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Forest cover in India: A victim of technicalities
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2021-12-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107306
Balaji G, Gagandeep Sharma, Sai Shiva Jayanth R

Congruency between forest cover protection and development objectives is usually difficult to achieve. However, going strictly by the official statements and reports released by the government, much like the Indian economy, Indian forest cover also seems to be on an upward trajectory, in the recent past. This in spite of the numerous incidents wherein the government has seemingly undermined forest conservation legislation and efforts and instead favored industrial development. An inquiry into the evolution of legislation on forest protection reveals that improvements in the Indian forest cover has roots in three key technicalities while the reality is complete opposite. These are the expansion of the inclusion criteria of defining forests, reduction in Minimum Mapping Area while calculating area under forests and change in the manner of forest mapping from the earlier visual mode to a digital mode. We discuss the implications of such technicalities in preserving the forest cover.