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Official data shows that five northeastern Indian states have the highest percentage of forest cover when compared to the entire geographical area.
According to the India State of Forest Report 2021, the top five states in terms of forest cover as a percentage of total geographical area are Mizoram (84.53 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33 percent), Meghalaya (76 percent), Manipur (74.34 percent), and Nagaland (73.90 percent).

These states were in the top five rankings in 2019, but their percentage area has decreased slightly this year. Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%), and Nagaland (75.46%) were the top five states in terms of forest cover as a proportion of total geographical area during the 2019 assessment (75.31 per cent).

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav released the ‘India State of Forest Report 2021‘ on Thursday. It was created by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which has been responsible for assessing the country’s forest and tree resources since 1987.

Since the latest evaluation in 2019, the country’s total forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 sq km, with 1,540 sq km of forest cover and 721 sq km of tree cover. According to the research, the country’s overall forest and tree cover is 80.9 million hectares, or 24.62 percent of its geographical area. Open woodland has seen an increase in forest cover, followed by deep forest.

The total forest and tree cover of the country was 80.73 million hectares in 2019, which was 24.56 per cent of the geographical area of the country. The environment ministry said that as compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country. Out of this, the increase in the forest cover was 3,976 sq km and that in tree cover was 1,212 sq. km.

As per the latest report, area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra. At least 17 states/UT’s have over 33 percent of the geographical area under forest cover. However, the maximum increase in forest cover has been witnessed in Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km) followed by Telangana (632 sq km) and Odisha (537 sq km). In 2019, the top three states showing an increase in forest cover were: Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km).

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