India is a developing country, population and subsequent
to their requirements has grown exponentially in recent past. To balance the
demand and supply of daily needs it is necessary to maintain the optimum
infrastructure so that transportation does not appear as bottleneck. Increasing
rail and road project is one among the example of such infrastructure project
where policy makers are aiming to reduce the dependency on delayed
transportation for agricultural and other product. Currently there are various
ongoing projects where government is either planning to construct new road or
rail network or widening of the existing corridor.
Falling of trees in these projects are quite
common which attracts the attention of Environmental activity quite often, it
results in decreasing trees count in project affected or urban area. Prior to
the initiation of project, environmental Impact assessment is being done as a
mandatory procedure. However, for sake of development at many times environment
is being compromised.
Good News is, Currently
More than 25% of the Lnadmass of India is covered with dense forest and it is
getting increased as per report by world bank and Report published by forest
survey of India. However, the challenge is that the current coverage is far behind
the target of 33% forest coverage.
Importance of Trees for
It provides approx. 28% of the atmospheric
Oxygen and can be considered as a major indicator of healthy environment based
on their presence or absence. Although for healthy environment, Man: Tree ratio
is not yet quantified, however abundance of trees in an area adds fresh air to
breathe, food or shelter to various fauna, Shelter from sunlight and rainfall
and at times determining factor for rainfall in the vicinity.
Benefit of trees near
The concept of social forestry by planting
trees advocates the food, fodder and fuel wood concepts. In parallel with that
it also plays an important role in fighting climate change by absorbing harmful
greenhouse gases in environment. These Greenhouse gases plays major role in
increasing global temperature.
Tree Cover in India:
According to the world
bank report, the total forest cover of the country has increased in past
several years. Here it is important to note that despite several environmental
challenge of deforestation or falling of trees due to infrastructure project
the forest area has increased considerably. As per government report the forest
in India covers, 712,249 square kilometers
percent of India’s total geographical area) slightly up from 708,273 sq. km
(21.54 percent) in 2017. The tree cover of the country is 95,027 sq. km (2.89
percent of the total area) again slightly up from 93,815 sq. km. (2.85 percent)
Forest cover Assessment
The periodic Assesment of forest cover in India was started in year 1987 using Remote sensing Methodology by Forest Survey of India. All tree stands with canopy density over 10% and having and extent of more than one hectare, including tree orchard, bamboo, palms etc within recorded forests, on other government lands, private, community or institutional lands are included in the assessment of forest cover. As per report published by Government of India the total forest cover in India as per 2019 assessment is as below.