Flora and fauna of Madhya Pradesh

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Forest Eco-system in Madhya Pradesh
Hinglaj Fort surrounded by Deep Mixed Forests in Mandsaur

Madhya Pradesh is often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh was originally the largest state in India until November 1, 2000 when the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out. It borders the states Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Forest statistics[edit]

Madhya Pradesh, is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources. Lying between latitude 21°04'N-26.87°N and longitude 74°02'-82°49' E, it is a reservoir of biodiversity. The geographical area of the state is 308,144 km² which constitutes 9.38% of the land area of the country. The forest area of the state is 95,221 km² constituting 31% of the geographical area of the state and 12.44% of the forest area of the country. Legally this area has been classified into "Reserved Forest, Protected Forest and Unclassified Forest", which constitute 61.7%, 37.4% and 0.9% of the forest area respectively. Per capita forest area is 2,400 m² as against the national average of 700 m²

As per the latest estimates of Forest Survey of India, published in the State of Forest Report (SFR) 2003, the total forest cover of M.P. is 76,429 km2., which is 24.79% of the land area - dense forest constituting 13.57% and open forest 11.22%.

One third of the state is forested and offers a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National Parks of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Shivpuri and many others, one has the rare opportunity to see the tiger, the bison and a wide variety of deer and antelope in sylvan surroundings. Nine National Parks and Twenty Five Wildlife Sanctuaries are attractive destinations on tourist map.

Forest composition[edit]

Mixed forests at Amarkantak

Central, eastern and southern parts of the state are rich, whereas northern and western parts are deficient in forest. Variability in climatic and edaphic conditions brings about significant difference in the forest types of the state. There are four important forest types viz. Tropical Moist, Tropical Dry, Tropical Thorn, Subtropical broadleaved Hill forests. The forest area can also be classified based on the composition of forest and terrain of the area. Based on composition, there are three important forest formations namely Teak forest, Sal forest and Miscellaneous Forests. Bamboo bearing areas are widely distributed in the state. To obviate pressure on the natural forests, plantations have been undertaken in forest and non forest areas to supplement the availability of fuel wood, small timber, fodder etc. MP lost a good amount of forest recently when Chhattisgarh was carved out of it, as that region was the richest reserve of forests in MP.

Teak - Tectona grandis (Common Teak) is by far the most important timber species, with a wide distribution in Madhya Pradesh. It is found in following districts, namely Inore, Khandwa, Harda, Dewas, Sehore, Bhopal, Raisen, Vidisha, Betul, Hoshangaba, Chhindwara, Seoni, Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, Shahdol, Umaria,Jabalpur, Damoh, Panna, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Satna, Rewa and Sidhi.

Sal - Sal or Sakhu (Shorea robusta) is another important timber species in Madhya Pradesh. It is a large evergreen tree belonging to the family dipterocarpaceae. Sal forests of Madhya Pradesh are ecologically very important as they mark the termination of the great Sal zone of the Central Indian Peninsula. Sal forests are located in the eastern part of the state while teak forests are localised in the western part. In between, there is a transition belt of mixed miscellaneous forests. There are also areas where Teak and Sal both species occur naturally mixed together forming unique ecosystem. Sal forests occupy an area of 7244 km², which is about 7.6% of the total forest area of the state. The Sal forests are confined to the eastern part of the state in the districts Rewa, Sidhi, Umaria, Anuppur and southwards in districts Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, and Jabalpur and occupy all ranges of Maikal and the highlands of Balaghat. Sal forests are also distributed in and around Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad and Chhindwara districts.[1]

Mixed forests - The maximum forest cover in the state is that of mixed forests, which includes Teak (Tectona grandis) or Sal (Shorea robusta) mixed with other species like saja (Terminalia tomentosa), bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), lendia (Lagerstroemia parviflora), haldu (Adina cardifolia), dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), salai (Boswellia serrata), aonla (Emblica officinalis), amaltas (Cassia fistula), gamhar (Gmelina arborea), etc. Dazzling white kulu (Sterculia urens) trees scattered around stand out conspicuously among the various hues of green. The ground is covered with maze of grasses, plants, bushes and saplings.Pterocarpus marsupium is also used for control of blood sugar in Diabetes since ancient times in India.

