IAS Gyan



10th March, 2023 Prelims

India's forests are thriving; on paper | Deccan Herald

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India has approximately 66% of the forest cover worldwide and is ranked among the top 10 countries globally. The country has many jungles and wildlife sanctuaries.

Different types of forests in India are Tropical Evergreen Forests, Deciduous or Rain Forests, Dry Deciduous Forests, Mountain Forests, Tidal or, Mangrove Forests, Semi-Desert and Desert vegetation, etc. The biggest percentage of Dry thorn and tropical deciduous forests are found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, etc. 

Jim Corbett national park, Kanha, Gir, Bandipur, Nagarhole, Namdapha, Wayanad wildlife sanctuary etc., are the most famous forests in India.

Kaziranga National Park Assam

Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage forest established in 1985 in Assam. Karbi Anglong hills and the Brahmaputra river cover Kaziranga Rashtriya Udyan. It’s well known for its flora and fauna. 

The site used to be a designated hunting spot during the British era. The government changed the status in 1905, and the park was named Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary. Four vegetation types can be seen in this vast area:

  • Alluvial inundated grasslands
  • Alluvial savanna woodlands
  • Tropical moist mixed deciduous forests
  • Tropical semi-evergreen forests

Trees found in Kaziranga National Park are Kumbhi, Indian gooseberry, cotton tree, elephant apple, sugarcane, spear grass, and elephant grass.

Kaziranga National Park’s famous animals

It’s a tiger reserve under the forest department of the Government of Assam. The forest has many Royal Bengal Tigers, and there are currently 118 tigers in total. 

Kaziranga National Park is also famous for its one-horned rhinoceros. As per the latest census, 1,641 rhinos were found, and the amount is almost two-thirds of the world’s entire one-horned rhino population. 

Other animals like Hoolock Gibbon, Leopard, Indian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Wild water buffalo, deer, etc., are also found here. Kaziranga National Park is certified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.

Jim Corbett National Park Uttarakhand

Jim Corbett was a British hunter, naturalist, and author. He came to India as a colonel of the British Indian Army and was recognized as a hero by the Uttarakhand people for hunting down a man-eater tiger. 

In his later years, he actively campaigned to conserve India’s wildlife. As a result, he established the oldest national park in India in 1936, later renamed the Jim Corbett National Park, and Jim Corbett became the First National Park of India.

The forest type is mainly moist deciduous with trees like Sal, Khair, and Sisso. In India here, the highest density of tigers is found.

Where is Jim Corbett National Park Located

Jim Corbett National Park is in the Nainital and Pauri Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand state, besides the Ramganga River. It covers an area of 520sq km, coniferous and deciduous forest in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Jim Corbett National Park is Famous for which Animal

Jim Corbett National Park is the earliest tiger reserve in India. They have an impressive population of 164 tigers and over 600 elephants

Mountainous species such as Himalayan black bears, sloth-type deer, and deadly pythons are common animals of this reserve forest in India.

Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan

Ranthambore National Park is amongst the few green areas of India’s desert state of Rajasthan. The forest is mainly grassland, and dry deciduous trees outnumber evergreen plants. 

This famous jungle in India is named after the famous Ranthambore Fort. In 1955, It was first started as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary. Later, it joined Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary to form a tiger reserve of 1,334 sq km.

This national park has over 300 different types of plant species. The Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan trees are Dhok, Banyan, Pipal, Mango, Jamun, Neem, Ber, Babul, Gum, Gurjan, Khajur, Kadam, Khair etc.

Where is Ranthambore National Park situated

Ranthambore National Park is in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan state. It covers an area of 1,334sq km.

Ranthambore National Park is Famous for which Animal

Ranthambore is a tiger reserve. Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Blackbucks, Rufous-tailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, etc., have inhabited this dry forest.

Manas National Park Assam

Manas National Park is the only Biosphere reserve in North-East India, and UNESCO announced the national park as a World Heritage site for rich biodiversity. The Manas National Park in Assam is a fantastic and dangerous forest in India.

