Distribution of medium, large and total reservoirs in India
|Number||Area (ha)||Number||Area (ha)||Number||Area (ha)|
|State||Name of River||Name of Dam|
|Andhra Pradesh||Godavari||Sriram Sagar dam|
|Kaddam (tributary ofGodavari)||Kaddam dam|
|Krishna||Nagarjuna Sagar dam|
|Krishna||Srisailam hydroelectric project|
|Damodar||Panchet hill dam|
|Machhundri||Machhundri irrigation scheme|
|Raval||Raval irrigation scheme|
|Shetrunji||Shetrunji irrigation scheme|
|HimachalPradesh||Beas||Beas dam at Pong|
|Karnataka||Arkavally and Kumudwathy||Chamarajasagar dam|
|Main Cauvery||Krishnarajasagar dam|
|Malaprabha||Indira Gandhi dam|
|Vedavati||Vani Vilasa Sagar dam|
|Madhya Pradesh||Barna||Barna dam|
|Chambal||Gandhi Sagar dam|
|Mahanadi||Mahanadi reservoir project|
|Maharashtra||Ambi||Tanaji Sagar dam|
|Boladwadi Stream||Kolkewadi dam|
|Orissa||Kolab||Upper Kolab dam|
|Rajasthan||Chambal||Jawahar Sagar dam|
|Chambal||Rana Pratap Sagar dam|
|Tamil Nadu||Aliyar||Upper Aliyar dam|
|Avalanche Stream||Avalanche dam|
|Bhavani||Lower Bhavani dam|
|Bhavani||Upper Bhavani dam|
|Cauvery||Mettur (Stanley) dam|
|Kodayar||Kodayar dam I|
|Kodayar||Kodayar dam II|
|Nirar||Lower Nirar dam|
|Palar-Porandalar||Palar Porandalar dam|
|Parson’s Valley Stream||Parson’s valley dam|
|Porthimund Stream||Porthimund dam|
|Sandy Nullah Stream||Sandy Nullah dam|
|Tributary of Karampuzha||Western catchment no.2 dam|
|Varahapallam West||West Varahapallam dam|
|Uttaranchal||Bhagirathi||Maneri Bhali hydroelectric project (stage 1)|
|Uttar Pradesh||Rihand||Obra dam|
|West Bengal||Kangsabati and Kumari||Kangsabati-Kumari dam|
TOP DAMS OF INDIA –
1.The Tehri Dam is a multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River near Tehri in Uttarakhand, India. It is the primary dam of the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd. and the Tehri hydroelectric complex. The dam is a 260 metres (850 ft) high rock and earth-fill embankment dam. Its length is 575 metres (1,886 ft), crest width 20 metres (66 ft), and base width 1,128 metres (3,701 ft)
2.Kerala Government has long been demanding construction of a new dam in Mullaperiyar on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Many believe that the existing 116-year-old dam could pose safety hazard.
While the matter rests with the apex court, we look at some of India’s biggest and most famous dams, hailed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as ‘The Temples of a Resurgent India’.
3.Bhakra Dam is a concrete gravity dam across the Sutlej River, and is near the border between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in northern India. The dam, located at a gorge near the (now submerged) upstream Bhakra village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, is Asia’s second highest at 225.55 m (740 ft) high next to the 261m Tehri Dam. The length of the dam (measured from the road above it) is 518.25 m; it is 9.1 m broad. Its reservoir, known as the “Gobind Sagar”, stores up to 9.34 billion cubic meters of water, enough to drain the whole of Chandigarh, parts of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.The 90 km long reservoir created by the Bhakra Dam is spread over an area of 168.35 km2. In terms of storage of water, it withholds the second largest reservoir in India, the first being Indira Sagar dam in Madhya Pradesh with capacity of 12.22 billion cu m.Nangal dam is another dam downstream of Bhakra dam.
4.Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in the state of Orissa in India. Built in 1957, the dam is one of the world’s longest earthen dam. Hirakud Dam is the longest man-made dam in the world, about 16 mi (26 km) in length. It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley project started after India’s independence.
5.Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the world’s largest masonry dam built across Krishna River in Nagarjuna Sagar, Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh, India, between 1955 and 1967. The dam contains the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir with a capacity of up to 11,472 million cubic metres. The dam is 490 ft (150 m). tall and 1.6 km long with 26 gates which are 42 ft (13 m). wide and 45 ft (14 m). tall. Nagarjuna Sagar was the earliest in the series of large infrastructure projects initiated for the Green Revolution in India; it also is one of the earliest multi-purpose irrigation and hydro-electric projects in India.
6.The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada River near Navagam, Gujarat, India. It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada River. The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity. It is the 30th largest dams planned on river Narmada, Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) is the largest structure to be built. It has a proposed final height of 163 m (535 ft) from foundation. The dam is one of India’s most controversial dam projects and its environmental impact and net costs and benefits are widely debated. The World Bank was initially a funder of the SSD, but withdrew in 1994. The Narmada Dam has been the centre of controversy and protest since the late 1980s.
7.The Indirasagar Dam is a multipurpose key project of Madhya Pradesh on the Narmada River at Narmadanagar in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh in India. The Project envisages construction of a 92 m high and 653 m long concrete gravity dam. It provides Irrigation in 1,230 square kilometres of land with annual production of 2700 million units in the districts of Khandwa and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and power generation of 1000 MW installed capacity (8×125). The reservoir of 12,200,000,000 m3 (9,890,701 acre•ft) was created.
8.Tungabadra dam, Hospet, Karnataka stand at 8th position.
9.The Bhavanisagar Dam and Reservoir, also called Lower Bhavani Dam, is located on the Bhavani River between Mettupalayam and Sathyamangalam in Erode District, Tamil Nadu, South India. The dam is situated around 16 km (9.9 mi) west to Satyamangalam and 35 km (22 mi) from Gobichettipalayam, 36 km (22 mi) north-east to Mettuppalayam and 70 km (43 mi) from Erode and 75 km (47 mi) from Coimbatore.
The dam is considered to be among the biggest earthen dams in the country. Bhavani Sagar dam is constructed on Bhavani River, which is merely under the union of Moyar River. The dam is used to divert water to the Lower Bhavani Project Canal.
