India State of Forest Report 2021


The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) is a biennial publication by the Forest Survey of India – an organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Government of India. The ISFR was first published in 1987 and this 2021 edition is the 17th publication in this series.

This report provides primary data on forest resources in India, also tracking how these resources have changed over time. It uses data sourced from institutions like the National Remote Sensing Centre, the National Sample Survey Organisation and various state forest departments. The ISFR considers ‘forest cover’ as areas larger than one hectare "with a tree canopy density of more than 10%". The data on forest cover for this report was collected between October and December 2019.

The 591-page report includes thirteen chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1); Forest Cover (Chapter 2); Mangrove Cover (Chapter 3); Assessment of Forest Cover in Tiger Reserves and Lion Conservation Areas in India (Chapter 4); Forest Fire Monitoring (Chapter 5); Tree Cover (Chapter 6); Growing Stock (Chapter 7); Bamboo Resources of the Country (Chapter 8); Carbon Stock in India’s Forests (Chapter 9); Above Ground Biomass Estimation using SAR Data (Chapter 10); Mapping of Climate Change Hotspots in Indian Forests (Chapter 11); New Initiatives (Chapter 12); and Forest and Tree Resources in States and Union Territories (Chapter 13).


  1. The total forest cover in India is stated to be 713,789 square kilometres in 2021. The tree cover – patches of trees over less than one hectare of area – was noted to be around 95,748 square kilometres. The overall forest and tree cover in the country thus measured around 809,537 square kilometres or 24.62 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.

  2. Compared to figures noted in ISFR 2019, the current report shows an increase in forest cover by 1,540 square kilometres and an increase in tree cover by 2,261 square kilometres.

  3. The report says that tree cover in the country has been increasing over the last decade – it increased from 90,844 square kilometres in 2011 to 95,748 square kilometres in 2021.

  4. Andhra Pradesh saw the highest increase in forest cover – 647 square kilometres – followed by Telangana (632 square kilometres), Odisha (537 square kilometres), Karnataka (155 square kilometres), and Jharkhand (110 square kilometres).

  5. Mangrove cover across India rose by 17 square kilometres (0.34 per cent) since 2019. It is currently reported to be 4,992 square kilometres. Odisha and Maharashtra showed the highest increase in mangrove cover – eight and four square kilometres respectively – compared to 2019 figures.

  6. Forests store carbon from the atmosphere, and the largest pool of carbon stock in India’s forests is the soil. Known as Soil Organic Carbon (SOC), it makes up 56 per cent of the total forest carbon stock of the country, estimated at 4,010.2 million tonnes.

  7. The overall carbon stock of India’s forests has shown an increase between 2011 and 2021, rising by 541 million tonnes during the period. It grew from 6,663 million tonnes in 2011 to 7,204 million tonnes in 2021.

  8. As much as 22.27 per cent of India’s forest cover is ‘highly’ or ‘extremely’ prone to forest fires, the report states. It adds that most fires caused happen due to man-made factors. Highest incidences of forest fires were detected in Odisha (51,968), followed by Madhya Pradesh (47,795) and Chhattisgarh (38,106).

  9. Around 70 per cent of the world’s total population of tigers resides in India, and the country is home to the only surviving population of Asiatic Lion. Both tiger and lion habitats in the country have seen a decrease in forest cover in the last decade.

  10. Forest cover in 52 tiger reserves in the country fell by 22.62 square kilometres (0.04 per cent) between 2011 and 2021. During the same period, the forest cover in lion habitats decreased by 33.43 square kilometres (2.52 per cent).

  11. Out of all the countries in the world, India saw the third-highest average annual net gain in forest area during 2010-2020 – 266 thousand hectares.

  12. Growing stock, or the volume of all living trees in a forested area, has been steadily increasing over the last three biennial assessments, that is, since 2015. Overall, since 2015, it has risen from around 5,768 million cubic metres to 6,167 million cubic metres (6.92 per cent). The increase has been smaller inside forests (4.6 per cent) compared to that outside forests (13.09 per cent).

  13. The report analyses ‘climate hotspots’ in the country. Climate hotspots are forest areas that are projected to experience a rise of more than 1.5°C in temperature levels when compared to the degrees noted during 1860-1900. Or, a 20 per cent change in rainfall levels (increase or decrease) from levels noted during 1960-90.

  14. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand are climate hotspots expected to experience the highest increase in temperature. On the other hand, the northeastern states and the upper Malabar Coast are projected to experience the highest increase in rainfall.

    Focus and Factoids by Isha Chawla.


Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India


Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India


13 Jan, 2022