As per Forest Survey of India, State of Forest report 2017, Rajasthan has recorded forest area of about 32,737 square kms. This forest area forms 9.57% of state’s geographical area and about 4.28% of India’s forest area. On the basis of Legal status, the Government has classified this forest area into three types:
- Reserved Forests – 12,475 Sq. Kms
- Protected Forests – 18,217 Sq. Kms
- Unclassified Forests – 2,045 Sq. Kms
- These forests are under the direct supervision of the government.
- No public entry is allowed for collection of timber or grazing of cattle.
- Rajasthan has 12,475 sq kms or 38% of forest as Reserved Forest.
- These forests are looked after by the government, but the local people are allowed to collect fuel-wood/timber and graze their cattle without causing serious damage to the forests.
- Rajasthan has 18,217 sq kms or 55% of forest area under Protected Forests.
- The unclassified forests are those in which there is no restriction on the cutting of trees and grazing of cattle.
- Rajasthan has 2045 sq kms or 7% of area has Unclassified forests.
The Forest Survey of India (FSI), brings out bi-annual state of forests report. In the report, the FSI classifies forest as:
- Very Dense Forests ( VDF) – 0.02%
- Moderately Dense Forests (MDF) – 1.29%
- Open Forests (OF) – 3.41%
- Scrubs – 1.26%
- Non-Forest Area- 94.02%
Very Dense Forests (VDF):
- The Lands with forest cover having a canopy density of 70% and more are called Very Dense Forests (VDF).
- In Rajasthan, there are only 27 Sq kms of very dense forests.
- Percentage VDF: 0.02%
Moderately Dense Forests (MDF):
- The Land with forest cover having a canopy density of 40-70% is called the Moderately Dense Forest (MDF).
- In Rajasthan, there are only 2341 Sq kms of moderately dense forests.
- Percentage MDF: 1.29%
Open Forests (OF):
- The Lands with forest cover having canopy density of 10-40% are called Open Forests.
- In Rajasthan, there are only 6505 Sq kms of open forests.
- Percentage OF: 3.41%
- The degraded forest lands which have a Canopy density of less than 10% are called Scrubs.
- In Rajasthan, there are about 22286 Sq kms of scrubs.
- Percentage Scrubs: 1.26%
- Rest of the area, included all other lands except forest area.
- Percentage Non-Forest: 94.02%
The report also identifies, variation of forests with altitude.
Important Terms to understand:
- Forest Cover All lands which are more than 1 hectare in area and with a Canopy density of more than 10% irrespective of the ownership and legal status is called Forest Cover.
Recorded Forest Area:
- The area recorded as “forests” in the Government records is called Forest Area or Recorded Forest Area.
Canopy and Canopy Density
- The cover of branches and Foliage formed by the crown of trees is called Canopy. The percentage area of land covered by the canopy of trees is called Canopy density.