Bamboo - Bamboo is also found at places in Madhya Pradesh forests. Normally Dendrocalamus strictus is the main bamboo species found overlapping with other species. It is distributed over Balaghat, Seoni, Chhindwara, Betul, Mandla and Shahdol districts.

Khair - Khair (Acacia catechu) trees are found in Jabalpur, Sagar, Damoh, Umaria, Hoshangabad, Guna, Shivpuri, Sheopur, Morena, Gwalior etc. Khair trees are used as a raw material for preparation of catechu or kattha.

NWFP - There are many important Non wood forest Products (NWFP) found in the forests e.g. Tendu leaves or Bidi leaves (Diospyros melonoxylon), Sal Seed (Shorea robusta), Chebulic Myrobolan or Harra (Terminalia chebula), Gum, Chironji (Buchanania lanzan), flower and seeds of Mahua (Madhuca indica) and flowers, seeds, bark & roots of various plant species. Tendu leaves, Sal seed and Gums are nationalised forest produce in Madhya Pradesh whereas the other NWFP are non-nationalised.These non-nationalised NWFP can be collected and traded freely. The collection and trade of nationalised forest produce is regulated by the state.

Tendu Patta (Leaf) Collection

Medicinal plants - Medicinal trees and plants of various kinds are found in abundance in the forests of Madhya Pradesh. Important ones are: Aegle marmelos, Azadirachta indica, Bixa orellana, Butea monosperma, Asparagus racemosus, Argemone mexicana,Buchanania lanzan, Aloe barbadensis, Acorus calamus, Cassia tora, Curculigo orchiodes, Curcuma longa, Embelia ribes, Clitoria ternatea, Mangifera indica, Cassia fistula, Evolvulus alsinoides, Commiphora mukul, Helicteres isora, Holorrhaena antidysenterica, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Woodfordia fruticosa,. Dioscorea spp, Plumbago zeylaniea, Terminalia bellirica, Tamarindus indica, Mucuna pruriens, Pongamia pinnata, Terminalia bellirica, Psoralea corylifolia, Phyllanthus embilica, Ocimum americanum, Rauvolfia serpentina, Tinospora Cardifolio, Withania somnifera, Swertia chirayita, Tribulus terrestres, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Cyprus Rotundus.

Forest growing stock[edit]

The total growing stock (volume of timber / wood) is 50,000,000 m³ valued worth Rs 2.5 lakh Crores.

Natural areas[edit]

Madhya Pradesh is home to 9 National Parks, including Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, Sanjay National Park, Madhav National Park, Van Vihar National Park, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Panna National Park, and Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

There are also a number of natural preserves, including Amarkantak, Patalkot, Bagh Caves, Bhedaghat, Bori Natural Reserve, Ken Gharial, Ghatigaon, Kuno Palpur, Narwar, Chambal, Kukdeshwar, Narsinghgarh, Nora Dehi, Pachmarhi, Panpatha, Shikarganj, and Tamia.

National Parks and their Fauna[edit]

There are 9 National Parks and 25 Sanctuaries spread over an area of 10,862 km2 constituting 11.40% of the total forest area and 3.52% of the geographical area of the state. Efforts are under way to increase the Protected Area network to 15% of the forest or 5% of the geographical.

There is a network of Protected Areas representative of bio-geographical zones. Special efforts have been made towards conservation of highly endangered species in the following National Parks and sanctuaries:

Name of National Park Area Location Established Fauna
Kanha National Park 940 km² Mandla 1955 Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Swamp Deer, (Barasingha), Wild Boar & variety of upland birds.
Bandhavgarh National Park 437 km² Umaria 1968

Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Wild Boar & variety of upland birds.

Madhav National Park 354 km² Shivpuri 1959

Panther, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Black Buck, Chausingha, Wild Boar, Crocodiles in lake, & variety of upland birds.

Sanjay National Park 467 km² Sidhi -

Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Chital, Gaur, etc.

Van Vihar National Park 4.45 km² Bhopal 1983

Tiger, Panther, Lion, Bear, Hyena etc.

