(Rptng adding new paras)
Chandigarh, Apr 25 (UNI) Punjab has an average of 13.12 trees outside forests (TOF) per hectare, more than the national average of eleven, with 94 per cent of the TOF cover spread over rural areas in the state.
Revealing this in its Report on TOF in Punjab, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has recommended to the state to further increase the TOF cover as there was still a potential in this regard in rural areas.
The report was released here today at a National Seminar on 'Trees Outside Forests', organised by the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Preservation Department.
With 94 per cent of the Punjab's TOF cover in rural areas, the report prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) analysed that the most preferred species in rural areas were Eucalyptus, followed by Poplar and Dalbergia sissoo, mainly grown for the commercial purposes.
Even though the state's TOF average has been more than the nation's, its districts in the Malwa belt have a far low average with Ferozepur recording the lowest of 3.2 stems per hectare.
The other southern districts with a far low density include Sangrur (6.94 stems per hectare), Moga (7.56) and Mansa (10.01), Patiala (12.50), Fatehgarh Sahib (13.61), Faridkot (14.43) and Bathinda (14.68).
Hoshiarpur and Ropar have been the leading districts with an average TOF density of 26.93 and 25.86 stems per hectare respectively, as per the report.
In an interesting finding, the study said that the literacy rate was directly proportional to the number of saplings planted. ''The literacy rate has a positive and definite effect on TOF which is particularly more pronounced in rural areas.
However, the increase in livestock has a negative impact on Trees Outside Forests.
The study also suggested that TOF has a positive correlation with the recorded forest area in Punjab. ''More the recorded forest area more is the TOF and consequently there is an increase in its volume and volume/hectare,'' it stated.
Punjab has a total of 3,084 square kilometer of forest area, comprising 5.76 per cent of the state's total geographical area.
Hoshiarpur district leads with 1149 square km of forest area, significantly 33.93 per cent of the district's total geographical area.
While Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib districts have the lowest forest area of 20 square km each, nearly 1.37 per cent and 1.69 per cent of their total geographical areas respectively.
The report also pointed out that the estimated volume of wood contained in the trees outside forests land in Punjab was 19.85 million cubic metre, 20 times higher than the volume in the state's forest areas.
UNI PS DB SB KN1210/ MIR HS1315