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LOCATION:

The Satpura hill range is one of the major geographical plateaus of India. The Dhoopgarh peak (1352 m above msl) located at Pachmarhi hill station is the highest point in the Satpura hill range. The TR consists of hill ranges, valleys, plains, deep gorges and water bodies providing a verity of habitats for different kinds of wildlife. The TR forms a junction of different forest types occurring in the State. The area is also rich in bio-cultural diversity. This TR consists of the following three units:

 

1. Bori WLS

485.72 km2

2. Satpura NP 524.37 km2
3. Pachmarhi WLS

417.78 km2

4. Total

1427.87 km2


The Tiger Reserve is located between 22 15 and 22 45 N latitudes and 77 50 and 78 30 E longitudes. Pachmarhi is an important hill station of the state and is located within the area of Pachmarhi WLS. The area is important from the stand point of bio-aesthetic, cultural and social values. The access to the area is easy, the reserve is easily approachable by road from Bhopal (210 km), Jabalpur (240 km), Chhindwara (85 km) and Nagpur (250 km). Pipariya (52 km) and Itarsi are the nearest railhead and rail junction respectively. The Pachmarhi town is accessible all the yea round, but the interior areas are approachable only during the fair weather.


Historical:

The area is known as a part of the Gondwana tract after the Gond tribe, who chiefly inhabited in this area and practiced shifting cultivation. In the fourteenth and fifteenth century, this area of Gonds was infiltrated by Rajputs and who, by the time of Mougals, had succeeded in reclaiming several parts of the Narmada valley for agriculture. The Gonds were pushed to higher plateaus and slopes to continue hunting and their shifting cultivation. This area saw unrest due to the tension between the Marathas and the Mougals during the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

During the year 1818, the area saw the advent of British rule. In the year 1861, the forest Department was set up in the central provinces under Captain GF Pearson of the Madras Army, with Captain J. Forsyth of Bengal staff Corps, as one of his assistants. In 1862, the forest Department of the central provinces started in a building named Bison Lodge in Pachmarhi. The original house no longer exists, but at the same spot, another building has been constructed, which is also called Bison lodge and has been converted into a forest museum under the Satpura NP.

Landform and water Availability:

The Satpura TR consists of areas with vast topographical variations. The general configuration of the area is hilly having undulating terrain with precipitous slopes at places. Several areas in the Pachmarhi plateau including the Mahadeo hills have deep and narrow gorges. There is a considerable altitudinal variation ranging from 320m to 1352 m above MSL. The Satpura hill ranges run east to west and the Panchmarhi plateau is in the center of the reserve. The Panchmarhi hills have steep slopes in the north and in the south. Some of the hilly areas are Jambudweep, Dhoopgarh, Handikho, Mahadeo, Chauragarh and Bee Fall. Among these, Dhoopgarh is the highest point (1352 m above MSL) in the state.

The interior of these hills consists of a series of hill ranges cut up by streams due to their fragile rocks and soils. About 60 km2 of the Panchmarhi plateau consists of deep gorges having many waterfalls, marshy places, perennial steams and hills of various elevations. In many places, even sunrays are unable to reach. The Tawa reservoir created by a dam on the Tawa river is located on the north-western side of the park. The backwater of this reservoir spreads far into the channels of the Tawa, Naini, Sonbhadra, Denwa and Wagdwari rivers providing water resources in the Bori WLS and Satpura NP.

 

Due to the Tawa reservoir, which extends over an area of 204 km, water availability is much better in Satpura NP and the western part of the Bori WLS. The availability of water is limited in the Panchmarhi plateau, forming a part of the Panchmarhi WLS. Most part of the Satpura TR exhibits a wide variety of rock and soil formations.

The Panchmarhi plateau enjoys a moderate climate during the summer, heavy rains and cloudy climate during the rainy season and cold climate during the winters. The Bori area receives about 2000 mm rain fall, while some of the plateau area receives only 1200 mm rainfall annually.

