Increase in forest cover: JK figures among top 5

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir has figured among top five states of the country in terms of increase in its forest cover area over past two years.
As per biennial report of Forest Survey of India, Dehradun, released yesterday, JK has figured among the top five states that have registered maximum increase in forest cover during the last two years.
These states are Karnataka (1025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km), J&K (371 sq km) and Himachal Pradesh (334 sq km).
This increase of 371 sq km is 1.6% higher than the previous assessment reported in 2017. The extent of ‘Trees Outside Forest’ has also increased by 1.65% which is 129 sq km more than the previous assessment.
Mohit Gera, Pr. Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K informed that as per the report, Jammu & Kashmir has tree growing stock of 144.16 cubic-meter per hectare which is the highest among all the States and Union Territories of the country.
Jammu & Kashmir also has substantial stock of Carbon reserves locked in its forests by way of ‘Above ground biomass’, ‘below ground biomass’ and Soil organic carbon. In terms of carbon stock per hectare, Jammu & Kashmir is at number three after the States/ UTs of Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Commissioner Secretary Forest, Ecology & Environment, Manoj K. Dwivedi appreciated the efforts of officers and frontline staff of the Forest Department in protecting and managing the forest effectively, which has resulted in the increase of 371 sq km in forest cover.
Highlighting the importance of good forests for ecological security of J&K and for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals particularly on provisioning of clean water, healthy environment and mitigation of the changing climate, he stressed upon to strengthen the efforts towards further increasing the green cover of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
He impressed upon the need for best utilization of funds from CAMPA, State Sector & various Centrally Sponsored Schemes for improving the quality of forests. He also expressed the need for modernization of the department with use of technology to ensure sustainable management of forests essential for securing the fragile ecology of the Union Territory.
“This will also benefit the forest dependent communities particularly in terms of providing bonafide needs and livelihood opportunities,” he said.

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