Hyderabad: The forest cover over Telangana has increased by 632 square km in two years, the second-highest increase among all states.
This was revealed in the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021, a biennial publication of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), under the Union Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.
The area under green cover in Telangana increased from 20,582 square km to 21,214 square km in two years. Andhra Pradesh performed even better and recorded a rise of 647 square km, standing first among all states.
In another boost to TS, among the mega cities, over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021, Hyderabad witnessed the highest maximum gain as regards raising the forest cover. It increased from 33.15 to 81.81 square km in 2021 – a significant 147 per cent increase.
During the same period, the forest cover reduced in Bengaluru (-5 per cent) and Kolkata (-30 per cent), and rose by smaller margins in Chennai (26 per cent), Delhi (11 per cent) and Mumbai (9 per cent).
Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Telangana, R Sobha attributed the state’s good performance to the massive Telanganaku Haritha Haram programme. Started in 2015, the state has planted 241.53 crore saplings under this initiative, by spending `8,260.76 crore. In addition, 10.34 lakh acres of forests have also been rejuvenated.
As for Andhra’s performance, an official from the AP forest department said an analysis of the parameter showed that while the area categorised as ‘very dense forest’ (over 70 per cent canopy density) had remained the same, the area under ‘open forest’ (10-40 per cent canopy density) had mainly contributed to the overall growth in the figure.
“Looking at the pressures on forests for various purposes, we have been able to maintain the area under very dense cover and increase the overall area though there existed a large number of vacancies in the department. Almost 50 per cent of the posts in the field level are vacant. Considering these ground realities, this is a great achievement for every beat officer, who is taking care of 25-40 square km of area.”...