A biennial assessment of the forest cover in Goa carried out by the Forest Survey of India has pegged the recorded forest area in the State at 1,271 square kilometres, which is around 34.33 per cent of the total geographical area of the State.
A glance at the category-wise forest area in Goa shows that reserve forest is pegged around 119 square kilometres, protected forests around 755 square kilometres, unclassed forest area around 397 square kilometres.
This was informed by Union Minister of State in Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey in reply to an unstarred question tabled by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro.
In the reply, the Minister further pointed out that as per the information provided by the Goa State Forest Department there is no recorded forest encroachment. The Minister, however, said the protection and management of forests is primarily the responsibility of the concerned State government and the Union Territory Administration.
It was further informed that the various actions to remove encroachment are taken as per the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and rules made there under, and also under State Specific Acts and Rules.
“Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organisation under the Ministry carries out the assessment of forest cover biennially since 1987 and the findings are published in India State of Forest Report (ISFR). As per latest ISFR 2021, the Recorded Forest Area in the State of Goa is 1,271 square kilometres which is 34.33% of the total geographical area of the State,” the Minister said. He, however, pointed out that the taluka-wise details are not collated by the Ministry.
Faleiro had tabled an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha seeking to know the total area owned by Forest Department in the State of Goa, the taluka-wise details of ownership in the State; the total area illegally encroached upon by the encroachers as-on-date, the taluka-wise details thereof, the action taken by government to stop this land grabbing by the anti-social elements; and the details of land restored to the Forest Department.