India records ‘modest growth’ of forest area despite population boom: FAO report

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NEW YORK - India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines have seen their forested areas increase in size largely due to a switch from felling to planting, according to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report.

The FAO State of the World’s Forests report aims to raise awareness of conservation among governments and other stakeholders.

The report said that forests now cover about 40 million sq km - just less than one-third of the Earth’s land surface.

Although 52,000 sq km were lost per year between 2000 and 2010, that was a marked improvement on the 83,000 sq km annual figure seen during the previous decade.

“China has increased its forest by three million hectares (30,000 sq km) per year - no country has ever done anything like this before, it’s an enormous contribution,” the BBC quoted Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General of the FAO’s forestry department, as saying.

“Madagascar’s forests have been hit hard by illegal logging following political unrest, but we can also highlight the case of Vietnam, a small and densely populated country that’s implemented very smart and comprehensive forest reform - or India, which has not controlled its population as China has and where standards of living are even lower.”

“Nevertheless India has achieved a modest growth of its forest area, and the Philippines has turned things around as well - so we’re seeing improvement across Asia except in the weakest states,” he added. (ANI)

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