It’s a semi-evergreen forest. The park stands first in housing the maximum number of endangered Indian animals. The name Manas is derived from the Manas River flowing within the woods.

In this national park, about 50% is grassland, and the rest of the forest is covered with Sub-Himalayan Light Alluvial Semi-Evergreen forests and Low Alluvial Savanna Woodland.

It has over 500 different types of tree species. Flora of manas national park is Burflower-tree, Syzygium Formosum, Java Plum, Indian bay leaf Aphanamixis polystachya or the pithraj tree, Bauhinia purpurea (purple bauhinia), Kamala tree, etc.

Manas National Park covers an area of 950 sq km, situated Himalayan foothill region spanning six districts of the state of Assam. These districts are Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Malaria, Kamrup, and Darrang in Assam.

Manas National Park is Famous for Which Animal

Fifty-five species of mammals are there, out of which 31 are endangered, and it’s declared an elephant reserve. Other animals include rhinoceros, clouded leopards, sloth bears, tigers, wild water buffalo, pygmy hogs, hispid hares, golden langurs, etc.

Dudhwa National Park Uttar Pradesh

The Dudhwa National Park is an essential forest in Uttar Pradesh, India, at the Indo-Nepal border. In 1958, the extensive dense forest was recognized as a wildlife sanctuary.

The great Indian conservationist Billy Arjan Singh worked tirelessly to change the status to a national park in 1977. Ten years later, the forest was marked as a tiger reserve zone. It’s also known for its rare and diverse Terai ecosystem.

The Dudhwa forest is a marsh, grassland, and dense woods. The flora of this national park is Sal, Sehore, Shisham, Asna, Jamun, Gular, and Bahera. It’s known for ‘Sal’ trees globally.

Where is Dudhwa National Park Located

Dudhwa National Park, situated in the Lakhimpur Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh, India, spans over 1,270 square kilometres. 

Dudhwa National Park is Famous for Which Animal

At present, it’s a tiger reserve, but it used to be a protective area for swamp deer. These two are the park’s major attractions, and a scarce animal called Hispid Hare has been seen here.

This animal was rediscovered here in 1984 after it was declared extinct years before. Other animals include Rhinoceros, Swamp deer, Elephant, Sambar, Hog deer, Cheetal, Langur, Blue bull, Mugger and Gharial Crocodile, etc. A wide variety of birds is found here.

Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve Karnataka

Rajiv Gandhi National Park, famous as Nagarhole National Park Karnataka, has India’s unique and diverse forest ecosystems. It’s a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and exists on the slopes of the Brahmagiri Mountains.

Mainly a deciduous forest with an abundance of expensive trees like teak, rosewood, and sandalwood occur here. It’s currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The sanctuary is covered with lush green forests and dense vegetation. The plant species commercially found here are rosewood, sandalwood, teak, silver oak, teak, crocodile bark, Indian kino tree, Kadam, cotton tree, etc.

Nagarhole National Park, located in Kodagu and Mysore districts in Karnataka state, covers an area of 642.4 sq km.

In 1999 Nagarhole was declared a tiger reserve. It’s home to the Royal Bengal tiger, Wild Dogs, Leopards, Bears, deer, pangolins, and different species of birds.

Pench National Park Madhya Pradesh

Pench National Park of central India is a Tiger Reserve established in 1975, located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra state. The forest is notably known for being the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s world-famous novel The Jungle Book. The forest has dry and moist deciduous trees; hence it’s a mixed deciduous forest.

Thus, a part of this jungle is named the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary. The park is named after the Pench river and has different fruit trees, medicinal trees, and plants. The Flora are Sal Tree, Mahua Tree, Palash Tree, Teak tree, Neem tree, etc.

Pench National Park, located in Madhya Pradesh near Seoni, spans 257.3 square kilometres. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest area, stretching to the Satpura Range.