Flora:

 
Satpura TR is bestowed with biological diversity of different forest types ranging from dry thorn forest to tropical dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests. There is a considerable variation in the  vegetation due    to immense heterogeneity of soil, geology, temperature and moisture conditions. The forests may be broadly classified into (i) tropical dry deciduous (ii) tropical moist deciduous and (iii) sub-tropical forests. On the basis of composition, three major type are identified, viz teak, Sal and mixed forests.

 Teak bearing forest occur in areas having a rainfall of 1500 mm to 2000 mm particularly in central swell as south western  part of Bori WLS . These forests are in good form in Bori, Dhain, Kajiri, Churna and Rampur areas. The slopes of hills and vallys are occupied by a good  growth of bamboo as an under storey. The main species of bamboo are bans (Dendrocalamus strictus) and katang bans (Banboosa arundinacea), katang bans occurs, along streams, Dendrocalamus strictus occurs in comparatively drier areas. B. polymorpha also occurs in Bori WLS as an understorey. The other Three species occurring in these forests are saja 9Terminalia alata), tendu (Diospyrous melanoxylon), achar (Buchanani, lanzn), haldu (Adina cordifolia), bija (pterocarpus marsumpium), mahua (Madhuca latifolia), kusum (Schleichera oleosa), lendia (lagerstromia parviflora), pula (kydia calycina), jamun (syzygium cumini) and tinsa (Ougeinia oojeinensis). A large number of shrubs and herbs occupy the understory, many of them are of high medicinal value. Some important grasses and edges include Apluda varia, Eragrostis viscos, cyperusiria, Themeda quadrivalvis, Heteropogon contortus, Dicanthium annulatum etc.

 Dry teak forests are localized in part of Panchmarhi WLS. These forests are associated with dhawara  (Anogenissus latifolia), tedu (Diospytos melanoxylon), amaltas (Cassia fistula), faldu (Mytragyana parvifolia), and salai (Boswelia serrata). In the lower canopy , species like , Nyctanthus arbortristis, woodforida fruiticosa , Helectris isora, Grewia hirsute, Indigofera pulchella, Carissa spinarum and Holarrheba antidysenterica predominate.

 Sal (Shorea robusta) forests also occur in Pachmarhi plateau. The associate of sal forest are almost the same as described in teak forests. The occurrence of sal is ecologically an important feature of this TR. Pure forests of anjan (Hardwickia binata) and bhirra (Chloroxylon sweitenia) occure in some pockets of plateau. These forests contain Syzygium cumini, Cassia fistula, Terminlia alata, Anogeissus latifolla, Eliodendrum glaucum, Cosearia tomentosa, atrema Orientalis, Bombax, ceiba, Kydia cylicina etc

 A part of Panchmarhi plateau consists of  deep gorges with perennial streams, which provid a environment for the luxuriant growth of several moisture loving plants like ferns, orchids, bryophytes, algae and several herbs having  immense ecological and economical value. These areas are considered as gene bank of rare and endangered species. Over 48 species of fern and several species of fern allies are found in these areas. Important ferns occurring inthese areas include Psilotum triquetra, Isoetes panchanaii, selaginlla exigual  Cythea gigantia, Polybotrya etc. Marsilia quadrifolia,  water fern grows in Panarpanivalley, Bee fall, Kajri and Nagdwari. Drosera an insectivorous species occurs in many damp places.

 Fauna: 

 Satpura Tiger Reserve is  traditionally rich area in wildlife. Upto about 19th century, the area hea had a rich population of major animals like panthers, tiger, elephants, bison, wild buffaloes and barasingha. But fast deterioration of wildlife habitat led to the disappearance of many of these species, most of the areas of Satpura Tiger Reserve are covered with dense forests. However, there are several open patches and grasslands providing Ideal habitat for the wild animals.

