India’s forest cover is shrinking at a faster pace than the national average, according to a study by the Forest Resources Institute (FRI).
In a report released on Wednesday, the group said India’s trees are being destroyed for profit at a rate of 10-12% per year.
The report, which was compiled by the International Centre for Tropical Forestry (ICTF), found that forest cover in India was falling by about 1.5 million square kilometers per year in 2017, with an estimated loss of about 1 billion trees.
It said India has lost around 30% of its forest cover between 2006 and 2017.
“India has lost more than 1.8 billion trees over the past decade,” said Dr Amit Mishra, the report’s co-author and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The loss has occurred in areas where there is no forest, or where the population has increased substantially.”
India lost around one billion trees in the same period, according the report.
India accounts for about 15% of global forest cover, but is responsible for only a third of the world’s forest loss, according ICTF.
The decline in forest cover was particularly pronounced in the Himalayas and the subcontinent, which together account for more than half of the total global loss.
India lost nearly 2.7 billion trees from 2005 to 2015, according TOI.
The country has also lost trees at a slower rate than China and the United States, both of which have significant forests.
India’s forests account for less than 1% of the global total, but account for roughly 70% of forest loss.
In its report, ICTF highlighted India’s growing demand for wood products, which is creating a supply chain that is increasingly reliant on China.
In the past year, Chinese goods accounted for about one-third of India’s wood imports, it said.
India has also seen an increasing number of forest fires.
India’s fires have been growing since the late 1990s, and have been attributed to deforestation and climate change.
In 2016, a fire in the state of Maharashtra destroyed an estimated 9,000 hectares (24,000 acres) of forests, according India’s Environment Ministry.
India is currently the world leader in forest loss due to human activity, according a study released by Greenpeace in May.
In India, nearly half of all forest loss occurs due to logging, which accounts for approximately 25% of all deforestation, the Greenpeace report said.