Tripura has a total geographical area of 10,486 Sq Km with 7,957 Sq Km area of forest and tree cover. Credit: Representational image

Agartala: The Forest Survey of India (FSI) will start satellite mapping of Tripura’s total rubber plantation and water bodies for the first time, said cabinet spokesperson and law minister Ratan Lal Nath.

Speaking with EastMojo, Nath said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the ministry of environment, forest and climate change with the Tripura government on March 11 last.

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“An amount of Rs 27 lakh would be spent for undertaking the satellite mapping of the rubber plantation, water bodies, bamboo areas and forest beats. The satellite mapping was supposed to start from May 5, but it had slowed down due to the pandemic,” Nath said.

A meeting between the FSI and senior officials of Tripura forest department was also held in presence of eastern regional officer from Kolkata on September 9 last.

“The officials during its meeting discussed the availability of forest cover, water bodies (beat wise) areas of land covered by bamboo and rubber plantation in the state. The satellite mapping would be the first time ever in Tripura,” Nath added.

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The assessment of rubber and water area will be undertaken through remote sensing and high resolution satellite imagery will be utilised, at Dehradun-FSI headquarters for identifying the areas. Ground verification of a few sample points will be undertaken by the state government.

In case of bamboo, field sampling will be undertaken over nearly 1,800 points of the state. A team of two-three forest officials will visit the points to verify the presence of bamboo and its associated attributes.

Nath also said that never in the past during the previous government such initiative was taken by the state to data and information of states actual forest cover and water bodies area.

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Tripura has a total geographical area of 10,486 Sq Km with total 7957 Sq Km area of forest and tree cover. Of the total, 7,726 is forest cover and 231 Sq Km tree cover.

“At present Tripura has 654 Sq Km of very high density forest, 5,236 Sq Km of medium density forest and 1,800 Sq Km of open forest across Tripura. In India, Tripura holds the 8th position and 5th among the 8 northeastern states in terms of forest cover”, Nath said.

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Nath further shared the total plantation area of the state for the last three years. In 2018-19 there were 5,463 ha of total plantation, in 2019-20 it was 3,977 ha and 2,648 ha till July in the 220-21 fiscal year.

“These also include bamboo plantations of 1,600 ha, 1,529 ha and 1,563 ha for the three fiscal years respectively. The state government also built 88, 135 and 9 check dams in the last three years,” Nath added.

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