Data were gathered on demographic, forest‐related and geographic parameters to understand the pattern of forest cover change in the Indian subcontinent and discern any underlying factors contributing to forest cover change. Observations indicated that the marginal worker force in many states influences the forest cover change. The states with a lower percentage of forest cover to their geographical area undertook large‐scale plantation activity to enhance the forest cover in the state. Incidentally, these states also had a higher proportion of marginal worker population to their total population. However, the states with high proportion of forest area had a lower proportion of marginal worker population, indicating there is a relation between the proportion of marginal workers in the population to the proportion of forest cover in the state. Thus, a proportion of population that is mostly dependent on the forest for its livelihood in some part of the year becomes unemployed if forests are denuded. Concludes that the forest in a given locality enhances employment opportunity for the local people for their livelihood sustenance. Therefore the policy initiatives should look into employment generation opportunity, apart from enhancing forest cover and regeneration of these forests.
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