Home > Current Affairs > National > Global Forest Watch: India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover

Global Forest Watch: India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 17-04-2024
Global Forest Watch: India lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover Report 5 min read

Since 2000, India has lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover, which is a six percent decrease, according to data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring project.

Key highlights of report

  • India has lost a significant amount of its humid primary forest over the last two decades, according to the Global Forest Watch. 
  • From 2002 to 2023, the country lost 4,14,000 hectares of forest, making up 18% of its total tree cover loss in the same period. 
  • The forests in India emitted 51 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year and removed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year between 2001 and 2022. 
  • This means that the forests in India were able to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they produced, making them a net carbon sink of 89.9 million tons per year.
  • The loss of forests accelerates climate change, as forests are both a sink and a source for carbon. When standing or regrowing, forests remove carbon dioxide from the air, and when cleared or degraded, they emit it. 
  • Tree cover loss is not always deforestation, which refers to the permanent removal of natural forest cover caused by humans. Tree cover loss can also occur due to natural disturbances, including logging, fire, disease, or storm damage. 

States with maximum loss

  • The data provided by Global Forest Watch (GFW) indicates that five states accounted for 60% of all tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023. 
  • Among these states, Assam had the highest tree cover loss of 324,000 hectares, which is significantly higher than the average loss of 66,600 hectares. 
  • Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur also experienced significant tree cover loss, with 312,000 hectares, 262,000 hectares, 259,000 hectares, and 240,000 hectares lost, respectively.
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, India had the second-highest rate of deforestation in the world between 2015 and 2020, with a loss of 668,000 hectares per year.

Forest Loss due to fire

  • Between 2002 and 2022, India lost 35,900 hectares of tree cover due to fires. In 2008, the country lost the most amount of tree cover due to fires. 
  • Odisha had the highest rate of tree cover loss due to fires from 2001 to 2022, losing an average of 238 hectares per year. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, and Meghalaya also lost significant amounts of tree cover during this period. 

Tree cover

  • The Global Forest Watch uses the term "tree cover" when referring to forest extent, loss, and gain. This is because tree cover is easily measurable from space using satellite imagery, making it a convenient metric for monitoring forest change. 
  • It can be monitored frequently, over large geographic scales, and at low cost. However, tree cover does not always indicate the existence of a forest, and the loss or gain of tree cover does not always mean deforestation or forest restoration.
  • Measuring these variables directly can be challenging because most definitions of a forest involve a combination of tree cover and land use. This makes monitoring land use difficult, if not impossible in some cases, using satellite imagery, according to the GFW.


Answer: Lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover

Answer: Assam
Leave a Review

Utkarsh Classes

Download India's Best Educational App

With the trust and confidence that our students have placed in us, the Utkarsh Mobile App has become India’s Best Educational App on the Google Play Store. We are striving to maintain the legacy by updating unique features in the app for the facility of our aspirants.