Assam forest cover dwindling

Assam forest cover dwindling

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Guwahati, India: The size of the total forest cover of the Assam state has shrunk. This decrease in the size of the forest cover of the state has come to light during the analysis of the satellite data obtained through the Linear Imaging Self-Scanner (LISS)-III sensor mounted on the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) – P6.

The sensor, with a resolution of 23.5 metres, was used to collect satellite data in 2006 under a National Resources Census Programme launched by the National Natural Resource Management System (NNRMS) in a bid to assess land use patterns and land cover in the country.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had developed the methodology for the purpose and the Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre (ARSAC) of the Assam Science, Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) was involved in the exercise as a partner organisation. The satellite data collected under the programme were analysed in 2008-10.

In 1988-’89, the size of the state’s forest cover was 21.98 per cent of its total land area of 78,438 square kilometers. Against this, the forest cover of the state is now found to be 21.02 per cent of its total land area. Of this area, only 9,902 square kilometers, that is 12.62 per cent, is found to be covered with dense forests. This is seven per cent less in size, compared to 1988-’89.

Official sources said that the saving grace for those connected with the State’s Forest Department is the area under household forest cover in the rural areas. Only this can help them claim that the size of the state’s forest cover has gone up.

In 1988-’89 the size of the area covered by rural household forest was 12.34 per cent of the state’s total land area. But this time, the area covered by such household forest is 25.09 per cent of the total land area of Assam. This, together with the area under the notified forests (21.02 per cent), makes up the figure of 46.11 per cent.

Source: The Assam Tribune