United Nations, (Agencies): Appreciating India for its signification contribution in the afforestation activity in Asia, United Nations has said that the country is adding 300,000 hectares of forest every year.

"I would highlight India, which still has important population growth. The forests in India are growing at 300,000 hectare per annum," Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Forestry Director of Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Wednesday.

According to the 'State of the World's Forests' report, published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, India targets to cover 33 per cent of its land area with forests and tree cover by 2012.

The report also highlighted that five countries -- India, China, Australia, Indonesia and Myanmar –- had the largest forested area in Asia and Pacific region.

These countries accounted for 74 per cent of the forest in the region with China and Australia alone accounting for almost half the forest area of the region.

In Asia and Pacific region, forests were lost at a rate of 0.7 million hectares per year in the 1990s but it grew by 1.4 million hectares per year over the period 2000–2010, the report said.

"This was primarily due to large-scale afforestation efforts in China, where the forest area increased by 2 million hectares per year in the 1990s and by an average of 3 million hectares per year since 2000," it said, adding that Bhutan, India, the Philippines and Vietnam also increased forest area in the past ten years.

The report also highlighted China and India's targets for large-scale forest planting in the next few years.
However, 25 per cent of the country land area was covered by forests and trees in 2010, according to the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2010. "To this should be added an unknown area of line plantings and other 'trees outside forests'," the report stated.

UN, which has declared 2011 as the 'International Year of Forests,' found that the net global deforestation has declined by 37 per cent but there still exists a billion hectare of degraded forest land.