Maharashtra's western ghat is a land of eco-diversity. The state is known for dissimilar climatic conditions and dynamic topographic. It's rich flora and fauna perfectly reflects the diversity of climate and the geography. The topography of the region varies from arid desert and tropical rain forest to mountain range over 4000 feet in altitude.
With changing circumstances the ecosystem of Maharashtra's Western Ghats face a threat from growing population and unabated development measures. Recent time has seen a major increase in open forest due to the degradation of dense forest. This increasing trend has been perpetually affecting the forests in a negative way for the past 25 years.
Today, recorded forests cover approximately one fifth of Maharashtra's geographical area. This is about 20.1%. In 2009, India State of Forest Report stated, Maharashtra's recorded forest area is 61,939 km2. Of which, 79.47% constitute reserved forests while protected forest's make up13.23%. Unclassed Forests comprise 7.30 % of the total forest area. Trees cover an area of about 9,466 km2 which is 3.08%.
Forests Types in Maharashtra:
Extremely dense forests cover an area of 8,739 km2.
Area covered by different forests types:
- Maharashtra's Forest Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forest covers 7.73%.
- Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest covers 29.84%.
- Littoral and Swamp Forest covers 0.08%
- Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest covers 57.41%
- Tropical Thorn Forest covers 1.02%
- Subtropical Broadleaved Hill Forest covers 1.54%
Maharashtra's forests are a house to tigers, panthers, bison, deer and antelopes, wild boars, bears, blue bull, great Indian bustards. Herein is a list of Maharashtra's wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and project tiger reserves:
- Navegaon National Park near Gondia.
- Nagzira wildlife sanctuary in Tirora Range.
- Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project in Vidarbha.
- Pench National Park, in Nagpur district.
- Chandoli National Park in Sangli district.
- Gugamal National Park, also called Melghat Tiger Reserve in Amravati district.
- World's largest national park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, also known as Borivali National Park in Mumbai.
- Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, located 30km from Sangli.
Forests in Maharashtra are a source of major products like timber, firewood. They even offer minor products like bamboo, Tendu leaves, gum etc. Maharashtra's forest production greatly contributes to the state's revenue. On a larger note, the forests are of great value to the countries GDP. Most importantly, these forests help in providing source of income to the localities.
Last Updated on : 09 September 2011