10.The Koyna Hydroelectric Project is the largest completed hydroelectric power plant of India It is a complex project consisting of total four dams with the largest Dam built on Koyna River known as Koyna Dam hence the name Koyna Hydroelectric project. The total Installed capacity of the project is 1,920 MW. The project consists of 4 stages of power generation. Due to the project’s electricity generating potential the Koyna River is considered as the life line of Maharashtra.
11.The Idukki Dam, located in Kerala, India, is a 168.91 m (554 ft) tall arch dam. The dam stands between the two mountains – Kuravanmala (839) m and Kurathimala (925)m. It was constructed and is owned by the Kerala State Electricity Board. It supports a 780 MW hydroelectric power station.
It is built on the Periyar River, in the ravine between the Kuravan and Kurathi Hills in Kerala, India. At 167.68 metres, it is one of the highest arch dams in Asia and third tallest dam in India.
12.Krishna Raja Sagara, also popularly known as KRS, is the name of both a lake and the dam that causes it.Sir. Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya served as the chief engineer during the construction of this dam. The dam is named for the then ruler of the Mysore Kingdom, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
13.The Mettur Dam is a large dam in India built in 1934. It was constructed in a gorge, where the Kaveri River enters the plains. The dam is one of the oldest in India. The total length of the dam is 1,700 m (5,600 ft).
14.The Srisailam Dam is a dam constructed across the Krishna River at Srisailam in the Kurnool district in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India and is the second largest capacity hydroelectric project in the country. The dam was constructed in a deep gorge in the Nallamala Hills, 300 m (980 ft) above sea level. It is 512 m (1,680 ft) long, 145 m (476 ft) high and has 12 radial crest gates. It has a reservoir of 800 km2 (310 sq mi).
15.The Banasura Sagar Dam is located 21 km from Kalpetta, in Wayanad District of Kerala in the Western Ghats. It is the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia.
RIVERS OF INDIA
|Name||Length (km)||Area||Originates From||Ends in||Places Benifited|
|Indus||3100||3,21,290 Sq.Km.||In Tibet Kalish Range 5080 mts.||Arabian sea||India and Pakistan|
|Ganga (Bhagirati)||2480||3,37,00 Sq.Km.||Gangothri||Bay of Bengal||Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal|
|Godavari||1465||3,12,812 Sq.Km.||Nasik Hills||Bay of Bengal||South-easterly part of Andhra Pradesh|
|Krishna||1400||2,59,000 Sq.Km.||Near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra||Bay of Bengal||Maharastra & Andhrapradesh|
|Yamuna (Jamuna)||1370||3,59,000 Sq.Km.||Garhwall in Yamunotri||Bay of Bengal||Delhi, Haryana and UP|
|Narmada||1312||98,796 Sq.Km.||Amarkantak hill in Madhya Pradesh||Arabian sea||Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra|
|Mahanadi||858||1,41,600 Sq.Km.||Amarkantak Plateau||Bay of Bengal||Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa|
|Kaveri (Dakshina Ganga” or Ganges of the south)||805||87,900 Sq.Km.||Hills of Coorg, Karnataka||Bay of Bengal||Karnataka and Tamilnadu|
|Brahmaputra||725||2,40,000 Sq.Km.||Lake Manasarovar||Bay of Bengal||North Eastern state|
|Tapti||724||65,145 Sq.Km.||Bettul||Arabian sea||Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra|
|The rivers of India play an important role in the lives of the Indian people. The river systems provide irrigation, potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, as well as provide livelihoods for a large number of people all over the country. This easily explains why nearly all the major cities of India are located by the banks of river. The rivers also have an important role in Hindu mythology and are considered holy by all Hindus in the country.
Seven major rivers (Indus, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Krishna and Mahanadi)along with their numerous tributaries make up the river system of India. Most of the rivers pour their waters into the Bay of Bengal. Some of the rivers whose courses take them through the western part of the country and towards the east of the state of Himachal Pradesh empty into the Arabian Sea. Parts of Ladakh, northern parts of the Aravalli range and the arid parts of the Thar Desert have inland drainage. All major rivers of India originate from one of the three main watersheds.
The rivers of India can be classified on the basis of origin and on the type of basin that they form.
On the basis of origin :
The main Himalayan river systems are the Ganga, the Indus and the Brahmaputra river systems. The Himalayan rivers form large basins. Many rivers pass through the Himalayas. These deep valleys with steep rock sides were formed by the down – cutting of the river during the period of the Himalayan uplift. They perform intense erosional activity up the streams and carry huge load of sand and silt. In the plains, they form large meanders, and a variety of depositional features like flood plains, river cliffs and levees.
These rivers are perennial as they get water from the rainfall as well as the melting of ice. Nearly all of them create huge plains and are navigable over long distances of their course. These rivers are also harnessed in their upstream catchment area to generate hydroelectricity.
The main peninsular river systems include the Narmada, the Tapi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri and the Mahanadi river systems. The Peninsular rivers flow through shallow valleys. A large number of them are seasonal as their flow is dependent on rainfall. The intensity of erosional activities is also comparatively low because of the gentler slope. The hard rock bed and lack of silt and sand does not allow any significant meandering. Many rivers therefore have straight and linear courses. These rivers provide huge opportunities for hydro-electric power.
The Indus River System
The Indus originates in the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Manasarovar. It follows a north-westerly course through Tibet. It enters Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir.
It forms a picturesque gorge in this part. Several tributaries – the Zaskar, the Shyok, the Nubra and the Hunza join it in the Kashmir region. It flows through the regions of Ladakh, Baltistan and Gilgit and runs between the Ladakh Range and the Zaskar Range. It crosses the Himalayas through a 5181 m deep gorge near Attock, lying north of the Nanga Parbat and later takes a bend to the south west direction before entering Pakistan. It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of about 2897 km from the source to the point near Karachi where it falls into the Arabian Sea. The main tributaries of the Indus in India are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
The Jhelum originates in the south-eastern part of Kashmir, in a spring at Verinag. It flows into the Wular Lake, which lies to the north, and then into Baramula. Between Baramula and Muzaffarabad it enters a deep gorge cut by the river in the Pir Panjal range. It has a right bank tributary the Kishanganga which joins it at Muzaffarabad. It follows the Indo-Pakistan border flowing into the plains of Punjab, finally joining the Chenab at Trimmu.
