The Assam Kaziranga University

The disturbing news that Assam lost close to 287 thousand hectares of tree cover area in the last two decades (2001 to 2021)—an area nearly twice the size of Delhi—was revealed by the Global Forest Watch Report of 2022.

According to the India State of Forests Report (ISFR) 2021, published by the Ministry of Environment, North Eastern states lost 1,020 square kilometres of forests between 2019 and 2021.

2028, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh’s forests will have lost 9,007.14 sq km (2.94%) of their area, according to recent research by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing.

Environmental activist Dhiren Gohain said, “Over three lakh hectares (3,700 sq km) of Assam’s forest land, that accounts for over 13% of the state’s total forest cover is under encroachment, the Centre informed the Lok Sabha in early August of this year. But, this didn’t make the news; people do not really care for the environment, it is just trending to ‘act’ like they care.”

Gohain added that the Assam forests are situated in one of India’s two major biodiversity hotspots, the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats, making the area particularly important to halt climate change in the area.

The minimum and maximum temperatures have significantly increased as a result of decreasing forest cover. Gohain added that it has also sparked disputes between people and animals in the state.

Karbi Anglong tops the list of Assam’s forest loss, losing over 97 thousand hectares to encroachment, followed by Dima Hasao, which lost over 63.2 thousand hectares, Sonitpur, which lost 17.4 thousand hectares, Tinsukia, which lost 13.2 thousand hectares, and Kokrajhar, which lost 10.4 thousand hectares, according to a satellite data report analysed and published in 2022 by researchers at the University of Maryland.

The Assam Kaziranga University