In the last two years, Gujarat has lost close to 100 square kilometre (sq km) of forest area due to human activity. This is a good 13 per cent of the national loss (728 sq km) of forest area that roughly equals the limits of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Close to half of this has been lost in the dense and moderately dense category, according to a recent report released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
The report says that satellite imagery carried out during October-December 2004 has revealed that the loss of green cover is due to human activity. In other words, increasing population pressures are taking a toll on the state’s forest cover.
The report also takes the State Forest department to task. While the latest official data released last month pegs the forest cover at 19,080 sq km, the FSI report puts the figure at 18,962 sq km � a shortfall of 118 sq km.
The report further says that the government’s claims of forests covering 9.8 per cent of the state’s geographical area, is also wrong. Gujarat has only 9.6 per cent green cover, the report says.
According to the report, the very dense forest makes for 114 sq km, while moderately dense forest and open forest area make for 6,024 and 8,577 sq km respectively. The dense forest cover in Gujarat is now limited to just three of the 26 districts, Dangs (78 sq km), Surat (27 sq km), and Junagadh (9 sq km).
The only saving grace for the state’s forest department has been that mangroves have shown an increase of 20 sq km between the present and the last survey. From 916 sq km in 2003 it has increased to 936 sq km in the present report. District wise, Jamnagar has shown the highest increase of 9 sq km with a total at 150 sq km now.
Source : http://www.expressindia.com