The Chenab originates from the confluence of two rivers, the Chandra and the Bhaga, which themselves originate from either side of the Bara Lacha Pass in Lahul. It is also known as the Chandrabhaga in Himachal Pradesh. It runs parallel to the Pir Panjal Range in the north-westerly direction, and cuts through the range near Kishtwar. It enters the plains of Punjab near Akhnur and is later joined by the Jhelum. It is further joined by the Ravi and the Sutlej in Pakistan.
The Ravi originates near the Rotang pass in the Kangra Himalayas and follows a north-westerly course. It turns to the south-west, near Dalhousie, and then cuts a gorge in the Dhaola Dhar range entering the Punjab plain near Madhopur. It flows as a part of the Indo-Pakistan border for some distance before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab river. The total length of the river is about 720 km.
The Beas originates in Beas Kund, lying near the Rohtang pass. It runs past Manali and Kulu, where its beautiful valley is known as the Kulu valley. It first follows a north-west path from the town of Mandi and later a westerly path, before entering the Punjab plains near Mirthal. It joins the Sutlej river near Harika, after being joined by a few tributaries. The total length of the river is 615 km.
The Sutlej originates from the Rakas Lake, which is connected to the Manasarovar lake by a stream, in Tibet. Its flows in a north-westerly direction and enters Himachal Pradesh at the Shipki Pass, where it is joined by the Spiti river. It cuts deep gorges in the ranges of the Himalayas, and finally enters the Punjab plain after cutting a gorge in a hill range, the Naina Devi Dhar, where the Bhakra Dam having a large reservoir of water, called the Gobind Sagar, has been constructed. It turns west below Rupar and is later joined by the Beas. It enters Pakistan near Sulemanki, and is later joined by the Chenab. It has a total length of almost 1500 km.
The Brahmaputra River System
The Brahmaputra originates in the Mansarovar lake, also the source of the Indus and the Satluj. It is slightly longer than the Indus, but most of its course lies outside India. It flows eastward, parallel to the Himalayas. Reaching Namcha Barwa (7757 m), it takes a U-turn around it and enters India in Arunachal Pradesh and known as dihang. The undercutting done by this river is of the order of 5500 metres. In India, it flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, and is joined by several tributaries.
In Tibet, the river is known as the Tsangpo. There, it receives less volume of water and has less silt. But in India, it passes through a region of heavy rainfall and as such, the river carries a large amount of rainfall and considerable amount of silt. The Brahmaputra has a braided channel throughout most of its length in Assam, with a few large islands within the channel.
The shifting of the channels of the river is also very common. The fury of the river during rains is very high. It is known for creating havoc in Assam and Bangladesh. At the same time, quite a few big pockets suffer from drought.
The Narmada River System
The Narmada or Nerbudda is a river in central India. It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India, and is a total of 1,289 km (801 mi) long. Of the major rivers of peninsular India, only the Narmada, the Tapti and the Mahi run from east to west. It rises on the summit of Amarkantak Hill in Madhya Pradesh state, and for the first 320 kilometres (200 miles) of its course winds among the Mandla Hills, which form the head of the Satpura Range; then at Jabalpur, passing through the ‘Marble Rocks’, it enters the Narmada Valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, and pursues a direct westerly course to the Gulf of Cambay. Its total length through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat amounts to 1312 kilometres (815 miles), and it empties into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat.
The Tapi River System
The Tapi is a river of central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with the length of around 724 km, and only the Tapi River along with the Narmada river, and the Mahi River run from east to west. It rises in the eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state, and flows westward, draining Madhya Pradesh’s historic Nimar region, Maharashtra’s historic Khandesh and east Vidarbha regions in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau and South Gujarat before emptying into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea, in the State of Gujarat. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri range starts south of the Tapti River near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The Tapi River Basin lies mostly in northern and eastern districts Maharashtra state viz, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar, Malegaon, Nashik districts but also covers Betul, Burhanpur districts of Madhya Pradesh and Surat district in Gujarat as well.
The principal tributaries of Tapi River are Purna River, Girna River, Panzara River, Waghur River, Bori River and Aner River.
The Godavari River System
The river with second longest course within India, Godavari is often referred to as the Vriddh (Old) Ganga or the Dakshin (South) Ganga. The name may be apt in more ways than one, as the river follows the course of Ganga’s tragedy. The river is about 1,450 km (900 miles) long. It rises at Trimbakeshwar, near Nasik and Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in Maharashtra around 380 km distance from the Arabian Sea, but flows southeast across south-central India through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, and empties into the Bay of Bengal. At Rajahmundry, 80 km from the coast, the river splits into two streams thus forming a very fertile delta. Like any other major rivers in India, the banks of this river also has many pilgrimage sites, Nasik, Triyambak and Bhadrachalam, being the major ones. It is a seasonal river, widened during the monsoons and dried during the summers. Godavari river water is brownish. Some of its tributaries include Indravati River, Pranahita (Combination of Penuganga and Warda), Manjira, Bindusara and Sabari. Some important urban centers on its banks include Nasik, Bhadrachalam, Rajahmundry and Narsapur. The Asia’s largest rail-cum-road bridge on the river Godavari linking Kovvur and Rajahmundry is considered to be an engineering feat.
The Krishna River System
The Krishna is one of the longest rivers of India (about 1300 km in length). It originates at Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra, passes through Sangli and meets the sea in the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna River flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The traditional source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Mahabaleshwar.
Its most important tributary is the Tungabhadra River, which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers that originate in the Western Ghats. Other tributaries include the Koyna, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga rivers.
The Kaveri River System
The Kaveri (also spelled Cauvery or Kavery) is one of the great rivers of India and is considered sacred by the Hindus. This river is also called Dakshin Ganga. The headwaters are in the Western Ghats range of Karnataka state, and from Karnataka through Tamil Nadu. It empties into the Bay of Bengal. Its waters have supported irrigated agriculture for centuries, and the Kaveri has been the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India.
