Forest of Chhattisgarh
Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh is known for its lush green forests, which are home to various indigenous tribal communities.
Indravati National Park is in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh and is one of the most famous national parks in the state.
It is a part of the larger Indravati Tiger Reserve and is home to various species of flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, and various species of deer.
Kanger Valley National Park, in the Bastar region, is known for its unique limestone caves, dense forests, and pristine rivers.
It offers excellent opportunities for nature enthusiasts, including trekking, wildlife spotting, and cave exploration.
Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Mungeli district and is another important protected area in Chhattisgarh.
Guru Ghasidas National Park, in the Koriya district, is named after Guru Ghasidas, a saint and social reformer.
Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Dhamtari district, is known for its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity.
Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, near Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, is for its tiger conservation efforts.
It is also home to leopards, sloth bears, and various species of deer.
Semarsot Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Balod district, is known for its pristine forests and rich wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and various bird species.
Recorded Forest Areas, Protected Areas, and Forest Covers of Chhattisgarh
Recorded Forest Area of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is known for its substantial forested area, and it has a significant recorded forest area. A recorded forest area includes various categories, such as reserved forests, protected forests, and unclassed forests.
Chhattisgarh’s forest area includes a mix of deciduous and tropical forests, and it is an essential part of the state’s natural heritage.
Protected Areas in Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is home to several protected areas, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Some of the notable protected areas in Chhattisgarh include:
- Indravati National Park: It is in Bijapur district, it is one of the key protected areas in the state, known for its diverse flora and fauna, including tigers and various species of deer.
- Kanger Valley National Park: Situated in the Bastar district, this park is known for its limestone caves, dense forests, and unique biodiversity.
- Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Mungeli district, it is an important sanctuary with diverse wildlife, including tigers and leopards.
- Guru Ghasidas National Park: Found in the Koriya district, it is known for its wildlife and lush greenery.
- Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary: Located near Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, this sanctuary is known for its tiger conservation efforts.
- Semarsot Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in Balod district, it’s known for its pristine forests and diverse wildlife.
Forest Cover in Chhattisgarh
The forest cover in Chhattisgarh includes both dense and open forest areas. It provides habitat to a wide range of wildlife species. The specific forest cover statistics may vary over time due to changes in land use, afforestation, and deforestation, but in 2021, Chhattisgarh had a substantial forest cover.
Please check with the Forest Department of Chhattisgarh or relevant government agencies for the most current and detailed data on the recorded forest area, protected areas, and forest cover in the state.
KEY ISSUES of Forest of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh, like many other regions with extensive forest cover, faces several key issues related to its forests and natural resources. These issues have environmental, social, and economic implications. Some of the key issues of Chhattisgarh’s forests include:
Deforestation and Forest Degradation
Deforestation, often driven by factors like logging, mining, agriculture expansion, and infrastructure development, is a significant concern in Chhattisgarh. This results in the loss of valuable forest cover and its associated biodiversity.
Illegal Logging and Poaching
Illegal logging for timber and poaching of wildlife, including endangered species, are ongoing problems in Chhattisgarh. These activities threaten the state’s forests and its unique flora and fauna.
Forest fires can have devastating impacts on Chhattisgarh’s forests, particularly during the dry seasons. They often destroy large areas of forest and wildlife habitats.
The fragmentation of forests due to infrastructure development and agriculture can disrupt ecosystems and lead to the isolation of wildlife populations, making them more vulnerable to extinction.
Chhattisgarh’s forests are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. The loss of forests and habitat degradation can lead to a decline in biodiversity and pose a threat to endangered and endemic species.
Land Conflicts and Displacement
Development projects, such as mining and infrastructure development, can lead to land conflicts and the displacement of indigenous and tribal communities who depend on the forests for their livelihoods.
Forest Resource Management
Sustainable forest resource management is crucial for maintaining ecological balance. Balancing the needs of local communities, industries, and conservation is a complex issue.
Climate change affects Chhattisgarh’s forests by altering temperature and precipitation patterns. This can lead to shifts in the distribution of plant and animal species and affect forest health.
Effective watershed management is essential for maintaining water resources and forest health. Deforestation can disrupt natural water flows and lead to soil erosion and decreased water quality.
Forest and Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Chhattisgarh faces the challenge of adequately conserving its forests and wildlife. Implementing conservation policies and managing protected areas effectively is critical for the state’s biodiversity.
Forest Governance and Law Enforcement
Effective forest governance and law enforcement are vital for addressing issues like illegal logging and poaching. Strengthening these aspects can help protect Chhattisgarh’s forests.
Encouraging the active participation of local communities, especially indigenous and tribal groups, in forest management and conservation efforts is crucial for sustainable and inclusive forest management.
