With an increase in 0.71 per cent forest cover, Himachal Pradesh is eighth amongst the states and Union Territories in the country to record rise in forest area.

This is revealed by the recently released 15th India State of Forest Report (ISFR)-2017 by Forest Survey of India (FSI), where the forest cover in the state has expanded by 393 square kilometres (sq kms), in comparison with the previous assessment year report 2015. The total forests cover in ISFR-2015 was 14,696 which has increased to 15,100 in ISFR-2017

However, HP has topped amongst the northern states and UT replacing Jammu and Kashmir that follows closely.

At the national level the forest cover has increased by 6,778 sq km, where the three states Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala (1043 sq km) have contributed to an increase of 2,141 sq km, 10,101 sq km and 1,043 sq km respectively, much of which can be attributed to plantation and conservation activities within and outside the Recorded Forest (RF) areas, as well as improvement in interpretation due to better radiometric resolution of the recently satellite data.

HP with 393 sq km increase, figures among other states, where significant increase has been observed that include Odisha (885 sq km), Assam (567 sq km), Telangana (565), Rajasthan (466 sq km), HP (393 sq km), Uttar Pradesh (278 sq km), Jammu and Kashmir (253 sq km) and Manipur (263 sq km).

The total Geographical Area (GA) of HP is 55,673 sq kms with a total forest cover of 15,100 sq km, which is 27.12 per cent of the geographic area.

The forest cover includes 3,110 sq km Very Dense Forest (VDF), 6,705 sq km Moderately Dense Forest (MDF) and 5,285 sq km Open Forest (OF).

However, there are 15 states and UT ahead of HP with forest cover more than 33 per cent of the Geographic area.

According to the report in HP the main reason for net increase of 393 sq km in forest cover can be attribute to plantation and conservation activities both within and outside the Recorded Forest Areas as well as improvement in interpretation due to better radiometric resolution of the recent satellite data.

There was only 18 sq km increase of forest cover in the three tribal districts with a GA area of 26,764 sq km.

The forest cover comprises of 12.18 per cent of the GA, having 869 sq km VDF, 1,283 sq km MDF and 1,107 sq km OF.