The dichotomy in India’s green drive: its forest cover is getting bigger, thinner


A protestor holds a poster highlighting environmental hazards, wildfires, and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai on August 23, 2019.


The forest cover in the country has increased by 3,976 square kilometres in two years. But very-dense and moderate forests have degraded to open forests, scrub, and even non-forest areas at a high rate. This means India’s green cover now has lower carbon-sequestration capacity, which helps fight climate change.

As Delhi was shivering under the coldest December day in over 100 years, environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s reassuring smile at the release of the India State of Forest Report 2019 brought some warmth to many in the audience. The highlight of the biennial report was even more reassuring – the forest cover in the country has increased by 3,976 square kilometres (sq km) since 2017. But a closer look at the numbers in the report shows the

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