Addressing these issues requires a combination of government policies, community involvement, sustainable land use practices, and efforts to balance development with conservation to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of Chhattisgarh’s forests.
Initiatives taken for Forest of Chhattisgarh
The State Forest Department has undertaken various initiatives.
such as developing working plans, fully digitizing, and GIS mapping all forest areas/divisions in the State.
So, this is a commendable achievement.
The department is also actively participating in multiple ongoing programs and projects, which include but are not limited to:
Green India Mission
The Green India Mission has several objectives.
As, well as improving the quality of forest cover, and increasing forest and tree cover.
Also enhancing ecosystem services, increasing forest-based livelihood income, and enhancing annual carbon sequestration.
The mission follows a bottom-up participatory approach.
Where Gram Sabha/Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) are crucial in planning, decision-making, and implementation.
The participation of locally educated youth is also emphasized.
The state has taken a landscape-based approach with 11 landscapes identified in Chhattisgarh.
However, classified into three agro-climatic zones.
Preparatory activities, such as awareness and outreach campaigns, communication, micro-plans, landscape surveys, detailed mapping, and nursery development are already underway.
Sustainable livelihoods through JFM and NTFPs
There is an active and ongoing program that has established 7887 Forest Management Committees.
Which covers over 33,190 square kilometers, with more than 27.63 lakh members from forest/forest fringe dwelling communities.
A network of people’s protected areas has been established to promote sustainable livelihoods, including health coverage.
These initiatives have yielded excellent results, such as:
– The establishment of a three-tier cooperative structure, which has decentralized the decision-making process.
– A visible attitudinal change towards collaboration with people amongst all layers of forest administration.
– The development of exemplary institutions, such as JFM societies, Primary coops, and women self-help groups.
– Wide coverage of cooperatives, which are spread over 2 million NTFP gatherers.
– An effective legal framework for Nationalized NTFP trade.
– The appointment of the Minor Forest Produce Federation as the sole agent for trading and development of nationalized NTFP. A profit-sharing mechanism has been implemented.
The state has also decided to distribute 100% of the profit from tendu leaves trade (amounting to nearly 150 crores annually) as follows
– 80% to collectors, 5% for temporary reimbursement of losses of societies, and 5% for infrastructure development.
– A huge network of godowns for NTFP storage, with a storage capacity of 2.80 lakh metric tons spread throughout the interior parts of the state.
Overall, these initiatives have brought about positive changes in forest management, with the involvement of local communities and the establishment of sustainable livelihoods being key factors in their success.
State Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan aims to achieve various holistic objectives. These include enhancing the productivity of small and marginal agricultural lands to ensure food security by conserving local agro-germplasm and propagating it using locally available biotechnology knowledge, with a special emphasis on paddy.
In addition, the plan focuses on conserving herbal plants that have medicinal value to ensure livelihood security for the tribals of the state. It also aims to utilize and conserve the vast potential of non-timber forest products through participatory mechanisms, as well as improving the productivity of the state’s 40% degraded forests through people’s participation and sustainable harvesting.
The plan also aims to conserve and develop existing groundwater resources in the state, maintain an equilibrium between biodiversity conservation and mining-based industries through the introduction of eco-friendly and green technologies, promote scientifically-based eco-tourism products and activities, and prevent annual temporary migration of the local populace.
Finally, the plan strives to conserve traditional and religious beliefs of tribals that are concordant with biodiversity conservation and to create a mechanism to float a package of justified sustainable use of customary practices for their livelihood security.
Lac Development Programme
To develop the cultivation, processing, and marketing of lac, and construct culverts on 30000 km of forest paths to facilitate movement for forest dwellers and transportation.
Supply/distribution of seedlings
In order to create an interest among people and encourage the greening of/ afforestation in non-forest areas, saplings are given at concessional rates through this program, which is operational in all the districts of the state;
Hariyali Prasar Yojana
to encourage agro-forestry/ farm forestry the scheme targets scheduled castes and tribes and small farmers of other communities to raise plantations on their uncultivated lands of their preferred species;
River bank plantation program
riverbank plantations have been taken up to control soil erosion and there problems;
Regeneration of degraded bamboo forests
Clearing dead, damaged, and entangled bamboo shoots, doing the necessary ground clearance and soil culture and mounding the rhizomes. These operations help in the regeneration of the clumps and growth of strong shoots and increase the productivity of the bamboo forests.
Ground Water Conservation
The program has also as its objective the increase in groundwater levels, plantations on barren lands – for soil conservation and flood control; and
Plantation along highways, district, and rural roads
to increase green cover.
In addition to the work being done by the Forest Department, there are also various other initiatives underway in the forestry sector.
These initiatives are by different agencies and are linked or complementary to the work being done by the Forest Department.
