Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests

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The Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests are a tropical dry forest ecoregion of central India. The ecoregion lies mostly in Madhya Pradesh state, but extends into portions of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh states.


The Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests cover an area of 169,900 km2 (65,600 sq mi) of the lower Narmada River Valley and the surrounding uplands of the Vindhya Range to the north and the western end of the Satpura Range to the south. The Narmada Valley is an east-west flat-bottomed valley, or graben, that separates the two plateaus. The Vindhya Range separates the valley from the Malwa plateau and Bundelkhand upland to the north. The Satpura Range reaches a height of 1,300m and encloses the valley on the south separating it from the Deccan plateau. The ecoregion includes the western portion of the Satpuras, and also extends to the southeast along the eastern flank of the Western Ghats' range.[1] The uplands of this ecoregion are the northern limits of the Indian peninsula.

Rainfall in the ecoregion is highly seasonal; a seven- to eight-month dry season is followed by the June-to-September southwest monsoon, which brings 1,200-1,500 mm of rainfall in an average year. Many trees lose their leaves during the long dry season to conserve moisture.

The ecoregion lies between moister forests to the northeast, southeast, and southwest, which receive greater rainfall from the southeast monsoon, and the drier forests and scrublands of the Deccan to the south and Malwa and Gujarat to the west and northwest. The lowland Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests lie to the northeast, on the alluvial plain of the Ganges River and its tributaries below the eastern Vindhyas and the Bundelkhand upland. The Chota-Nagpur dry deciduous forests lie on the Chota Nagpur plateau to the east. The Eastern highlands moist deciduous forests, which receive more annual moisture from the Bay of Bengal, lie to the southeast. To the southwest, along the spine of the Western Ghats range, lie the wetter North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, which receive more moisture from the southwest monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea.

To the south, the Deccan Plateau of Maharashtra lies in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats, and is home to the Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests of Vidarbha and the drier Deccan thorn scrub forests of Kandesh. The Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests cover most of Malwa to the northwest and the lowlands of Gujarat to the west.


The natural vegetation of the region is a three-tiered forest adapted to the monsoon and dry season climate. The forests typically have an upper canopy at 15–25 meters, a 10-15 meter understory of smaller trees and large shrubs, and a 3-4 meter undergrowth. Teak (Tectona grandis) is the dominant canopy tree, in association with coromandel ebony (Diospyros melanoxylon), dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), Lagerstroemia parviflora, Terminalia tomentosa, Lannea coromandelica, Hardwickia binata, and Boswellia serrata.

Riparian areas along the regions rivers and streams, which receive year-round water, are home to moist evergreen forests, whose dominant tree species are Terminalia arjuna, Syzygium cumini, Syzygium heyneanum, Salix tetrasperma, Homonoia riparia, and Vitex negundo.


The ecoregion is home to 76 species of mammals, none of which are endemic, although several of which, including the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), along with gaur (Bos gaurus), packs of dhole or Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis), and blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), are threatened.

The ecoregion is home to 276 bird species, none of which are endemic. Large threatened birds include the lesser florican (Eupodotis indica) and Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps).[citation needed]


This area is densely populated and only about 30% of the ecoregion is covered in relatively intact vegetation, but this does include some large blocks of habitat in the amarkantak, Vindhya and Satpura ranges which are important for the preservation of the tiger.[2]

Protected areas[edit]

As of 1997, about 5% of the ecoregion (7,500 km²) lies within protected areas, the largest of which are Melghat Tiger Reserve and Noradehi Sanctuary while others include Bandhavgarh, Panna, and Sanjay national parks. Plans to dam the Narmada River will impact on the wildlife of the ecoregion.[2]

External links[edit]

  • "Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  • Official Website of NVDA - Narmada Valley Development Authority


  1. ^ "Narmada Valley dry deciduous forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  2. ^ a b Wikramanayake, Eric; Eric Dinerstein; Colby J. Loucks; et al. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment. Island Press; Washington, DC. pp. 322-324