Trees and forests have held an important place in India since ancient times. Today, the entire world has started to appreciate the importance of forests and trees, not just as a resource base, but also as the key to survival of life on earth. The United Nations Organization has proclaimed its theme for 2021 as “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.” In this context, the role of Forest Survey of India assumes great importance, since its principal mandate is to survey and assess forest resources of India.
Since 1987, Forest Survey of India (FSI), has been carrying out the forest cover mapping of the country using satellite data. Forest Inventory was started in 1965 during Pre-Investment Survey of Forest Resources and since 2016 a new grid based design has been adopted.
Besides providing forest cover estimates of State and District level, FSI also provides information on forest cover within and outside Recorded Forest Areas (RFA), forest cover change analysis in Tribal districts, Hill districts and NE states. Additionally, the organization is presently working with Very High Resolution (VHR) data for monitoring of assets and activities viz illegal mining, encroachments etc.
Another major focus of FSI is on Forest Fire Monitoring by MODIS and SNPP-VIIRS sensor. SMS and e-mail based Pre-fire alerts, Near-Real-Time alerts and Fire Risk Zonation are important features.
FSI has given special importance to the estimation of carbon stock in the country’s forests for various NATCOM and in providing valuable inputs to MoEF&CC in preparation of GHG inventory of the country. Prescriptions for attaining national commitments need to be worked out by FSI.
FSI, has conducted a study on climate hot spots in the forest areas of the country. It gives great insight into how a slight rise in temperature can catastrophically impact our forests. It has made valuable additions to the existing forest assessment database by utilizing the latest technology and methodology for the assessment of forests and trees outside forests, including in-depth analysis of Mangrove and Bamboo forests.
FSI is also supporting the Government by providing inputs to Decision Support System for early clearance of Forest Conservation Cases and monitoring of CAMPA plantations through e-Green Watch Portal. Now FSI also needs to focus on mapping of watersheds for holistic water conservation as envisaged by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Mapping and planning for development of forest dependent people and forests also can be an initiative from FSI at the country level.
I reiterate the commitment of my organization for making available relevant and updated information on forest resources of the country in future through the use of up-to-date methodology and technology and I rededicate myself and my team to the mandate given to FSI.