The latest census showed there are 40 tigers in the park currently. Other animal species include nilgai, wild boar, jackal, Indian leopard, wolf, chital deer, sambar deer, and more than 200 species of migratory birds.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park Mumbai

Right in the centre of India, we have Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The park records about 2 million visitors yearly and is Named after our late Prime Minister. The Kanheri Caves in the centre of the park have a long-dated history, and these were built during the 9th B.C.E and are now important centres of Buddhist history.

The national park belongs to the Malabar Plains ecosystem with varied vegetation, including semi-evergreen, scrub, deciduous, etc.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the metropolitan city of Mumbai in Maharashtra covers an area of 87 sq km.

Chital deer and leopard are the main mammals here. Other mammals include Black-naped Hares, Barking deer, striped Hyenas, Civets, Four-horned Antelope, Mouse Deer, and Monkeys.

Reptiles like crocodiles, pythons, and other poisonous snakes can also be seen. The park is also well known for its butterfly preservation, and more than 170 species of butterfly have been identified to be endemic to this area.

Periyar National Park Kerala

Periyar National Park is an elephant and tiger reserve in the Cardamom Hills of South India. It’s a montane forest comprised of tropical evergreen, deciduous trees, and vast grasslands. 

The forest type is moist deciduous. The Maharaja of the region established this park in 1934 as Nelliyampathy Game Sanctuary, and after Independence, the government changed the present name.

Flora of Periyar National Park Kerala is Vateria indica, Dipterocarpus indicus, Cullenia excelsa, Palaquium ellipticum (Dalzell), Artocarpus hirsutus, Bombax ceiba, Hopea parviflora etc.

Periyar National Park is spread across the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala and spans over 350 square kilometres. It’s situated between Madurai in the south Western Ghats mountain range along the hills of Cardamom of Pandalam.

Asian Elephants and Royal Bengal Tigers are the two main animals protected here. Thirty-three, more species of mammals, are recorded here. Gaur, Panther, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgiri langur, Lion Tailed macaque, Otter, Malabar giant squirrel, and Wild dog are other mammals of this region. Migrating birds can also be seen here.

Eravikulam National Park Munnar Kerala

Eravikulam National Park is the first national park in Kerala, established in 1975. Grasslands and deciduous trees cover the majority of the area.

The chief portion of the forest is on a hilly plateau of the Western Ghats at an elevation of 2000 m. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India, is located inside this park.

Eravikulam National Park Kerala is divided into forest, shrubland, and grassland. The antibacterial plant Eupatorium glandulosum, also known as Common boneset, is found here.

Other plant species are Actinodaphne bourdilloni, Syzygium densiflorum, Microtropis ramiflora, Pittosporum tetraspermum, Sysygium aronottianum, Tripogon bromoides RothChrysopogon Zelanieus, Eupatorium adenophorum, Strobilanthus Kunthianus (Neela Kurinji), Eulalia phaeothrix, Arundinella fuscata, Cyanotis Species etc.

Eravikulam National Park Neelakurinji covers an area of 97 sq km in the Idukki and Ernakulam districts of Kerala.

The sanctuary is mainly famous for reserving Nilgiri tahr, and it’s an endangered mountain goat endemic to southern India. Other animals include sambar deer, jackal, wild dog, dhole, leopard, etc.

Namdapha National Park Arunachal Pradesh

In Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, almost 150 timber species are found. Pinus Merkusi, Abies Delavavi, Blue Vanda, and rare orchard species are also found here.

Namdapha, or water from Dapha bum glacier, is a thorny tropical rainforest in northeast India. The vegetation varies from evergreen to deciduous and alpine due to altitude differences. 

It’s also the world’s northernmost rainforest at 27° N latitude. 

The park is listed among the 36 biodiversity hotspots of the world, and Area-wise, it comes fourth among all the national parks of India.

