Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (250 words) [2020]

Forests are significant carbon pools and play a key role in the global carbon cycle. The “India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019” found that India’s total forest and tree cover, which is 24.56% of the total geographical area of the country, is 80.73 million hectares.

  1. Madhya Pradesh has the largest area-wise forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra. In the past few years, there has been an increase of over 13 lakh hectares of forest and tree cover, which has had an impact on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  2. India’s total mangrove cover is 4,975 sq km, with an increase of 54 sq km in mangrove cover in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Odisha. These mangrove ecosystems provide important ecological services, but they are threatened by climate change. However, the increase in mangrove cover is a positive sign for maintaining their uniqueness and biodiversity richness.
  3. Bamboo covers 16 million hectares, with an increase of 0.32 million hectares in bamboo-bearing areas. Bamboo has many benefits, including significant climate services related to afforestation/reforestation, belowground carbon stores, and highly effective carbon sinks. It can also help societies adapt to climate change by integrating into other systems such as urbanization, croplands, and agroforestry.
  4. India has seen an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in its carbon stock, with a total carbon stock in the country’s forests of about 7,125 million tonnes. Carbon stocking is important for climate change mitigation as it refers to the absolute quantity of carbon held within a pool at a specified time.
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