Sep 12, 2014
LUCKNOW: A loss of 3 sq km ‘very dense’ forest cover in Agra has caught forest department off-guard. The Forest Survey of India’s 2013 assessment report of forest cover in the country shows loss of 12 sq km of’ ‘very dense and moderately dense’ forest cover in UP. Forest cover has increased by a dismal 0.01% from the last 2011 assessment. In the forest department’s review meeting held on Friday, officers had no clue what caused the loss of forest cover in Agra. PCCF, UP, JS Asthana is out of country. But PCCF (wildlife), Rupak De, who is heading forestry division at present, says, “It’s a matter of scrutiny and orders have been issued to probe the cause.”
About 9 sq km of ‘moderately dense’ forest has been lost in Kheri, Pilibhit and Bijnore. The report says it is meandering Sharda river which has caused the loss of forest cover in its basin. But, report is silent on what caused loss of ‘very dense’ forest in Agra. “It’s anthropogenic pressure. It’s cattle grazing and human depleting forest for firewood which could be one reason,” says the official.
The report released recently shows forest cover increasing by meagre 0.01% (11 sq km) in the state. While dense and very dense forest, lying in the category of reserved forest, show a decline, it’s only open forest which shows an increase from the earlier assessment.
Very dense, moderately dense and open forest (plantation on forest land) are categorized on basis of canopy density. Very dense has 70% canopy density, moderately dense has 40 to 70% canopy desnity and open forest has a canopy density of 10 to 40%. Tree cover, which is outside forest area like roadside, along canals and on land other than forest, has also shown a decline from the previous 2011 assessment of green cover by FSI.
Very dense forest — 1,626 sq km
Moderately dense — 4,559 sq km
Open forest — 8,153 sq km
Tree cover — 7,782 sq km
Very dense forest — 1,623 sq km
Moderately dense — 4,550 sq km
Open forest — 8,176 sq km
Tree cover — 6,895 sq km
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com