Namdapha National Park, situated in Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh, spans over 1,985 square kilometres between the Dapha bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai rangeNoa-Dihing River and Brahmaputra river flow via this park. The park is spread across the neighbouring regions of Mizoram, Manipur, and even Myanmar.

The park is a biodiversity hotspot. It has various rare species of animals, and Namdapha flying squirrel is an endangered animal discovered and endemic to this national park.

It’s also the only forest in the world to have all four species of big cats: Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Clouded Leopard.

The Great Himalayan National Park Himachal Pradesh

Great Himalayan National Park Himachal Pradesh has more than 100 vegetation and medicinal plants. The flora of this forest is the blue pine, oak trees, Rhododendron trees, cedar, Deodar, spruce, etc.

This National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the lap of the Himalayan mountains in north India. The park was formed in 1984 and gained its world heritage status in 2014. It has various forest types, among which thick clusters of alpine and coniferous vegetation can often be seen. 

Great Himalayan National Park in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh covers an area of 1171 sq km.

The Great Himalayan National Park is mainly famous for Western Tragopan and has the world’s largest population of this extremely rare pheasant. Other animals include snow leopards, Himalayan Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan black bears, etc.

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National park Goa

The Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National in Goa showcase more than 700 flower plant species. Trees are found in this national park Tropical almonds, Xylia, Crepe myrtle, Dalbergia(timber trees), etc.

It’s another protected forest within the dense greenery of the Western Ghats, also known as the Bhagwan Mahavir National Park. The famous Dudhsagar Falls lies here.

The forest shows vibrant tropical evergreen vegetation. Recently the “Save Mollem” movement has gained momentum nationwide, and Naturalists are trying to revoke government orders to clear forest areas for railway construction.

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa spans over 107 square kilometres. It forms the border between the states of Karnataka and Goa.

Among herbivores, various types of deer and Gaur are spotted here. Carnivores include tigers, black leopards, panthers, etc.

Sundarban National Park West Bengal

Sundarban National Park is spread across the largest delta of the world, formed by the river Ganga. It’s a biosphere reserve mainly known for the impressive population of the Royal Bengal Tigers. The vegetation type is a marshy littoral forest.

The entire area is filled with mangrove trees and forms the world’s most giant mangrove belt. The region gets its name from a particular mangrove tree named Sundari, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Sundarbans National Park West Bengal is a saltwater mixed forest, so limited plant species are found. Sundarbans is named after the Sundari tree. In the woods, we can see different mangroves like Avicennia, Xylocarpus granatum(cannonball mangrove), Sonneratia apetala, Bruguiera gymnorhiza (orange mangrove or oriental mangrove), Ceriops decandra, Golpati, Champa, Dhundul, Genwa, and Hatal, etc.

Sundarban National Park’s Royal Bengal tiger population is more than 400. Other animals are foxes, leopards, deer, wild cats, etc. Some endangered species of this region are saltwater crocodiles, river terrapin, olive ridley turtles, Hawksbill turtles, and mangrove horseshoe crabs.

Simlipal National Park Orissa

Simlipal National Park is the 7th largest national park in India. Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary make up this moist deciduous forest.

The sanctuary was a royal hunting ground until 1956 when it became a tiger reserve. In 2009, UNESCO added Simlipal National Park to its list of Biosphere Reserves. The forest gets its name from this area’s Simul or red silk cotton trees. 

Simlipal National Park Orissa is a treasure house of over 1000 tree species. In this forest, almost 75% of the area is covered with Sal trees, and in the rest of the national park, we can find Khair, Sissoo, red silk cotton trees, Bamboos, etc.

Simlipal National Park, situated in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa, covers an area of 2,750 sq km.

Simlipal is mainly known for its tigers and Asian elephants. Chausingha, an antelope from the Indian subcontinent, is also found here. Other animals include Deer, Leopard, Elephant, Bison, Bear, Langur, Otter, etc.

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