The source of the river is Talakaveri located in the Western Ghats about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. Talakaveri is a famous pligrimage and tourist spot set amidst Bramahagiri Hills near Madikeri in Kodagu district of Karnataka. Thousands of piligrims flock to the temple at the source of the river especially on the specified day known as Tula sankramana when the river water has been witnessed to gush out like a fountain at a predetermined time. It flows generally south and east for around 765 km, emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths. Its basin is estimated to be 27,700 square miles (71,700 km²), and it has many tributaries including Shimsha, Hemavati, Arkavathy, Kapila, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyyal and Famous Amaravati.
The Mahanadi River System
The Mahanadi is a river of eastern India. The Mahanadi rises in the Satpura Range of central India, and flows east to the Bay of Bengal. The Mahanadi drains most of the state of Chhattisgarh and much of Orissa and also Jharkhand and Maharashtra. It has a length of about 860 km.
Near the city of Sambalpur, a large dam – the Hirakud Dam – is built on the river.
RIVERS OF INDIA ACCORDING TO WORLD MAP
NATIONAL PARKS OF INDIA
Indian National Park
Top 100 Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks of India
Located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, The Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1910. The sanctuary is located in the western Himalayas and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna with grasslands, pastures, meadows with rocky cliffs and rocky outcrops. Leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear and Otter etc. are few of the many species that are found here.
Located in the Nainital District of Uttrakhand, Jim Corbett National Park was established in 1936. The national park is located amidst a mixed terrain of deciduous forests and mountainous pine forests. As a result Jim Corbett National park is one of the most biologically diverse zones in India. Corbett National Park is a home to the Bengal tiger, Leopard, Leopard cat, Elephants, Sambhar Deer and Golden Jackal etc.
The protected forest area in West Bengal was declared a National Park in 1984 and is a rich biosphere reserve and the part of the Sunderbans situated at the Ganges Delta. The Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary is a home to a wide variety of flora and fauna species. These include Tiger, Leopard cat, Fishing Cats and over 70 different species of endemic birds.
Located in Assam, the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1985 and is located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is a home to a plethora of rare and endangered species of animals like Tiger, Asian elephants, Golden Cat, Leopards, Clouded Leopard, Slow Loris and Chital etc.
Known for the largest population of the Indian one-horned Rhinoceros and Tigers in the world, the Kaziranga National Park is located in Assam. The forests are spread across an area of 430 Square kilometers and are home to species like Tigers, Rhinoceros, Elephant, and the Asian water buffalo, Swamp Deer, Monitor Lizard and Spectacled Cobra etc.
Considered to be one of the best spots to view the Bengal Tiger, Ranthambore National Parkis located in Rajasthan and lies between the confluence of the Banas and the Chambal River. The protected forests are also famous for their large banyan trees and is enshrines a Medieval fort. Tiger, Hyena, Sloth Bear and Chital etc. are some of the rare species found here.
Formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Avifauna sanctuary is located in Rajasthan. The Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary was created around 250 years ago and was named after a Shiva temple located within the forest by the Rajput King Maharaja Suraj Mal. Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary was announced as a bird sanctuary in 1971 and is famous for housing over 230 species of birds.
The Sasan Gir National Park is located in Gujarat and is famous for its thriving population of the Asiatic Lion. Due to its diverse eco system and geography, Gir Forest National Park is home to a large variety of species of flora and fauna. The rare species of animals found here are Asiatic Lions, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Jungle Cats, Spectacled Cobra and several rare species of birds are also found here.
Spread across a massive 940 sq kilometers, Kanha National Park is the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. The park is characterized by grassy meadows and open bamboo forests. The rare animal species found in the park are Tigers, Leopards, Wild dogs, Jackals and Sloth bear etc. The park is also famous as being the original source of Rudyard Kipling imagination while writing the Jungle Book although the story was actually set in the Pench National Park in India. The Kanha National Park was established in 1955 and is visited by thousands of tourists each year.
Located by the Periyar River in Kerala, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1928 and is spread across 305 square Kilometers. Being located between the mountain ridges the protected area is famous for its population of the Indian Tiger and the Asiatic Elephants. The rare species found here are the Tiger, Elephant, Travancore flying squirrel, Fruit bat, Giant squirrel, Wild pig and lion-tailed macaque etc.
The oldest water bird sanctuary in India, The Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary was established in 1936. Located in the state of Tamil Nadu the protected area is home to more than a thousand species of birds along with several monkeys. Garganey teals, glossy ibis, grey heron, grey pelican, open-billed stork, painted stork, snake bird, spoonbill and spot bill duck are just few of the several species found here.
Located in Rajasthan, the Sariska National Park is one of the major areas of the Bengal Tiger population of India. Although the area wasn’t originally populated by the regal cat species, it is one of the few places in the world where an apex predator like the Tiger was successfully relocated from the other areas of India. Apart from the Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Striped hyena, Sambhar deer and Chinkara etc. are few of the rare species found here.
Also known as the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, the protected forest is located in Tamil Nadu and was established in 1962. The Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1988 and is spread across an area of 895 square kilometers. The rare species found here include Tiger, Leopard, Jungle cat, Giant squirrel, wild dog and Elephant etc.
Also known as the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, forest reserve is spread across an area of 958 sq kilometers. The Annamalai forest is located in Tamil Nadu and is home to several endangered animal species and is surrounded by several peaks and rivers. Bengal Tiger, Elephants, Sloth Bear, Indian Leopard, Pangolin and the Sambhar deer are few of the several rare species of animal housed here.
Located on the Great Nicobar Island, the Campbell Bay National Park is spread in an area of 462 square kilometers and is a part of the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve. The protected forests are almost unexplored and contain several rare and endemic species of flora, fauna, avi-fauna and marine life. The tropical evergreen forests situated in the Bay of Bengal make it one of the strangest eco systems in the world.
Located in Uttar Pradesh, Dudhwa National Park is spread across an area of 490.3 sq Kilometers. The Dudhwa National Park was established in 1977 as a sanctuary to the swamp deer or the commonly known Barasingha and is also one of the few remaining habitats of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceroses . Thanks to the efforts of famed conservationist Billy Arjan Singh, the predator species like the Leopard and the Tiger were introduced to keep the stag population in check. A plethora of animal, reptile and bird species are found in this park.
Situated amidst the mighty confines of the Nanda Devi peak, the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and National Park was established in 1982. The protected forests are located in the state of Uttrakhand and lies at an average elevation of 3500 meters above sea level. The Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black bear, Himalayan Brown bear, Musk deer, Himalayan Tahr and plenty of bird and breath taking floral species.
