Guwahati: Assam lost 14.1 per cent green cover due to large-scale deforestation and destruction of forest resources in the last 20 years, according to the satellite data analysed by researchers at the University of Maryland recently.
Karbi Anglong tops the list having lost 97.4 kilo hectares (kha) of green cover, followed by Dima Hasao with 63.2 kha, Sonitpur 17.4 kha, Tinsukia 13.2 kha and Kokrajhar 10.4 kha canopy cover, the report said.
In 2010, Assam had 2.42 million hectares of natural forest, extending over 33% of its land area. In 2020, it lost 17.8 kha of natural forest, equivalent to 8.04Mt of carbon emissions.
Between 2001 and 2020, the state lost 269 kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 9.8% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 119Mt of carbon emissions.
From 2001 to 2020, Karbi Anglong lost 97.4 kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 12% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 44.1 MT of carbon emissions.
In 2010, Karbi Anglong had 760 kha of natural forest, extending over 73% of its land area. In 2020, it lost 7.56 kha of natural forest, equivalent to 3.43MT carbon emissions.
Between 2002 and 2020, Karbi Anglong lost 26.3 kha of humid primary forest, making up 28% of its total tree cover loss in the same period. The total area of humid primary forest in Karbi Anglong decreased 9.2% in this period.
However, Karbi Anglong gained 6.96 kha of tree cover region-wide equal to 23% of all tree cover gain in Assam from 2001 to 2012.
Kamrup Metropolitan is another district where the forest cover is fast depleting. In 2010, Kamrup Metropolitan had 22.5 kha of natural forest spreading over 29% of its land area. In 2020, it lost 67.1 ha of natural forest, equivalent to 24.8 KT carbon emissions.
From 2002 to 2020, Kamrup Metropolitan lost 17 ha of humid primary forest, making up 1.7% of its total tree cover loss in the same period. The total area of humid primary forest in Kamrup Metropolitan decreased 1.2% in this period.
Between 2001 and 2020, forests in Kamrup Metropolitan emitted 21.4 kt of carbon per year, and removed -54.2 kt carbon per year. This represents a net carbon flux of -32.7 kt of carbon per year, the study revealed.
Between 2001 and 2020, an average of 21.4 kt per year was released into the atmosphere as a result of tree cover loss in Kamrup Metropolitan. In total, 428 kt of carbon was emitted in this period.
Similarly, Kamrup (Rural) district has lost 708 ha of humid primary forest, making up 15% of its total tree cover loss in the same period. The total area of the humid primary forest in Kamrup decreased 3.7% in this time.
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