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India Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 67,701,000 ha
% of land area: 22.8%

Primary forest cover: n/a
% of land area: n/a
% total forest area: n/a

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: 29,400 ha
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in defor. rate since '90s: -92.3%
Total forest loss since 1990: 3,762,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990:5.9%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990:n/a

Forest Classification
Public: 98.4%
Private: 1.6%
Other: 0%
Production: 21.2%
Protection: 14.8%
Conservation: 21.7%
Social services: n/a
Multiple purpose: 42.4%
None or unknown: n/a

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 67,701,000 ha
Primary: n/a
Modified natural: 32,943,000 ha
Semi-natural: 31,532,000 ha
Production plantation: 1,053,000 ha
Production plantation: 2,173,000 ha

Plantations, 2005: 3,226,000 ha
% of total forest cover: 4.8%
Annual change rate (00-05): 84,200,000 ha

Carbon storage
Above-ground biomass: 4,093 M t
Below-ground biomass: 1,085 M t

Area annually affected by
Fire: 3,700,000 ha
Insects: 1,000,000 ha
Diseases: 8,400,000 ha

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: n/a
Critically endangered: 50
Endangered: 98
Vulnerable: 98

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 1,252,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 3,472,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: $208,644,000
Wood fuel: $8,023,000
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): $179,132,000
Total Value: $395,799,000

More forest statistics for India

Tropical forest cover in India has been reduced to two major areas: the coastal hills of the Western Ghats (about 55,000 square miles or 135,000 sq. km) and 14,000 square miles (34,500 sq. km) in Northeastern India. Very little of India's forest cover is considered pristine.

In recent years, the government has become more vigilant at protecting forest resources. The fundamental shift occurred in 1988 when India switched the focus of its forest policy from a production mentality to an environmental one and began taking steps to reduce illegal logging and encourage wood imports in an effort to conserve local supplies. Reforestation is encouraged and plantation coverage has expanded by 65 percent since 1990. As a result of these efforts, total forest cover is actually increasing in India, although degradation of natural forest is still occurring, primarily as a result of subsistence agriculture, fuelwood collection, and cutting for construction materials.

Deforestation is perceived to be the culprit behind a number of environmental problems from floods, to soil erosion, to desertification, and today India has a particularly active environmental movement, especially at the grassroots level. Currently about 5 percent of the country has protected status under IUCN categories I-V.

From a biodiversity standpoint, India has some 2,356 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, of which 18.4 percent are endemic. Of these, 10.8 percent are threatened. The country is home to at least 18,664 species of vascular plants, of which 26.8 percent are endemic.

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Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

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Last updated: 4 Feb 2006