Forest Survey of India has been mapping and assessing the country’s forest cover biennially using Remote Sensing Technology. Forest cover includes all lands having trees with canopy density of ten percent and above and with area one hectare and more irrespective of its land use. As per the India State of Forest Report-2011 the total loss of the forest cover is 367 square kilometer compared to the previous assessment of India State of Forest Report-2009.
There is a strong policy and legal frame which include the National Forest Policy, 1988, Indian Forest Act, 1927, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002 for sustainable management of forests. The National Forest Policy provides for sustainable management of forests. The principal aim of Forest Policy is to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance. The Policy aims to have a minimum of one third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover. To move towards the goal of 33% forest and tree cover, afforestation in the country is taken up under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as National Afforestation Programme (NAP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), National Bamboo Mission (NBM), 13th Finance Commission and also under different State Plan/ Non- Plan Schemes including externally aided projects. National Afforestation Programme (NAP) of the Ministry of Environment & Forests is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme for afforestation and tree plantation and eco-restoration of degraded forests and adjoining areas in the country through people’s participation. Working Plans are the instruments for scientific forest management. All forest are managed under the prescription of a working plan/scheme.
The National Mission for ‘A Green India’ is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Green India Mission aims to increase forest and tree cover on 5 million hectare area and to improve quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectare area, environmental amelioration through climate mitigation, forest based livelihood of local communities and also to improve ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity and hydrological services. Plantation activities have been envisaged in the Mission through various Sub Missions, the Minister added.