International Forests Day 2018: 10 things you probably didn’t know about forests in India

The Hush Post: Every year, the world celebrates International Forests Day on March 21. The theme for 2018 was Forests and Sustainable Cities. This day is celebrated with an aim of creating awareness about all types of forests, and looking at the different ways in which they help to sustain our day to day lives.

Since many of the world’s most threatened species of animals and plants reside in forests, it is imperative that we step up our efforts in protecting and conserving the greenery around us. Since 1990, nearly 319 million acres of forests have been cut down. However, there is some good news as the rates of deforestation have been slowing down over the years. However, due to imminent perils of climate change and global warming, it is imperative that we protect our forests and stop deforestation altogether.

Given below are 10 interesting facts about forests in India. Let us know how many of these you already knew, in the comments below!

  1. A man by the name of Jadav Payeng is credited with single-handedly planting a forest bigger than the size of Central Park in New York. He planted the forest to prevent erosion of Majuli Island (located on the Brahmaputra River), which is the largest river island of the world.
  2. India is home to nearly 16 different types of forests! We have evergreen tropical rain forests, dry alpine scrub forests, semi evergreen rain forests, thorn forests, subtropical pine forests, deciduous monsoon forests and many more varieties of forests.
  3. Almost 25 per cent of our country is under forest cover. As per the Indian State Forestry Report of 2017, we managed to increase the forest cover in our country by nearly 8,021 square kilometres. This incremental area is larger than the size of the states of Sikkim and Goa.
  4. India is in the top 10 list (10th position) of the countries with the largest area under forest cover.
  5. While Madhya Pradesh, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are the Indian states with the largest area under forest cover, Lakshadweep, followed by Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the regions with the largest percentage of area under forest cover.
  6. The Great Sunderbans, spread over India and Bangladesh, are the largest mangrove region of the world.
  7. The lowest area under forest cover is in Daman and Diu, followed by Chandigarh and Lakshadweep. The lowest percentage of area under forest cover is in Haryana, followed by Punjab and Rajasthan.
  8. India’s forests are home to nearly 91,300 species of animals and birds, while nearly 45,000 species of fauna inhabit the forests of the country.
  9. India has nearly 597 Protected Areas in which cutting of trees is partly to completely prohibited.
  10. Among all the plant species of in the country, nearly 30 percent are endemic to India. This means that they are not found anywhere else in the world.

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