New Delhi, June 3: A surprising forest covering 2,305 sq km n northeast India and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands could disappear by 2025, predicted Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist’s simulation study. The forest is slightly more than the size of Mauritius.
The study carried out to pretend the forest cover changes in India using Land Change Modeler software said “The overall predicted loss of forest cover by 2025 is estimated to be 2,305 km square in the Northeast and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The modeling results predicted widespread deforestation in these areas and hence is likely to affect the remaining forests significantly before 2025”.
The study inspected the distribution of forest cover in India by reconstructing the previous forest cover and predicted the ever-continuing deforestation in selected parts of India with high deforestation rates. This was published in the Journal of Earth System Science in February.
The expected forest cover in 1880 indicates an area of 10, 42, 008 km sq, which represents 31.7% of the India’s geographical area. It points out about 40% of the forest cover in India was lost during 1880-2013 which is in around 133 years.
The majority of forest lands are owned by non-governmental agencies and large scale shifting cultivation is responsible for higher deforestation rates in the northeastern states, noted study.
The author reported that earlier the six states of the northeast which are Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and one union territory that is Andaman & Nicobar Islands had shown rate of deforestation of more than 0.3% per year between 2005-2013 and has been considered in the present study for the prediction of future forest cover in 2025.
The simulation scenario for the year 1880 showed a significant increase in forest area, but as a diminishing movement in the area was observed for 2025. It stressed the majority of the protected areas are effective in the protection of the forest cover of northeast due to management practices, except Manas, Sonai-Rupai, Nameri and Marat Longri.
As a part of ISRO’s National Carbon Project, the study is authored by C Sudhakar Reddy, Sonali Singh, V K Dadhwal, C S Jha, N Rama Rao, and P G Diwakar from National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, Balanagar, Hyderabad and Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.