July 13, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




Indian forests are facing a silent crisis. Rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and deforestation are weakening their ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), a vital role in combating global warming. This poses a major threat to the country’s ambitious climate goal of creating “an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030”, as per its Nationally Determined Contributions, updated in August 2022.


  • Carbon Absorption Challenges: Indian forests are facing challenges in their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, which is crucial for combating global warming. Rising temperatures and erratic rainfall, along with deforestation, are contributing to this issue.
  • Photosynthesis Impact: While initially, increased CO2 levels might boost photosynthesis, the warming climate hinders the enzymes crucial for this process. Water stress from hotter temperatures and changing rainfall patterns further disrupts photosynthesis.
  • Research Findings: Studies by teams from institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Goa, reveal a decrease in CO2 absorption despite an increase in green cover in key forested regions.
  • Factors Affecting CO2 Absorption: Factors such as leaf area index (LAI) and net primary productivity (NPP) are used to measure CO2 absorption. However, warming constraints are hindering the translation of increased green cover into increased carbon uptake.
  • Need for Ground-Level Data: While satellite data provides a broad picture, ground-level observations are necessary to understand specific factors affecting different types of forests.
  • Impact of Rising Temperatures: Rising temperatures are a crucial factor affecting forests, and their impact needs to be studied at the species level. Various studies are ongoing to understand how different ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, respond to temperature changes.
  • Phenological Changes: Climate change is leading to phenological changes in plants and animals, which can have cascading effects on ecosystems, potentially leading to their collapse.
  • Limited Data and Ongoing Studies: Comprehensive studies combining observational data and satellite observations are still in formative stages in India. Efforts are being made by institutions like ISRO and the Indian Institute of Science to understand the impact of climate change on forests through long-term studies.

About World Forest Day 2024:

  • In 1971, World Forestry Day was established at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization decided to celebrate every year on March 21st. This event was decided to create awareness among the public about the importance of trees.
  • In 2012, on November 28, the International Day of Forests was first established and it was decided to celebrate on March 21. Later, the United Nations General Assembly united the two international commemorations i.e. World Forestry Day and International Day of Forests, and decided to celebrate on 21st March every year. It is necessary to understand the values of Forests, trees, and plants as they provide raw materials, a source of income by providing local employment, etc.
  • According to the UN, forests are home to about 80% of terrestrial biodiversity across the world, with more than 60,000 tree species. Approximately 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicine, and income.

Status of Forests in India

  • As per the India State of Forest Report-2021, forest and tree cover in the country increased by 2,261 square kilometres since the last assessment in 2019.
  • India’s total forest and tree cover was 80.9 million hectares, which accounted for 24.62% of the geographical area of the country.
    • The report said 17 States and Union Territories had more than 33% of their area under forest cover.
    • Madhya Pradesh had the largest forest cover, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
    • The top five States in terms of forest cover as a percentage of their total geographical area were Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76%), Manipur (74.34%) and Nagaland (73.90%).

SOURCE:  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/world-forest-day-2024-indian-forests-are-losing-their-ability-to-absorb-carbon-dioxide-due-to-climate-change-95157

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