The positive reinforcement of India's tree-planting efforts has come from a recent report published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which found the tree planting activities undertaken over recent years have resulted in significant increases in forest coverage across the nation.
According to the report, the country’s forests have grown by over half a million acres (2,261 square kilometres) in just the last three years, almost the size of the Blue Mountains National Park. Making this more impressive is the fact that the equation used to deliver this number also takes into account all deforestation that has occurred across the country - meaning overall tree cover across the nation has grown rather than shrunk. In a rapidly developing and urbanising nation such as India, this is a commendable achievement.
The increases have been spurred by a combination of better forest conservation regulations and mass tree planting efforts, some of which defy imagination in terms of their speed and scale. In 2017 for example, over 1.5 million volunteers in Madhya Pradesh planted 66 million trees in just over 12 hours, smashing the previous record for trees planted in a single day set the year before in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
These tree planting efforts are part of an ongoing national commitment to spend around $8.5 billion (6 billion USD) on reforesting 12% of its lands to boost overall forest cover by 2030. All four of the most polluted cities in the world by particulate matter concentration are in India and it is hoped that these reforestation efforts will reduce air pollution in the country's major cities.
The three Indian states showing the highest increases in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh with 647 square km, followed by Telangana with 632 square km and Odisha with 207 537 square km. Cumulatively India has about 81 million hectares of forestry cover, which accounts for just under a quarter of the geographical area of the country.
You can be part of Australia's own efforts to increase forestry cover and urban greening around the country too! Visit treeday.planetark.org to find out how to create your own tree planting event or to volunteer at one in your local area.
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