New Delhi, Jan. 10 -- A technical assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of India's submission on forest cover has raised concerns about the country's definition of forests, which experts say exaggerates forest cover and inadvertently masks deforestation.

The global body has recommended that India delineate areas under orchards, and bamboo and palm cultivation for an accurate assessment of carbon stocks of forests. The exaggeration could fall at least in the range of 5-12% of the forest cover, going by the submissions made by India to the UN body and estimates by scientists at Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

India's definition of forests has been criticised by scientists in the past on the gro...