas of the country.
  • In its 1976 report, the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA) recommended the creation of a National Forest Survey Organization for regular, periodic, and comprehensive forest resources surveys, leading to the establishment of FSI.
  • After a critical review of activities undertaken by FSI, the Government of India redefined the mandate of FSI in 1986 to make it more relevant to the rapidly changing needs and aspirations of the country.

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