Also known as Hemis High Altitude National Park, it is the largest national park in India with an area that spans across 4,400 sq kilometers. Interestingly the park also contains several Tibetan-Buddhist gompas and monasteries and is visited by several tourists. The Hemis National Park contains the rare and endangered species like the snow leopard, Bharal sheep, Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear, Lammergeier Vulture, Golden Eagle, Himalayan Vulture and Mountain weasel etc.
With one of the highest tiger populations in India, Bhandavgarh National Park is said to be located on a place said to have given by Lord Rama to Lakshamana, The National Park is located in Madhya Pradesh. The park is spread across an area of 446 square kilometers and is known to be the home for one of the most photographed tigers in the world. The park also contains a medieval fort, and primitive caves dating back to the 1st century AD.
20. Pench National Park
The name of the National Park is taken from the Pench River that flows through the national park from north to south, dividing the park in two equal halves. The Pench National Park is famous as being the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s famous collection of stories ‘The Jungle Book’. Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Jackal and several species of birds and reptiles are housed here.
Located in the area containing the 3rd highest peak in the world, Kanchendzonga National Park lays at an elevation ranging from 1,829 meters to 8,550 meters above sea level. The Kanchendzonga national park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna species including several rare medicinal herbs and endangered species of animals, reptiles and birds.
22. Bandipur National Park
Spanning across an area of 874 sq kilometers, the Bandipur National Park is located in the state of Karnataka. The national park was established in 1974 and is a refuge for several threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna. Tigers, Elephants, sloth bears, Mugger crocodiles, Dholes, Spectacled Cobra and flying lizards etc. can be spotted here.
23. Wandur National Park/ Mahatama Gandhi Marine National Park
Known for its colorful marine life and coral reefs, Mahatama Gandhi Marine National Park is located in the Andaman Islands. The protected marine area is known for its views of some of the most coral reef abundant places in Asia and is also a great place to view the sea turtles and pristine beaches.
24. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Karnataka and is known as a famous tiger reserves in India. The reserve forests are spread across 866.41 sq kilometers and are the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka. Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Black panthers and several species of birds and reptiles can be found here.
25. Valley Of Flowers National Park
Located in the foothills of the western Himalayas, the Valley of Flowers National Parklies in the state of Uttarakhand. As the name suggest the park is covered with grassy meadows that gets covered with colorful flowers and is a major tourist attraction in India. The park is also home to the Snow leopard, Himalayan Brown bear, Asian Black Bear, and red fox etc.
26. Panna National Park
Situated in an area of 542.67 sq kilometers, the Panna National Park and Tiger Reserve is located in Madhya Pradesh. The protected forest was declared as a tiger reserve in 1994 and is the 5th tiger reserve in the state. Apart from the tiger, the Sloth bear, chital, Chinkara and King Vulture etc. can also be spotted at the Panna National Park.
27. Balpakram National Park
Located in Meghalaya, the Balpakram National Park contains several plateau and adjoining forests and is placed around 3000 meters above sea level. The park is famous for housing several species of flora and fauna due to its diverse terrain along with marine fossil deposits. Tiger, Marbled Cat, Golden Cat, Red Panda, Elephant and Wild Water buffalo etc.
28. Similipal National Park
The Park is located in the state of Orrisa and is famous as a reserve for the Asiatic elephant.The Similipal National Park is one of the most breath taking nature reserves in India with several, forests, grassy meadows and waterfalls. Tiger, Elephant, Indian Bison, Chausingha, Leopard, Jungle cat and several species of birds and reptiles can be spotted here.
29. Kudremukh National Park
Located amidst the lush green hillocks of the Western Ghats in the state of Karnataka, The Kudremukh National Park is one of the best located nature reserves in India. The lush green grasslands and the confluence of three rivers have made it abundant in flora and fauna. Tiger, Leopard, Indian Bison, Sambhar deer, Dhole and Lion-tailed macaque etc can be spotted here.
30. Eravikulam National Park
The Eravikulam National Park is located in the state of Kerala in the Western Ghats and is characterized by high altitude grassy meadows and the tropical montane forests of the Shola. The park is surrounded by different tributaries of the Periyar, Kaveri and Chalakudiyar River and has several waterfalls. The Tiger, Leopard, Dhole, Indian Porcupine, Nilgiri Tahr, Stripe-necked mongoose, Golden Jackal and Sambar Deer can be spotted here.
31. Bannerghatta National Park
Located in Karnataka, the Bannerghatta National Park contains several attractions such as trekking, animal rescue center, a zoo, an aquarium and a protected forest. The Park is famous as a corridor for the Asiatic Elephants. Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Indian Bison, Pangolin, Russell’s viper, Cobras, Jackal and the Indian Porcupine etc. can be spotted here.
32. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Kerala, amidst the hillocks of the Western Ghats. The protected forests are located in a high altitude ranging from 400 meters to 2,522 meters above sea level. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is covered with montane rain forests and wet green grasslands along with dry deciduous and thorny-shrub forests towards the south. Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Sambhar Deer, Indian Bison, Nilgiri Tahr, Rusty-spotted cat and Grizzled Giant Squirrel etc. can be found here.
33. Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Assam, The Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across an area of 350 sq kilometers. The park is surrounded by the Brahmaputra, Lohit and the Dibru River. The park comprises of semi-evergreen and deciduous forests and grasslands. The protected forests are a home to several endangered and rare species of flora and fauna. The Park houses feral horses, Tiger, Water Buffalo, Elephant, Flying Squirrel, King Cobra, River Dolphin and Slow Loris etc.
34. National Chambal Sanctuary
Located in the Land of kings, the state of Rajasthan, The National Chambal Sanctuarywas established in 1979 and is spread across an area of 5400 sq kilometers. The Chambal River located at the confluence of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is the life blood of the sanctuary and houses some of the most endangered species of mammals, reptiles and marine life. The Indian Gharial, the Ganges Dolphin, Indian Wolf, Striped Hyena, Monitor Lizard, Indian Flying fox, Porcupine and Hedgehog etc. are few of the rare species that can be spotted here.
