The forest and tree cover in Delhi has increased by 16.58 km and gone up to 299.58 sq. km, according to the “India State of Forest Report-2009” released by the Forest Survey of India here on Thursday.
The report has stated that the forest and green cover now constitute 20.20 per cent of the geographical area of Delhi, which is spread over 1,483.01 sq. km.
The Forest Survey of India, which comes under the Union Environment and Forests Ministry, comes out with an assessment on the forest cover of the country every two years. The latest report is based on the interpretation of satellite data gathered between October 2006 and March 2007.
As per the report, the total forest cover stood at 176.58 sq. km. – an increase of 0.14 sq. km. over the previous assessment – and it now constitutes 11.91 per cent of the geographical area. Of the forests, dense forests now comprise 6.76 sq. km while in the previous assessment they had not existed in Delhi. Of the remaining forest cover, 49.84 sq. km. comprises moderately dense forest, while 119.98 sq. km is open forest.
Among the different parts of Delhi, New Delhi district has the highest forest cover at 46.60 per cent of its geographical area and it is followed by South Delhi at 31.46 per cent and South-West Delhi at 10.08 per cent.
The plantations undertaken across Delhi have primarily contributed to the increase in the green cover. So the tree cover in Delhi, excluding the forest areas, has gone up to 123 sq. km or 8.29 per cent of the city’s geographical area from 107 sq. km earlier.
Reacting to the report, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressed pleasure over the expansion of green cover in Delhi. She also lauded the work of the Forest and Environment Department, the citizens and other agencies in scripting this “success story”.
Much of the credit for the increase in green cover goes to the Delhi Government that claims to be planting more than 1.5 million tree saplings every year with the cooperation of various government and non-government agencies, children and the public.
During the past three years, 27 new city forests have also been created. Most of these have come up in North-West and South-West districts and more than three lakh saplings have been planted here. Besides, free distribution of saplings has also been going on to promote more tree plantation on private land.