Current Affairs

Global Forest Watch's Perspective

India's Declining Tree Cover Since 2000: Global Forest Watch's Perspective

According to data from Global Forest Watch, India has lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000, which has had a major effect on the country's carbon balance.
According to Global Forest Watch, 2.33 million hectares of forest cover have been lost in India since 2000. This loss affects the nation's carbon balance and climate change and is a result of both natural disturbances and human-induced events.

Trends in Tree Cover Loss

India saw a 6% decline in tree cover between 2000 and 2023; of this, 4,14,000 hectares of humid primary forest were lost, accounting for 18% of the total loss of tree cover during this time.


Equilibrium Carbon

India's forests removed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually between 2001 and 2022, leaving 89.9 million tones of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted annually, making India a net carbon sink.

Reasons for Loss of Tree Cover

Deforestation, logging, fire, illness, and natural disturbances like storms are examples of human-caused activities that result in a reduction in tree cover. Within India's natural forests, 95% of the decline in tree cover happened between 2013 and 2023.

Area-Wide Trends

60% of the total loss of tree cover between 2001 and 2023 was attributed to five states: Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur. Assam suffered the most loss, covering 324,000 hectares.


Fire Mishaps

Between 2002 and 2022, fires caused 35,900 hectares of tree cover to be lost in India; Odisha had the largest average annual loss of 238 hectares.


Difficulties with Measuring

Because tree cover can be seen through satellite photography, Global Forest Watch utilizes it as a statistic to track changes in forests. However, changes in tree cover may not always signify deforestation, and land use concerns provide technical difficulties for monitoring forest extent.

 Global Forest Watch's Perspective