The forest and tree cover in India has risen by 5,188 square kilometres in the last two years, said the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019, which showed Karnataka growing the maximum cover of 1,025 sq km.
The biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which is an assessment of the country's forest resources, was released by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday.
There has been an increase of 3,976 sq. km (0.56 per cent) of forest cover and 1,212 sq. km (1.29 per cent) of tree cover, compared to the 2017 report.
According to the report, the top three states in terms of forest cover are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
While Karnataka grew the maximum forest-and-tree cover at 1,025 sq km, Andhra Pradesh grew a 990-sq. km cover and a 823-sq. km of forest cover was created by Kerala in the last two years.
Two other states that followed are Jammu and Kashmir, which grew a 371-sq. km forest cover, and Himachal Pradesh, where a 334-sq. km forest area was created.
"Forest cover in the hill districts of the country is 2,84,006 sq. km, which is 40.30 per cent of the total geographical area of these districts. The current assessment shows an increase of 544 sq. km (0.19 per cent) in 140 hill districts of the country," the report said.
It specified that the forest data of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded through satellite imaging, "covers areas outside LoC that is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan and China".
However, the north-east did not show positive results as the current assessment showed a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq. km (0.45 per cent) in the region.
"Except Assam and Tripura, all states in the region show a decrease in the forest cover," Mr Javadekar said, reading out the findings of the report.
According to the report, the total forest cover of India is 7,12,249 sq. km, which is 21.67 per cent of the geographical area of the country.
The tree cover of the country is estimated at 95,027 sq. km, which is 2.89 per cent of the geographical area.
Mr Javadekar said after seeing the report, he was confident that India was on track to achieve its climate goal of creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes under the Paris Agreement.