Deforestation and Forest Cover Changes in the Himachal Himalaya, India

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"The extent of forest cover resources on land surface governs many important earth system ecological processes and is the foremost requirement characterizing sustainable forest management. The extent of forest area and decline in forest resources due to deforestation and changes in forest cover have been estimated by conventional and remote sensing techniques by various agencies for India and state of Himachal Pradesh (HP) located in the Western Himalayas. The various forest cover assessments by National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) and Forest Survey of India (FSI) shows that deforestation has been halted since 1980s onwards and forest cover has been stabilized in HP. During the nine biennial forest cover assessment conducted by FSI since 1987 onwards the estimated forest and tree cover have shown an increase, until 2001 assessment and minor decline of 7 km2 during 2003 assessment in HP. The changes with in forest cover between dense forest to open forest however indicates decline in the productivity of forests. State of Forest Report (SFR) 2003 estimates 778,229 km2 (23.65%) of total geographical area of India under forest and tree cover, whereas, in HP recorded forest area constituted 66.52% of its geographical area and only 26.66% area is under forest and tree cover. National Forest Policy 1988 needs to be modified since analysis shows that in HP only 35.5% geographical area is capable of sustaining forest and tree cover against 66% envisaged by policy to be brought under forest and tree cover in mountainous and hill states of India."
deforestation, forestry, Himalayas