[Himachal GK] Forest Resources of Himachal Pradesh

The forest and other natural ecosystems of Himachal Pradesh constitute two-third of the geographical area of the state, are crucial for its environmental, ecological and economic well-being and that the
influence of the state’s forests transcends well beyond its boundaries, significantly impacting on the ecology and economy of the Indo-Gangetic plains. The forests of the state are rich in biodiversity and play a vital role in preserving the fragile Himalayan ecosystem while also being a primary livelihood source for the rural population and prime source of fresh water for both urban and rural population.
Forests, besides performing important ecological functions, provide essential services, like food, fuel wood, fodder, timber, raw material for forest based industries and non-timber forest products. As per records nearly 66% of the geographical area of the state is forest lands; however, the extent of actual forest cover on all categories of land is 26 % only. 

Himachal Pradesh has more than 12 % of its area under two national parks and thirty two wildlife sanctuaries, which are home to some rare and endangered faunal and floral species such as snow leopard, musk dear, pheasants and Himalayan Yew.  The cold desert region of the state comprising Spiti sub-division of Lahul and Spiti District and Pooh Sub-Division of Kinnaur district is a distinct biome and manifests remarkable ecological and biological diversity having their unique characteristics of isolation and marginality. The forests of Himachal Pradesh known for their grandeur and majesty are like a green pearl in the Himalayan crown. 


Driving Forces:

The life supporting systems in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh are presently under great stress due to impact of modern civilization, economic development and growth in human and cattle population. According to national Forest Policy, 1988, at least two third of the geographical area should be under forests in the mountainous states like Himachal Pradesh. The recorded forest area is 66.52 % of state’s geographic area, only 26.66 % area is under forest and tree cover. However, 35.5 % of total available area can be brought under forest and tree cover as the remaining area is inaccessible, under permanent snow cover and beyond the tree limit.

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