NEW DELHI, Dec 4 - The forest cover in the North East region has decreased by 628 sq km. The total forest cover in Assam has also declined by 48 sq km.
The fresh data are part of the India State of Forest Report 2015 released by Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar here this afternoon.
According to the current assessment, the total forest cover in the North East is 171,964 sq km, which is 65.59 per cent of its total geographical area, in comparison to the national forest cover of 21.34 per cent, the reports said. Very dense, moderately dense and open forest cover constitute 14.81 per cent, 43.85 per cent and 41.34 per cent, respectively.
The current assessment shows an actual decrease of forest to the extent of 628 sq km in the NE region, the report said.
The State of Forest Report of 2013 also showed a decrease of Eastern States� forest cover to the extent of 627 sq km in the north-eastern region. The NE region has been identified as one of the 18 biodiversity hot spots of the world.
The main reason for this decrease is attributed to the biotic pressure and shifting cultivation in the region.
Among the NE States, Mizoram has recorded the highest decrease in forest of 307 sq km, followed by Nagaland (� 78 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh
(�73 sq km), Tripura (� 55 sq km), while Sikkim recorded a forest cover loss of 1 sq km.
Meanwhile, the Forest Report said that the decrease in forest cover of Assam is mainly due to encroachment in forest land, biotic pressure, rotational felling in tea gardens and shifting cultivation. Positive change in a few districts is mainly due to plantation within and outside forest areas, the report stated.
The highest decrease in forest cover was noticed in Jorhat district (� 23 sq km), followed by Kokrajhar (� 13 sq km), Cachar and North Cachar Hill district lost 8 sq km of forest cover, while Kamrup and Nagaon districts lost 1 sq km of forest cover each, as compared to the 2013 assessment year. Tinsukia is the only district where forest cover has increased by 23 sq km. Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Darrang district have witnessed an increase of 3 sq km.
Meanwhile, nationwide, the forest cover has increased by 3,775 sq km as compared to 2013 assessment. The area under very dense forest, moderately dense forest and open forest is 85,904 sq km, 3115,374 sq km and 300,395 sq km, respectively, the report said.
So far, 13 such reports have been published by Forest Survey of India (FSI).