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telangana: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana lead the way in India’s forest cover increase | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh and Telangana led India’s sizeable increase in forest cover, largely riding on plantation and agroforestry drives, shows the latest India State of Forest Report (ISFR 2021) released on Thursday
The maximum increase in forest area was seen in Andhra Pradesh with the green cover going up by 647 sq km, followed by Telangana with 632 sq km in the past two years.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) R Shobha said Telangana had achieved the ranking due to a two-pronged strategy. “One was increasing the tree cover outside of forests by planting trees as part of the Haritha Haram programme. The other was through forest rejuvenation,” Shobha told TOI on Thursday.
The ‘Telanganaku Haritha Haram’ was launched in July 2015 with a target to raise 230 crore plants. But the intended target has been exceeded with the planting of 241.53 crore saplings.
Decadal changes in forest cover between IFSR 2011 and IFSR 2021 have also been analysed in the forest report released by Union environment, forest and climate change minister Bhupender Yadav.
In the last 10 years, the maximum forest cover change occurred in Hyderabad with an increase of 48.66 sq km, largely because of the pro-active green policy of the government.
Telangana is among the few states in India to have a policy that mandates saplings planted during the Haritha Haram programme are protected and the responsibility is given to the gram panchayats. Those who chop trees are liable to punishment, including jail terms and a fine of Rs 1,000. “If cattle or goats destroyed the plants even on medians, the owners were imposed fines by the gram panchayats and municipalities,” said one official.
A total of Rs 8,260.76 crore was spent on the Telanganaku Haritha Haram project, including the 10 per cent green budget that should necessarily be provided by local bodies to improve the green cover.
Forest department officials have faced attacks by tribals as they went to plant saplings on podu land.
For the forest rejuvenation programme,out of the target of 100 crore plantations, 63.98 crore has been achieved. Outside the forest areas, out of the 130 crore plantations target, 177.55 crore was achieved.
PCCF Shobha said the plan was to develop 109 urban forest parks in the state over an area of 5, 740 acres
“So far, 53 have been completed and 56 are under progress. In HMDA limits, 188 forest blocks in 129 locations covering 1,60,611 acres of area is being protected and rejuvenated to provide green lung space,” she said.
The report was prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) and the entire satellite data was procured from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad.

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