“WHY INDIA Lost 6 million trees merely in just three years”

“WHY INDIA Lost 6 million trees merely in just three years”

This article covers “Daily current affairs” and the topic details of “WHY INDIA Lost  6 million trees merely in just three years” This topic is relevant in the “Environment and Ecology” section of the UPSC- CSE Exam.



Why in the news?

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, published a report that revealed that India has lost over 5.8 million full-grown trees in agricultural lands, according to a satellite imagery-based analysis.

Information revealed by the report:


  • 11% of the trees mature trees no longer visible that were detected by the satellite between 2010-11 additionally.
  • Many parts of the country where the disappearance of mature farmland trees.
  • Loss of farmland trees varies from 5 to 10%, except for areas in central India, in particular in the States of Telangana and Maharashtra, where massive losses of large trees are observed.
  • Several hotspot areas have lost up to 50% of their large farmland trees, with up to 22 trees per square kilometre disappearing.
  • In eastern Madhya Pradesh around Indore where smaller hotspot areas of loss are also observed.

Methods used by the researchers for the analysis:


  • Researchers combined satellite-imagery from two repositories — RapidEye and PlanetScope to find out change in the tree number from 2010 to 2022.
  • The repositories have resolutions of three to five metres, meaning that the satellite can “see” large trees, three to five metres apart, as individual trees.
  • Trees detected by RapidEye had an average crown size (the leafy outgrowth of a tree) of 96 sq.m, and such a high loss rate of mature trees over less than a decade is “unexpected.”
  • The tree loss estimate was on the “conservative” side, and most of the losses were likely between 2018 and 2020.


Reasons for such massive loss:



  • Conversion of farmland to paddy fields: By shifting agroforestry land towards paddy fields which are being expanded and intensified, a development facilitated by the availability of newly established water supplies.  
  • Cultivation of trees in separate blocks: Large and mature trees within these fields are removed, and trees are now being cultivated within separate block plantations, typically with lower ecological value.
  • Deforestation can occur in any area with dense tree cover and can result from deliberate actions, natural events, or accidents. Major causes of deforestation include volcanic eruptions, avalanches, hurricanes, changes in climate or temperature, drought, severe insect infestations, disease, and various human activities such as residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial land development, as well as strip mining, logging, and unsustainable forest management practices. 
  • The growing population also exacerbates deforestation, as increased resource demand leads to more tree loss. This trend is particularly concerning because deforestation often leads to further deforestation in a self-perpetuating cycle. 


Effects of Deforestation:


  • Gaseous exchange:When trees are cut down, the CO2  is emitting  into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere which is one of the major deforestation causes and effects.
  • Disturb water cycle: Trees help to control the level of atmospheric water and when they are cut down, there is less water in the air to return to the soil disturbing the water cycle. 
  • Decrease of crop productivity:This results in dryer soil which will eventually stop supporting agriculture or ranching which is one of the causes of deforestation to be aware of.
  • Extinction of species: Cutting of trees results in temperature changes and increased sunlight, which can prove disastrous for many plant and animal species as it results in endangerment or extinction of species. 
  • Soil erosion :The roots of various plants prevent soil erosion and also one of the crucial deforestation effects to remember. Deforestation degrades the quality of soil as fertile topsoil gets washed away leaving the land barren and prone to flooding. Soil erosion perpetuates deforestation as new land is deforested to support crop growth or cattle grazing.
  • Habitat destruction: A lot of indigenous people rely completely on forests for their livelihood and they are adversely affected due to deforestation. Deforestation kills plants they may use for medicine and sustenance, drives away the animals, leaves them vulnerable to the elements and disrupts their life.

Methods to increase tree cover:



  • Afforestation: Plant a tree whenever and wherever possible. Every tree that is planted reduces the effects of deforestation. India’s National Mission for a Green India (GIM) plans to increase tree cover on 5 million hectares of designated forest lands and non-forest lands.
  • Adoption of 3R`s practices :Start practising the concept of reducing, reusing and recycling in your daily lives and encourage others to do the same. 
  • Move to digital practices: Since paper comes from trees, try reducing the use of paper in your daily lives. Don’t discard paper that has only been used on one side.
  • More use of eco-friendly products: Promote products that ensure reduced or no deforestation as one of the deforestation solutions.


Way forward:


  • Promote agroforestry and tree cultivation outside forests on private and community lands. Encouraging farmers and landowners to grow trees can significantly boost tree cover.
  • Integrate tree planting and conservation into urban planning and development. Increasing green cover in cities and towns can provide multiple benefits, like reducing heat island effects, improving air quality, and enhancing aesthetics.
  • Promote participatory approaches involving local communities, NGOs, and the private sector in tree planting and forest management.
  • Enhance public understanding and develop skills regarding the significance of trees and forests, as well as the methods for cultivating and managing them effectively.
  • Ensure that tree planting efforts prioritise native species and maintain biodiversity.
  • Developing climate resilient species to maintain ecological balance.


Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 18th May 2024


Prelims based question


Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. India lost about 10 million trees in the last five years.
  2. India has the world`s largest agricultural lands.

Which of the following statement/s above is /are correct about India?

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only 
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains based question : 

  1. How can technology be used to increase forest cover? What are the economic benefits of increasing forest cover to address the livelihood issues of the locals? Analyse in detail.



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