Forests of Himachal Pradesh

Forests are an important resource of Himachal Pradesh. Although the area
classified as "Area under Forest" is 67 percent of the total area of the Pradesh, yet the
effective forest cover is muc h lower than this area, primarily on account of the fact
that a very large area is either alpine meadows or is above the tree line.
Current scenario is described below: -
(Area in Sq. Km.)

1. Geographical area of the State - 55,673 -
2. Area required under forest cover as
per NFP 1988 - 37,115 (Total culturable area under recorded forests is
20657 sq.km. For the purposes of policy
requirements unculturable area forming vital
eco-system and wildlife habitats shall also
have to be considered.)
3. Forest area as per forest record - 37,033
4. Unculturable area - 16,376 (Includes under snow cover, permanent high
altitude pastures, rocky mountains and above
tree line ( unfit for tree growth).
5. Culturable Area - 20,657
6. Very Dense Forest - 1,093 (Requires protection.)
7. Moderately Dense Forest - 7,883 (Requires protection improvement in density.)
8. Open Forest - 5,377 (Requires protection improvement in density.)
9. Balance Culturable Area - 6,304 (Includes scrub, blank areas and areas covered
by plantations, which are not picked up in the
satellite imagery (say post 1980 plantations).
10. Plantations (Post 1980 till 2000-05) - 6,557 (Assumed to be fully surviving and left out of the satellite imagery.)
11. Area under Scrubs 389 Requires conversion into useful forests.
In view of the above scenario, category wise break up for the area in Himachal
Pradesh is as under:

CATEGORY AREA IN SQ.
KM.
Total Geographical Area. - 55,673
Area under management with the Forest Department. - 37,033
Area under alpine pasture including under permanent snow - 16,376
Balance area. - 20,657
Area over which forests can be raised/tree cover can be provided/
density can be increased. - 13,007
As per latest State Forest Report of FSI, an area of 14,353 sq. km. is actual
forest cover. This is constituted by 1,093 sq. km. of very dense forests, 7,883 sq. km.
moderately dense and 5,377 sq. km. with open forests. In addition to this, 389 sq. km.
area has been described as scrubs.
Forest wealth of Himachal Pradesh is estimated at over Rs. 1,00,000 crore. Most
of precious coniferous forests are of such nature that these cannot be truly regenerated
by human beings if these are cut once. The State Government has imposed a complete
ban on commercial felling and the only removals from the forests are either by way of
timber distribution rights to the people or salvage extraction. Even the royalty from
the silviculturally harvestible volume according to working plan prescriptions would
presently be annually worth over Rs. 250 crore. However, the State Govt. has been
denied of this financial resource for about two decades, primarily for preserving the
fragile Himalayan ecology and environment to serve the national interests.

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