For instance, the Chhattisgarh State Forest Development Corporation (CSFDC) is working towards regenerating degraded bamboo forests, while the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) and the Chhattisgarh State Medicinal Plants Board (CSMPB) are focusing on cultivating medicinal plants. These boards are also involved in protecting, promoting, and sustainably extracting, processing, and marketing medicinal plants. Additionally, they coordinate with various departments and institutions.
Private sector participation (PSP) in the forestry sector has also been encouraged by the state. During the Chhattisgarh Global Investor’s Meet 2012, 18 MoUs were signed between investors and the Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Federation (CGMFPF). These MoUs, worth a total of 894.50 crores, covered diverse projects such as bamboo flooring and fibre units, biogas, bio-briquettes, herbal extracts and processing, tamarind processing, dry flower products, etc. These projects have the potential to create significant employment and livelihoods for forest-dependent and fringe communities.
PRIORITIES for Forest of Chhattisgarh
Protecting Forests and Restoring Forest Quality
Forests in Chhattisgarh, India are an essential natural resource that not only holds great environmental importance .
but also support a significant population that lives near them.
It is crucial to preserve this delicate forest-tribal interface for a variety of reasons, including ecological, social, cultural, and economic.
The state’s forest cover spans 59,772 square kilometers (sq. km), with 29 percent of it being dense and very dense tropical deciduous forests, while 12.5 percent comprises open forests and scrubs.
Although the overall forest cover has remained more or less stable over the last decade, its quality has deteriorated.
Recent satellite images show that dense and very dense forests have decreased by about 192 sq km, while open and non-forested areas have increased during the period of 2004-09. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the state’s forests are outside the protected area network of its three national parks and eleven wildlife sanctuaries. As stated in the 12th Plan Approach Paper, the state requires additional resources to maintain and conserve these forests for their ecological importance and to sustain their productivity. The state plans to enhance forest governance and bring the remaining 42 percent of its forests under the management of Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs).
Mining in forested areas
Mining in forested areas, in addition to weak monitoring, has contributed to the loss of forest cover and gradual degradation of surrounding flora and fauna. Around 28 percent of forests, covering 16,700 sq km, have been degraded and require immediate revitalization. The emphasis will be on halting further degradation and improving the quality of plantations with community participation. New plantations will be established, taking into consideration the nistar (usufruct) needs of neighboring populations to compensate for the loss due to land diversion and mining. Incentives will be provided for agroforestry, and funds from Carbon Trade will be employed to better maintain the forests.
Biodiversity plays a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance and Chhattisgarh is home to several endangered and vulnerable species. To improve natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and protect critical tiger-elephant corridors, the capacities of PRIs, JFMCs, and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) will be strengthened. The effective implementation of the State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is a top priority.
Currently, there is no comprehensive analysis available on the possible impacts of climate change on forests and the forestry sector in Chhattisgarh, and anecdotal references to impacts from farmers are not systematically documented. However, it is clear that climate change can pose serious threats to existing forests in Chhattisgarh. Short-term or long-term fluctuations in climate can have a significant impact on forest productivity and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. Increased climatic variability, prolonged droughts, and higher temperatures can lead to forest degradation and a rise in fire incidence.
Furthermore, climate change can affect the growth and development of wild plants, and the hibernation, migration, and breeding patterns of wildlife in mountain regions. It can also alter the synchronous relationships between predators and prey, and between insects and plants. Existing weeds may proliferate, new phenotypes may evolve, and novel species associations may form.her ecological surprises.
In the short term, the focus will be on Forest of Chhattisgarh
Several research studies will be there to determine vulnerability and potential as criteria for intervention, as well as intervention priorities and selection of project areas, sub-landscapes, and sub-watersheds.
These studies will also be used to formulate strategies.
Climate change-related sensitization, awareness generation, and capacity building will be carried out for Forest Department Staff .and allied forestry institutions, including CSFDC, CSMPB, JFMCs, etc.
These activities are to support adaptive forest management and livelihood programs, such as NTFP enterprises.
Institutional arrangements and mechanisms for decentralized forest governance will be developed or refined.
and the resilience of forest-dependent/fringe communities will be through micro-planning and landscape approach/management.
The State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan will be implemented, including documentation and dissemination of the State’s biodiversity resources.
The State’s protected area network will also be intensified and facilities and management infrastructure improved.
A strategy will also be developed and initiated to protect and preserve the State’s wetlands based on prioritization of wetlands of high ecosystem value or those under high risk.
The State’s policies and initiatives for eco-tourism (especially in protected and other wilderness areas) and bio-cultural tourism will be reviewed critically, and plans, programs, and activities will be refined accordingly.