Monday, 7 March 2011

Melghat Tiger Reserve

Melghat Tiger Reserve came in to being on 22.2.1974 initially over an area of 1571.74 Sq. K.m. This was the first Tiger Reserve to be declared in the State of Maharashtra, which subsequently get expanded to 2029.04 Sq. Km. 

The Melghat nestling in the Satpuda hill ranges of Forsythls and Dunbar’s Central India with vast tracts of inviolate natural forests consisting of unique and representative ecosystems with rich Bio-diversity and varied habitats offered by deep valleys (locally known as Khoras) and high hills (locally known as Ballas), daunted with rivers and nallahs having water all the year round in the “Doh” was the natural choice for the community of foresters in Maharashtra, when it came to choose an area for preserving it for posterity and for ensuring that the ‘Tiger’ the most magnificent and royal of the wild species, could sustain a viable population and survive for the eternity. 

Location :
Situated in the Satpura hill ranges of Central India, Melghat Tiger Reserve lies in Melghat Forests of Amravati district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra bordering Madhya Pradesh in the North and East. Its area is geographically located as given below.

Melghat Tiger Reserve is a tylnical representative of Central Indian Highland forming a part of the Biogeographic Zone ‘6 E Deccan peninsula’ Central Highlands This are constitutes forest which are part of world’s fifth biologically richest heritage country. The reserve forms an important corridor between forest areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra ensuring contiguity of forests in Satpudas. It harbours a viable population of Tiger and of the endangered Gaur. It also harbor a number of other faunal species like Wild dog, Jackal,Sloth bear, Leopard, Caracal, and Ratel..

Forests Types:
The forests of Melghat Tiger Project are of deciduous nature and have been classified as “Dry decidous forests” in the Champion and Seth’s classification and fall under the sub-group 5-A southern tropical dry deciduous forests. The tract being sparsely populated, the biotic factors are less influential except fires which along with general distribution of rainfall, aspect and change in depth and nature of soil are responsible in determining the local variations within the above broad type. The geological formation and the soil largely determine the type of vegetation it is going to support. The most of the area has the soil of trap origin. These soils are rich in mineral and have a high water holding capacity. They have a high rate of exchangeable calcium and ph varing from 6.5 to 7.5 thus supporting the best form of teak. Alluvial deposits along Tapti in Rangubeli and in Dhakna supports good teak forests along with bamboos. Teak needs a good quantum of moisture to support itslong growing season. The places at ballas or on slopes, where the moisture condition deteriorates, the teak is soon replaced by Salai (Boswellia serrata) and Tiwas (Ougedinia oogeinensis ). The area is also determined as a unique blending of multiple high hills and deep valleys with terrains and vegetations changing at close internvals.

Flora :
The entire area of the Melghat Tiger Reserve is under the cover of forest. Natural grassy openings are almost nonexistent. Tectona grandis (teak) is the most dominant species. The associates of Tectona grandis differ depending upon lattitude, gradient and other physiographic feature of the habitat. However its most common associates in almost all localities are Lagerstroemia parviflora, Lannea coromandelica, Emblica officinalis, Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia, and Ougenia oojeinensis. At lower elevations other associates of teak are Boswelia serrata, Wrightia tinctoria, Cassia fistula, Miliusa tomentosa, Bauhinia raemosa, Butea monosperma etc. And in higher elevation and in more moist localities other associates are mainly Mitragyna parviflora, Adina cardifolia, Schleichera oleosa, Albizzia procera etc.

How to Reach :
Melghat, located in the Amaravati district of Maharastra, is a Tiger Reserve wildlife sanctuary. Melghat Tiger Reserve is located on the southern offshoot of the Satpura Hill Range in Central India, called Gavilgarh hill. It is 225 km west of Nagpur. It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1967, and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1974. It was among the first nine Tiger Reserves notified in 1973-74 under the 'Project Tiger', a wildlife conservation project initiated in India in 1972 to protect the Bengal Tigers.

Other Sanctuaries :

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