Tree cover in Gujarat shrank between 2006 and 2017: CAG

GANDHINAGAR: Forest cover in Gujarat increased between 2006 and 2017 but the tree cover decreased, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has noted in a report. “Tree cover” comprises tree patches outside recorded forest area, exclusive of forest cover, the report, tabled in the state Assembly on Friday, explained.
The tree cover in the state was 8,390 sq km in 2006 but it shrank to 6,910 sq km in 2017, the CAG report said.
While the forest cover in the country is 21.67 per cent of total area, in Gujarat it is 7.57 per cent, it noted.
The National Forest Policy of 1988 envisaged that the goal should be to have one-third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover, the report said.
“Forest cover” includes all lands more than one hectare with a tree canopy density of more than 10 per cent, irrespective of ownership and legal status.
Out of the 1,96,000 sq km area of Gujarat, 14,620 sq km area was under forest cover in 2006, which increased to 14,860 sq km in 2017, the CAG report said, quoting the India State of Forest Report of the Forest Survey of India.
During the same period, tree cover decreased from 8,390 sq km in 2006 to 6,910 sq km in 2017.
At the national level, the forest cover grew from 690.90 thousand sq km to 712.25 thousand sq km, while tree cover grew from 92.77 thousand sq km to 95.03 thousand sq km during the same period, it said.
The aggregate forest and tree cover of India rose from 783.67 thousand sq km in 2006 to 807.28 thousand sq km in 2017.
In Gujarat, meanwhile, it decreased from 23.01 thousand sq km to 21.77 thousand sq km, the CAG said.

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