35. Orang National Park
The Orang National Park is located on the Northern Shores of the Brahmaputra River and is often termed as the mini Kaziranga due to its population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. The park comprises of alluvial flood plains, moist deciduous forests and grasslands. The rare species found here are the Indian Rhinoceros, Tiger, Asiatic Elephants, Pygmy Hog, Pangolin, Leopard Cat and King Cobra.
36. Nameri National Park
Located in the eastern Himalayas and the state of Assam, The Nameri National Parkwas established on 1978. The park comprises of moist deciduous forests, bamboo forests and narrow strips of grasslands along the Jia Bhoroli River. The wildlife reserve is a home to rare and endangered wildlife species like the Tiger, Leopard, Asiatic Elephant, Sambhar, Dhole, Sloth bear and Sambhar deer etc.
37. Gorumara National Park
The nature reserve is located in the Terai region of the eastern Himalayas in the state of West Bengal. The Gorumara National Park was established in 1994 and is also a home to the Indian rhinoceros. The park is comprised of biomes, Sal forests and Bamboo Groves. The species found here are Leopards, Rhinoceros, Asiatic Elephants, Indian Bison, Wild Boar, Pygmy hog, Indian Wolf and Indian Wild Dogs etc.
38. Nokrek National Park
The Nokrek National Park is located in the state of Meghalaya and is one of the few Biosphere reserves in India. The park comprises of a hilly terrain covered with a lush green forest cover. The park is also famous for its tropical and citrus fruits. Nokrek National Park is famous for its population of the Red Panda.
39. Namdapha National Park
Spread across an area of approximately 2000 sq kilometers, the Namdapha National Park is the third largest National Park in India and located in Arunachal Pradesh. Located on the Burma border, the sanctuary is covered with a lush green canopy of forests and is home to several endangered species of animals, reptiles and birds. Tiger, Leopard, Clouded leopard, Snow Leopards, Asiatic Black bears, Dholes, Red Pandas and Slow Loris etc.
40. Gulf Of Kuchh National Park
Located in the state of Gujarat, The Gulf of Kuchh National Park is the first marine national park in India. The national park is located on an island in the Arabian Sea and is a home to several species of coral, Dolphins, Whales and the massive Whale Sharks.
41. Silent Valley National Park
The Silent Valley National Park is located in God’s own country, the state of Kerala. The Park is located amidst the Western Ghats and comprises of tropical moist rainforests and moist evergreen forests. The Forests have been mentioned in the Mahabharatha as one of the places the Pandavas spent their 14-year exile at. It is famous for its population of the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque, Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Sloth bear, otter, Travancore flying squirrel, Porcupine and Elephant etc.
42. Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park
Located in the Gulf of Mannar, The marine national park comes under the jurisdiction of the state of Tamil Nadu and lies between India and Sri Lanka. The Gulf of Mannar National Parkcontains over 3600 species of marine fauna and several other endangered species. Sharks, Dugongs, Dolphins, Coral, Whales and Sea Cucumbers etc. can be found here. The famous glass bottom boat rides attract a huge number of tourists here.
43. Betla National Park
The Betla National Park is located in the Indian state of Jharkhand and was established as India’s first tiger reserve. The park is covered with a canopy of tropical and mixed deciduous forests and temperate alpine forests in the upper reaches. Tiger, Leopard, Pangolin, Jackal, Brown bear, Hyena and mongoose etc. can be spotted here.
44. Desert National Park
The Desert National Park is located amidst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. The national park was established in 1992 and comprises mainly of grasslands and sand dunes. It is the best place to observe and spot the rare and endangered desert animal and plant species. Desert Fox, Bengal Fox, Spiny Tail lizard, Monitor lizard, Russell’s viper, Desert cat, Saw-scaled viper and the great Indian bustard can be spotted here.
45. Harike Wetland
Covering an area of 8600 hectares, the Harike Wetland is a manmade lake and wetland formed by the headworks built in 1953 on the confluence of the Beas and the Sutlej rivers. The wetland is characterized by the Harike freshwater lake and is a home to over 200 species of birds along with a rich marine flora and fauna. The endangered Indus dolphin was recently sighted in the Beas River is also found in the Harike freshwater lake.
46. South Button Island National Park
The South Button Island National Park is located towards the south-west of Havelock islands in the Andaman Islands of India. The marine sanctuary is a famous scuba diving spot famous for its coral reefs and the marine life that they harbor. The Dugong and the Hydrosaurus lizards are also few of the many endangered species found here.
47. Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary
The wildlife sanctuary is located in the state of Telangana and is spread across an area of 812 sq kilometers. The Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary is split in have by the Godavari rives and comprises of a forest covered hills with grassy slopes. The species like Tiger, Leopard, Wolf, Dhole, Jackals, Sloth bear, Mugger crocodiles, Cobra and Chinkara etc. can be spotted here.
48. Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Bihar and was established in 1976. The place derives its name from a dam said to be constructed by Bhima in Mahabharatha and is spread across and area of 681.99 sq kilometers. Leopard, Tiger, Mongoose, Monitor Lizard, Grey-headed Fish eagle, Owls, Falcons and Sloth bear etc. can be found here.
49. Palamau Tiger Reserve
Located in the Indian state of Jharkhand, the Palamau Tiger Reserve is one of the famous tiger reserves in India. It is spread across 1,014 sq kilometers of area and was established in 1947. The forests are a home to several rare and endangered species of wildlife such as the Leopard, Tiger, Indian Bison, Sambhar deer and the Indian wild dogs etc.
50. Mudumalai National Park
The Mudumalai National Park is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and was established in 1940. The wildlife reserve is located amidst the Nilgiri hills of the Western Ghats and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Indian Bison, Leopard cat, striped hyenas, Jackal, Sloth Bear and Asiatic Elephants etc. can be spotted in this nature reserve along with several endemic and migratory bird species and reptiles.
