New Delhi: India's forest cover is down by 367 sq km, as per a new government survey released on Tuesday. However, less than a week ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that the country's forest cover had increased by nearly five percent between 1997 and 2007.

Forest cover is rapidly increasing in the country’s tribal inhabited areas.

As per the new survey, of the total decrease in forest area, Andhra Pradesh registered the maximum decline of 281 sq km.

According to the survey released on Tuesday, India has 23.81 percent of its land area, a total 78.29 million hectares, covered by forest.

In the last two years, 15 states have shown a combined increase in forest area by 500 sq km, Punjab leading that effort. Andhra Pradesh has recorded 867 sq km decrease in forest cover, as per the reports.

 India State of Forest Report, 2011 - has been released by the Ministry of Environment & Forest in this connection.