Odisha forest cover has increased by 274 square km in the last two years, as India State of Forest report (ISF) 2019. The forest area of Odisha, known for its rich biodiversity, wildlife sanctuaries and wetland, has increased from 51,345 sq km in 2017 to 51,619 sq km in 2019.
The State currently has 6,970 sq km very dense forest, 21,552 sq km moderately dense forest and 23,097 sq km open forest. There has been an increase of 182 sq km moderately dense forest and 89 sq km open forest cover between 2017 and 2019. The very dense forest cover has also marginally increased by three sq km.
“Based on satellite data collected from November 2017 to February 2018, forest cover in the State is 51,618.51 sq km which is 33.15 per cent of the State’s geographical area,” the report said.
District wise, Kandhamal has the highest forest cover of 5,397 sq km which is 65 per cent of its total geographical area. Boudh and Deogarh also have forest cover which more than 50 per cent of their total geographical area. Bhadrak has the lowest forest cover of 78 sq km which is just 1.34 per cent of its total geographical area. As per the new ISF report, Karnataka tops the country with a forest area increase of 1,025 sq km.
Increased mangrove cover
The mangrove cover has also increased between 2017 and 2019. The State now has 251 sq km mangrove cover which is 8 sq km more compared to 2017. Kendrapara district has posted a record increase of 4.49 sq km mangrove cover in the last two years. There is also marginal growth of mangrove forest in Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore and Puri.
Decreased Bamboo cover
Odisha’s bamboo forest area has decreased by 282 sq km in last two years, the ISF report revealed. The State, at present, has 11,827 sq km bamboo area compared to 12,109 sq km in 2017. Apart from Odisha, bamboo forest area has declined in 12 other States, including Karnataka and Kerala.