Forest and Wildlife Resources

Mains Marks Booster     5th August 2023        


  • The word "forest resources" refers to the various sorts of resources that forests supply, such as wood, timber, bushmeat, pharmaceuticals, etc. A thick growth of trees and other plants that occupies a sizable area of land is known as a A group of plants and animals interacting with one another and their surroundings is called an ecosystem.
  • The study, preservation, and management of forests are all part of the science of forestry. On Earth, forests dominate the terrestrial biosphere. Only five nations—Brazil, Canada, China, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America—are home to more than half of the world's woods.
  • Tropical latitudes have the highest proportion of forests (45%), followed by boreal, temperate, and subtropical domains. Forests significantly impact the planet's life, protecting biodiversity and positively affecting climate.


For Humans

  • Over 1.6 billion people rely on forests for food and fuel, with 70 million people worldwide, including Indigenous communities, calling them home. These forests provide oxygen, shelter, jobs, water, nourishment, and fuel.
  • The fate of forests may determine our own fate, as they prevent erosion, enrich soil, protect communities from landslides and floods, and produce topsoil for crops. They also play a crucial role in the global water cycle, releasing water vapor and capturing rainfall, and filtering out pollution and chemicals.
  • The destruction of forests impacts agriculture and food production, and human health is closely linked to forest health. Deforestation increases the risk of diseases from animals to humans, while time spent in forests has been shown to improve conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, and mental health. 

For Nature

  • Forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, including 80% of amphibians, 75% of birds, and 68% of mammals. Deforestation in tropical forests can result in the loss of up to 100 species daily.
  • Therefore, stopping biodiversity loss is crucial, as it disrupts the entire ecosystem and threatens iconic species like the tiger, giant panda, gorilla, and orangutan.
  • Habitat loss is a major cause of biodiversity loss, with forest-dwelling wildlife populations declining by an average of 69% since 1970, particularly in tropical forests like the Amazon. 

For Climate

  • Forests are the largest carbon storehouses, absorbing greenhouse gas from the air and locking it away. Cutting down or damaging forests releases carbon emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. However, forests also protect people and nature from the consequences of a warming world.
  • As climate change impacts, such as floods and storms, become more frequent and severe, forests provide a crucial buffer for communities. Extreme events like wildfires limit the ability of forests to regenerate, while deforestation increases the risk of fires. Therefore, stopping deforestation and restoring forests is a crucial part of climate action.

For Climate

The total forest and tree cover in the country is 80.9 million hectares, covering 24.62 percent of the country's geographical area. In comparison to 2019, there has been an increase of 2,261 sq km in forest cover, with 1,540 sq km in forest cover and 721 sq km in tree cover.

  • The top three states with the highest forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km), Telangana (632 sq km), and Odisha (537 sq km).
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Maharashtra.
  • The top five states with the highest forest cover percentage are Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76.00%), Manipur (74.34%), and Nagaland (73.90%).
  • 17 states/UTs have above 33% of the geographical area under forest cover, with five states/UTs having more than 75% forest cover, while 12 states/UTs have forest cover between 33% and 75%.
  • The total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km, with an increase of 17 sq km compared to the previous assessment.

Odisha, Maharashtra, and Karnataka show the highest mangrove cover increase. The country's total carbon stock is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes, with an annual increase of 39.7 million tonnes.


  • India's forests hold immense ecological, cultural, and economic significance, supporting diverse ecosystems and supporting indigenous tribal communities. They contribute to the rural economy, mitigate climate change, and attract tourists. Therefore, there is a need of collaborative effort from India's government, organizations, and local communities to conserve and sustainably manage forests, ensuring their preservation for future generations.
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