51. Galathea National Park
52. Middle Button Island National Park
53. Interview Island Wildlife Sanctuary
54. Landfall Island Wildlife Sanctuary
55. Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve
56. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
57. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary
58. Pocharam Forest & Wildlife Sanctuary
59. Pakhui Tiger Reserve
60. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
61. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
62. Pong Dam Sanctuary
63. Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
64. Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary
65. Gangotri National Park
66. Palani Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park
67. Rajaji National Park
68. Nagarahole National Park
70. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
71. Papikonda National Park
72. Valmiki National Park
73. Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary
74. Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary
75. Pakhui Tiger Reserve
76. Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary
77. Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary
78. Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
79. Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary
80. Wildlife sanctuaries of India
81. Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary
82. SonaiRupai Wildlife Sanctuary
83. Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary
84. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
85. Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
86. Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
87. BiligirirangaSwamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
88. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
89. Ratapani Tiger Reserve
90. TamorPingla Wildlife Sanctuary
91. Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
92. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
93. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
94. Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary
95. GautalaAutramghat Sanctuary
96. Nalbana Bird Sanctuary
97. Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary
98. Shenbagathoppu Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
99. Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary
100. Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve
BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT OF INDIA
A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversitythat is under threat from humans. To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot on Myers 2000 edition of the hotspot-map, a region must meet two strict criteria:
- it must contain at least 0.5% or 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemics, and
- it has to have lost at least 70% of its primary vegetation.
Around the world, at least 35 areas qualify under this definition. These sites support nearly 60% of the world’s plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species, with a very high share of endemic species. Four regions that satisfy these criteria exist in India and are described below. For a more detailed information about these hotspots, go to the Biodiversityhotspots.org homepage
The Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
About the region: The Western Ghats are a chain of hills that run along the western edge of peninsular India. Their proximity to the ocean and throughorographic effect, they receive high rainfall. These regions have moist deciduous forest and rain forest. The region shows high species diversity as well as high levels of endemism. Nearly 77% of the amphibians and 62% of the reptile species found here are found nowhere else.Sri Lanka, which lies to the south of India, is also a country rich in species diversity. It has been connected with India through several past glaciation events by a land bridge almost 140kn wide.
How the biodiversity of Western Ghats originated is a still a puzzle. The region shows biogeographical affinities to the Malayan region. More recentphylogeographic studies have attempted to study the origin of Western Ghats using molecular approaches.There are also differences in taxa which are dependent on time of divergence and geological history. Along with Sri Lanka, this region also shows some faunal similarities with the Madagascan region especially in the reptiles and amphibians. Examples include the Sibynophis snakes, the Purple Frog and Sri Lankan lizard genus Nessia which appears similar to the Madagascan genus Acontias.Numerous floral links to the Madagascan region also exist. An alternate hypothesis that these taxa may have originally evolved out-of-India has also been suggested.
Biogeographical quirks exist with some taxa of Malayan origin occurring in Sri Lanka but absent in the Western Ghats. These include insects groups such as the zoraptera and plants such as those of the genus Nepenthes.
Biodiversity: There are over 6000 vascular plants belonging to over 2500 genera in this hotspot, of which over 3000 are endemic. Much of the world’s spices such as black pepperand cardamom have their origins in the Western Ghats. The highest concentration of species in the Western Ghats is believed to be theAgasthyamalai Hills in the extreme south. The region also harbors over 450 bird species, about 140 mammalian species, 260 reptiles and 175 amphibians. Over 60% of the reptiles and amphibians are completely endemic to the hotspot. Remarkable as this diversity is, it is severely threatened today. The vegetation in this hotspot originally extended over 190,000 square kms. Today, its been reduced to just 43,000 sq. km. In Sri Lanka, only 1.5% of the original forest cover still remain.
The Eastern Himalayas
About the region: The Eastern Himalayas is the region encompassing Bhutan, northeastern India, and southern, central, and eastern Nepal. The region is geologically young and shows high altitudinal variation. Together, the Himalayan mountain system is the world’s highest, and home to the world’s highest peaks, which include Mount Everest and K2. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, at 6962 metres is the highest peak outside Asia, whereas the Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7200 metres Some of the world’s major river systems arise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people (almost half of Earth’s population) in 18 countries. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia; many Himalayan peaks are sacred inHinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
Geologically, the origin of the Himalayas is the impact of the Indian tectonic plate traveling northward at 15cm per year to impact the Eurasian continent, about 40-50 million years ago. The formation of the Himalayan arc resulted since the lighter rock of the seabeds of that time were easily uplifted into mountains. An often-cited fact used to illustrate this process is that the summit of Mount Everest is made of marine limestone.
Biodiversity: The Eastern Himalayan hotspot has nearly 163 globally threatened species including the One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Wild Asian Water buffalo(Bubalus bubalis (Arnee)) and in all 45 mammals, 50 birds, 17 reptiles, 12 amphibians, 3 invertebrate and 36 plant species The Relict Dragonfly (Epiophlebia laidlawi) is an endangered species found here with the only other species in the genus being found in Japan. The region is also home to the Himalayan Newt (Tylototriton verrucosus), the only salamander species found within Indian limits.
There are an estimated 10,000 species of plants in the Himalayas, of which one-third are endemic and found nowhere else in the world. Five families – Tetracentraceae, Hamamelidaceae, Circaesteraceae, Butomaceae and Stachyuraceae – are completely endemic to this region. Many plant species are found even in the highest reaches of the Himalayan mountains. For example, a plant species Ermania himalayensis was found at an altitude of 6300 metres in northwestern Himalayas!. A few threatened endemic bird species such as the Himalayan Quail, Cheer pheasant,Western tragopan are found here, alongwith some of Asia’s largest and most endangered birds such as the Himalayan vulture and White-bellied heron
The Himalayas are home to over 300 species of mammals, a dozen of which are endemic. Mammals like the Golden langur, The Himalayan tahr, the pygmy hog, Langurs, Asiatic wild dogs, sloth bears, Gaurs, Muntjac, Sambar, Snow leopard, Black bear, Blue sheep, Takin, the Gangetic dolphin, wild water buffalo,swamp deer call the Himalayan ranged their home. The only endemic genus in the hotspot is the Namadapha flying squirrel which is critically endangered and is described only from a single specimen from Namdapha National Park.
About the region: The Indo-Burma region encompasses several countries. It is spread out from Eastern Bangladesh to Malaysia and includes North-Eastern India south of Brahmaputra river, Myanmar, the southern part of China’s Yunnan province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. The Indo-Burma region is spread over 2 million sq. km of tropical Asia. Since this hotspot is spread over such a large area and across several major landforms, there is a wide diversity of climate and habitat patterns in this region.
