May 30, 2024

General Studies Paper -3

Context: India has lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000, equivalent to a six percent decrease in tree cover during this period, according to the latest data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring project.

  • The Global Forest Watch tracks forest changes in near real-time using satellite data and other sources.


  • Primary Forest Loss: India lost 4,14,000 hectares of humid primary forest (4.1 per cent) from 2002 to 2023, making up 18 percent of its total tree cover loss in the same period.
  • Tree Cover Loss: From 2001 to 2023, India lost 2.33 Mha of tree cover, equivalent to a 6.0% decrease in tree cover since 2000.
    • From 2013 to 2023, 95% of tree cover loss in India occurred within natural forest.
    • Five states accounted for 60 percent of all tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023.
    • Assam had the maximum tree cover loss followed by Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and
  • Tree Cover Gain: In India, the top 6 regions were responsible for 54% of all tree cover gain between 2000 and 2020. Karnataka had the most tree cover gain.
    • From 2000 to 2020, India gained 1.4% of the global total.
  • All Tree Cover: As of 2010, the top 7 regions represent 55% of all tree cover.
    • Arunachal Pradesh had the most tree cover followed by Assam, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Odisha.
  • Loss Due to Forest Fires: India lost 35,900 hectares of tree cover due to fires from 2002 to 2022, with 2008 recording the maximum tree cover loss due to fires.
    • From 2001 to 2022, Odisha had the highest rate of tree cover loss due to fires. Arunachal Pradesh lost 198 hectares, Nagaland 195 hectares, Assam 116 hectares, and Meghalaya 97 hectares.
  • Carbon Sink: Between 2001 and 2022, forests in India emitted 51 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year and removed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.
    • This represents a net carbon sink of 89.9 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.


  • The tree cover loss data featured on the Global Forest Watch represents the best available spatial figures on how forests are changing around the world.
  • The monitoring and alert system is designed to empower people everywhere with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.
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