 Tiger, the main species is found in the Tiger Reserve in good numbers but remains confined in good forest areas. Panthers are found all over the reserve. Gaurs the largest herbivore, are in large number but are largely localized in moist and semi-moist forests of Bori WLS and Satpura NP.Sambar, Chital, barking deer, chin Kara and mouse deer are distributed all over the reserve. Chausingha or four horned antelope and nilgai are found throughout the area. However, the sighting of barking deer and four horned antelope are not common. Nilgai are found concentrated in drier parts of the Reserve. Sloth bear is also frequently seen in forests rich in fruit trees particularly mahua, tendu and achar. These animals are more frequently seen in Sonbhadravalley. Langurs are common throughout the Reserve. Rhesus monkeys are localized at Pachmarhi particularly close to habitation. Wild dog or  dhole and wolf are also found in the  Reserve. Civet, common fox, jackal and jungle cat are found throughout the Reserve. Wild boars are seen in plenty throughout the Reserve. Giant squirrels and flying squirrels are also seen in the Reserve. Giant squirrels are found all along the nala and rivers around Pachmarhi, Bori, Dhain and Churna. Among reptiles, cobra, Russel viper, python, chameleon and common Indian monitor are found in large numbers throughout the Park. Crocodiles are also found  in water bodies of the Reserve.

 Water bodies of the Reserve are rich in fish fauna, The fish fauna include Notopterus notopterous, Catla catla, labeo rohita, L. rohita, Cirrhnus mrigala, C. reba, Rita rita, and several others. There are other amphibia like frogs, toads, etc. Which have not been properly studied 

The avi-fauna of the Reserve have not been systematically studied. A large number of birds are found in the area. Some common species include jungle fowls, quails, partridges, pigeons, doves, parakeets, bee eaters, king fishers, wood peakers, owls, warblers myna, munia, bulbull, paradise fly catcher, sparrows, egrets, vultures, falcon, eagle and several others. The Reserve is an ideal place for the bird watchers. Several water birds are also seen in water bodies of the Reserve. A large verity of butterflies, moths and other insects are seen in the TR.

Wild Population:

Regular estimation of wildlife is being carried out since 1982. The estimated population of several wildlife species is given in the table below.

S.no.

Species

1982

1984

1986

1988

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2002

1.

Tiger

41

25

29

42

49

41

30

31

31

35

2.

Panther

60

48

54

64

67

67

39

48

45

52

3.

Chital

757

531

614

988

1027

758

929

1134

1417

1452

4.

Sambar

1835

1559

1949

1587

1617

1878

1920

1852

1949

1901

5.

Nilgai

406

106

312

398

445

205

269

236

371

358

6.

Chausingha

74

304

311

305

158

125

705

882

133

135

7.

Chin Kara

136

142

145

113

454

31

73

67

-

45

8.

Black buck

8

22

35

223

405

2

3

-

28

62

9.

Barking deer

992

528

701

1009

1282

924

498

-

-

780

10.

Gaur

1233

1035

1124

1319

1172

1220

1281

1178

1526

1563

11.

Wild bear

6701

2876

3587

4651

4302

2414

2832

3162

-

4820

12.

Bear

393

178

157

201

152

82

99

-

-

182

13.

Wild dog

2066

228

165

164

88

47

102

73

-

78

14.

Langur

-

-

-

-

-

4801

6255

6200

5822

6100

15.

Crocodile

-

-

-

-

-

-

10

15

20

18


Wildlife Viewing:

Important areas for wildlife viewing are Madai, Churna, Bori, Dhai, Paraspani etc. These places are rich in biodiversity and wildlife. There is a large number of rare and endemic floral species in the reserve. Wild animals like chital, sambar, blackbuck, nilgai, gaur etc. can be seen in large numbers in the Reserve. The sighting of tiger and panther are not certain but with the improvement in the herbivore population gradually, the sighting of tiger will improve.

Places of Interest:

A large number of tourists visit the reserve. These include religious tourists, picnickers, students and wild life lovers. These are several important places in the reserve from tourist point of view:

Jata Shankar:


The place is close to panchmari. There is Lord Shiva Temple inside the cave. The place remains quite cold during the summer. A large number of tourists / picnickers visit this place.

 

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