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International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests is observed annually on 21 March to raise awareness of importance of forests to people. It also seeks to highlight vital role played by forests in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. The theme for year 2019 is Forests and Education. It seeks to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests provide wide array of contributions in this area. It will also provide opportunity to highlight specific forest contributions to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Sustainable Development Goals).


  • International Day of Forests was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting resolution A/RES/67/200 in November 2012.
  • The resolution encourages all Member States to organize activities for creating awareness relating to all types of forests.
  • The first International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2013 and since then it is observed annually.
  • The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF)

  • It is informal, voluntary arrangement among 14 international organizations and secretariats with substantial programmes on forests.
  • It was established in April 2001. It is chaired by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and is serviced by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat.
  • It aims to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.
  • Its objectives are to support work of UNFF and its member countries and to enhance cooperation and coordination on forest issues.
  • It provides common platform to its member organisations to streamline and align their work and to find ways of improving forest management and conservation and the production and trade of forest products.

India State of Forest Report (ISFR) – 2017

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently released India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017. It has revealed that total forest and tree cover in India has increased of over 8,021 sq km (about 80.20 million hectare) which is one percent increase from 2015.

Key Findings of ISFR 2017

  • The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1, 243 sq km.
  • The total forest and tree cover is 24.39% of geographical area of the country.
  • The increase in forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest (VDF) which absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • It is followed by increase in forest cover in open forest.

India’s Global Position

  • India is ranked 10th in world, with 24.4% of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4 % of the world surface area and sustains needs of 17 % of human and 18 % livestock population.
  • India was placed 8th in list of Top Ten nations reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area.

State-wise break-up

  • 15 states/UTs have above 33% of geographical area under forest cover.
  • About 40% of country’s forest cover is present in 9 large contiguous patches of the size of 10, 000, or more.

7 States/UTs have more than 75% forest cover: Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur.

8 States/UTs have forest cover between 33% to 75%: Tripura, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Assam.

Top 5 States with maximum increase in forest cover: Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), followed by Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km), Odisha (885 sq kms) and Telangana (565 sq kms).

Top 5 States with maximum Forest cover (in terms of area): Madhya Pradesh (77,414 sq km) Arunachal Pradesh (66,964 sq km) and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km).

Top states with highest Forest cover in terms of percentage geographical area: Lakshadweep with (90.33%), Mizoram (86.27%) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (81.73%)

Top 5 states where forest cover has decreased:

  • Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km).
  • These states are in North Eastern region of the country where total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state.
  • The main reasons for decrease are shifting cultivation, rotational felling, other biotic pressures, diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters.

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