Biodiversity: Much of this region is still a wilderness, but has been deteriorating rapidly in the past few decades. In recent times, six species of large mammals have been discovered here: Large-antlered muntjac, Annamite muntjac, Grey-shanked douc, Annamite striped rabbit, Leaf deer, and the Saola. This region is home to several primate species such as monkeys , langurs and gibbons with populations numbering only in the hundreds. Many of the species, especially some freshwater turtle species, are endemic. Almost 1,300 bird species exist in this region including the threatened white-eared night-heron, the grey-crowned crocias, and the orange-necked partridge. It is estimated that there are about 13,500 plant species in this hotspot, with over half of them endemic. Ginger, for example, is native to this region.
Reasons for biodiversity loss in hotspots
There are four main reasons why species are being threatened in these biodiversity hotspots
- Habitat destruction: As recently as 30 years ago, most of the regions in these biodiversity hotspots were inaccessible and remote. Now, due to better infrastructure, contact of these areas with humans has increased. Activities such as logging of wood, increased agriculture, increased human habitation has led to destruction of forests and pollution of rivers. These factors are causing species ranges to reduce and habitats to become choppy. The government planned to establish habitat corridors, but these plans have not yet materialized in most areas. Activities such as mining, construction of large dams, highway construction has also caused significant destruction of habitats.
- Resource mismanagement: Increased tourism without proper regulation has led to pollution and environmental degradation. Prime example are pilgrimage destinations like Rishikesh and hill stations like Dehradoon. These spots, once nestled in the pristine ranges of the Himalayas, are now dirty commercial destinations. Places like Dehradoon are even experiencing a construction boom so large that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are also flocking there Religious destinations in the Himalayas, where devotees flock in millions now, are also hot destinations for medicinal plant trade, which has threatened plant life in the area.
- Poaching: Large mammals such as the tiger, rhinoceros and the elephant once faced the distinct possibility of complete extinction due to rampant hunting and poaching. However, efforts by conservationists since the 1970s has helped stabilize and grow these populations. Still, the trade in tiger hide, elephant tusks, tiger teeth, rhinoceros horn remains profitable and rampant.
- Climate change: Although dire IPCC predictions of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 have been retracted,there is no doubt that several Himalayan glaciers are melting. In the Western Ghats, studies have shown that the deciduous and the evergreen forests of Karnataka are the most at risk Climate change may significantly affect the temperatures, rainfalls and water tables in the Western Ghats, according to an assessment by the Government of India.
The exploitation of land and forest resources by humans along with hunting and trapping for food and sport has led to the extinction of many species in India in recent times. These species include mammals such as the Indian / Asiatic Cheetah, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros. While some of these large mammal species are confirmed extinct, there have been many smaller animal and plant species whose status is harder to determine. Many species have not been seen since their description.
Hubbardia heptaneuron, a species of grass that grew in the spray zone of the Jog Falls prior to the construction of the Linganamakki reservoir, was thought to be extinct but a few were rediscovered near Kolhapur in Maharashtra.
Some species of birds have gone extinct in recent times, including the Pink-headed Duck(Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) and the Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa). A species of warbler, Acrocephalus orinus, known earlier from a single specimen collected by Allan Octavian Hume from near Rampur in Himachal Pradesh was rediscovered after 139 years in Thailand.
BIOSPHERE RESERVE OF INDIA
Biosphere Reserves of India : Names and Location
Biosphere Reserves are large areas of bio diversity where flora and fauna are protected. These regions of environmental protection roughly correspond to IUCN Category V Protected areas. The Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves of India, which protect larger areas of natural habitat (than a National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary).
Biosphere Reserves of India often include one or more National Parks or sanctuaries, along with buffer zones that are open to some economic uses. Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life.
List of Biosphere Reserves of India
NB: Those Biosphere reserves in bold are part of World Network of Biosphere Reserves too.
|Sl. No||Year||Name||State||Type||Key Fauna|
|1||2008||Great Rann of Kutch||Gujarat||Desert||Indian Wild Ass|
|2||1989||Gulf of Mannar||Tamil Nadu||Coasts||Dugong or Sea Cow|
|3||1989||Sundarbans||West Bengal||Gangetic Delta||Royal Bengal Tiger|
|4||2009||Cold Desert||Himachal Pradesh||Western Himalayas||Snow Leopard|
|5||1988||Nanda Devi||Uttarakhand||Western Himalayas||NA|
|6||1986||Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve||Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka||Western Ghats||Nilgiri Tahr, Lion-tailed macaque|
|7||1998||Dihang-Dibang||Arunachal Pradesh||Eastern Himalaya||NA|
|8||1999||Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve||Madhya Pradesh||Semi-Arid||Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel|
|9||2010||Seshachalam Hills||Andhra Pradesh||Eastern Ghats||NA|
|10||1994||Simlipal||Odisha||Deccan Peninsula||Gaur, Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild elephant|
|11||2005||Achanakamar -Amarkantak||Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh||Maikala Hills||NA|
|12||1989||Manas||Assam||East Himalayas||Golden Langur, Red Panda|
|13||2000||Khangchendzonga||Sikkim||East Himalayas||Snow Leopard, Red Panda|
|14||2001||Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve||Kerala, Tamil Nadu||Western ghats||Nilgiri Tahr, Elephants|
|15||1989||Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||Islands||Saltwater Crocodile|
|16||1988||Nokrek||Meghalaya||East Himalayas||Red Panda|
|17||1997||Dibru-Saikhowa||Assam||East Himalayas||Golden Langur|
|18||2011||Panna||Madhya Pradesh||Ken River||Tiger, Chital, Chinkara, Sambharand Sloth bear|
Biosphere Reserves of India in World Network of Biosphere Reserves
Nine of the eighteen biosphere reserves of India are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list. They are given in ‘bold’ in the above list.
Main differences between Biosphere Reserves, National Park and Wild Life Sactuaries
Biosphere Reserves are the biggest entity among the three. The level of restriction in the increasing order is Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks. The Indian government has established 18 Biosphere Reserves of India, roughly corresponding to IUCN Category V Protected areas. India has over 441 animal sanctuaries, referred to as Wildlife sanctuaries (IUCN Category IV Protected Area). The National parks of India are IUCN category II protected areas. As of April 2012, there were 102 national parks in India and more parks on the process of getting commissioned.
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This Article was Originally published at Ankur Civil Service
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This Article was Originally published at Ankur Civil Service
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