Forest cover in India under the National Forest Policy 1988

21 MAR 2022

The National Forest Policy 1988 envisages to have a minimum of one-third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover. Continuous efforts are being made to achieve the goals as envisaged in the National Forest Policy and over the years the Forest and Tree cover of the country has been showing a positive trend. This increase may be attributed to plantation/ afforestation activities, better conservation and protection measures, natural regeneration and enhancement of existing forests.

As per India State of Forest Report, Forest cover is defined as: “All lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. lt also includes orchards, bamboo and Palm.”

As per decision 19/Conference of Parties (CP) 9-Kyoto Protocol (1), the forest can be defined by any country depending upon the capacities and capabilities of the country as follows:-

Forest- Forest is defined structurally on the basis of

Crown cover percentage: Tree crown cover- 10 to 30% (India 10%)
Minimum area of stand: area between 0.05 and 1 hectare (India 1.0 hectare) and
Minimum height of trees: Potential to reach a minimum height at maturity in situ of 2 to 5 m (India 2m)

India’s definition of forest has been taken on the basis of above three criteria only and very well accepted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for their reporting/communications.


(1) The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The rules and requirements for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol were further elaborated in a package of decisions called the Marrakesh Accords. The Marrakesh
Accords were formally adopted by the CMP at its first session in Montreal, Canada, in December 2005. The Kyoto Protocol shares the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of GHGs at a level that will prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. In pursuit of this objective, the Kyoto Protocol builds upon and enhances many of the commitments already in place under the Convention [Kyoto Protocol Reference Manual on Accounting of Emissions and Assigned Amounts- 2008]

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