Panna National Park 543 km² Panna, Chhatarpur -

Tiger, Chital, Chinkara, Sambar and the Sloth Bear

Satpura National Park 524 km² Pachmarhi 1981

Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Chital, Bherki, Nilgai, Four-horned antelope, Chinkara, Bison (gour), Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Bear, Black Buck, Fox, Porcupine, Flying squirrel, Mouse deer, Indian giant squirrel etc.

Pench National Park 293 km² Seoni, Chhindwara 1983

Tiger, Panther, Bison, Chital, Sambhar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Barking Deer, Chowsingha, Wild Boar & variety of upland birds.

Mandla Plant Fossils National Park 0.27 km² Mandla -

Plant Fossils

However,once upon a time Satpura region, now famous for numerous tiger reserves,was ruled by wild Indian elephant and lions.[2]

List of sanctuaries[edit]

Wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh include the following:[3]

  • Bori Wildlife Sanctuary (Hoshangabad) 518.00 km2 (200.00 sq mi)
  • Bagdara Sanctuary (Sidhi) 478.90 km2 (184.90 sq mi)
  • Phen Sanctuary (Mandla) 110.74 km2 (42.76 sq mi)
  • Ghatigaon Sanctuary (Gwalior) 512.00 km2 (197.68 sq mi)
  • Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary (Mandsaur) 368.62 km2 (142.32 sq mi)
  • Karera Sanctuary (Shivpuri) 202.21 km2 (78.07 sq mi)
  • Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary (Chhatarpur, Panna) 45.00 km2 (17.37 sq mi)
  • Kheoni Sanctuary (Dewas, Sehore) 122.70 km2 (47.37 sq mi)
  • Narsingharh Sanctuary (Rajgarh) 57.19 km2 (22.08 sq mi)
  • National Chambal Sanctuary (Morena) 320.00 km2 (123.55 sq mi)
  • Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary (Sagar) 1,034.52 km2 (399.43 sq mi)
  • Pachmarhi Sanctuary (Hoshangabad) 461.85 km2 (178.32 sq mi)
  • Panpatha Sanctuary (Shahdol) 245.84 km2 (94.92 sq mi)
  • Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary (Morena) 345.00 km2 (133.21 sq mi)
  • Pench National Park (Seoni, Chhindwara) 449.39 km2 (173.51 sq mi)
  • Ratapani Sanctuary (Raisen) 688.7 km2 (265.9 sq mi)
  • Snajay-Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary (Sidhi) 364.69 km2 (140.81 sq mi)
  • Singhori Sanctuary (Raisen) 287.91 km2 (111.16 sq mi)
  • Son Ghariyal Sanctuary (Sidhi) 41.80 km2 (16.14 sq mi)
  • Sardarpur Sanctuary (Dhar) 348.12 km2 (134.41 sq mi)
  • Sailana Sanctuary (Ratlam) 12.96 km2 (5.00 sq mi)
  • Ralamandal Sanctuary (Indore)
  • Orchha Sanctuary (Tikamgarh)
  • Gangau Sanctuary
  • Veerangna Durgawati Sanctuary (Damoh)

Climate[edit]

Madhya Pradesh has a subtropical climate. Like most of north India, it has a hot dry summer(April–June) followed by monsoon rains (July–September) and a cool and relatively dry winter. The average rainfall is about 1,370 mm (53.9 in). It decreases from east to west. The south-eastern districts have the heaviest rainfall, some places receiving as much as 2,150 mm (84.6 in), while the western and north-western districts receive 1,000 mm (39.4 in) or less.

The Tribals and Forests[edit]

A Bhil tribe in Jhabua forests

The tribal population is an integral part of the biodiversity of the forests since ages. A large number of ethnic aboriginal tribes are there who live in and around forests in Madhya Pradesh. The main tribal groups are:

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A.P. Dwivedi: Sal Borer Calamity, a case of M.P. and Chhatisgarh, Sai Publication Bhopal, 2005. p.7
  2. ^ http://www.banglalive.com/News/SpecialNewsDetail/5966
  3. ^ "Wild Life". mpforest.org. Madhya Pradesh Forest Department. Retrieved 20 January 2013.