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