Pachmarhi

©Wikimedia Commons/ Abhayashok
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, India

The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve is located in the biogeographical region of the Deccan Peninsula and the Biotic Province of Central India. The Satpura mountain ranges cross India from west to east and Pachmarhi lies directly in its centre. The highest peak is the Dhoopgarh, which reaches 1,352 metres above sea level, while the Pachmarhi hills are characterized by steep slopes in the northern regions. The eastern boundary of the biosphere reserve lies along a road with cultivation farms, close to the Dudhi River, while the southern boundary borders the Tawa plateau.

Designation Date: 2009
Administrative Authorities: Secretary; Department of Housing and Environment; Government of Madhya Pradesh; Bhopal; Environmental Planning & Coordination Organization; Executive Director; Field Director; Satpura Tiger Reserve; Hoshangabad & Chief Wildlife Warden; Revenue Department; Forests Department.
Surface area (terrestrial): 498,172 ha
Core area(s): 155,523 ha
Buffer area(s): 178,558 ha
Transition area(s): 164,091 ha

Location
Latitude: 22°11'N – 22°50'N
Longitude: 77°47'E – 78°52'E
Centre Point: 22°30’N – 78°19’30’’E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/ Abhishek727
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, India

Pachmarhi comprises three protection sites: the Bori Sanctuary, Satpura National Park and Pachmarhi Sanctuary – otherwise known as the Satpura Tiger Reserve. The Pachmarhi Plateau is also known as the ‘Queen of Satpura’, because it contains valleys, marshes, streams and waterfalls, all of which have led to the development of a unique and varied biodiversity.

Forests represent approximately 63% of the biosphere reserve’s area, while agricultural lands (30%), waste lands (2.18%), water bodies (5%) and human settlement areas (0.54%) account for the remainder. Tectona grandis (Teak) and Shorea robusta (Sal) are the most common and unique flora species found in the forests, with the latter found nowhere else in India. Tropical moist deciduous forests, tropical dry deciduous and central Indian sub-tropical hill forests are the major ecosystem types within Pachmarhi. The climate differs at all mountain levels and is characterized by strong monsoons.

There exist more than 150 species of flora used for medicinal purposes. In addition, 60 species of pteridophytes have been recorded, 48 of which are types of fern. Important species include Psilotum triquetra (whisk fern) and Ophioglossum nudicaule (Adder’s-tongue ferns). The largest wild herbivores found in the reserve are Gaura, which together with bears, tigers and leopards, Ratufa indica (Giant Squirrel) and Spilornis cheela (Crested serpent eagle) are rare and endangered. Lastly, over 50 mammal species, 254 bird species, 30 reptile species and 50 butterfly species live in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve.

Socio-Economic Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/ Dr. Raju Kasambe
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, India

The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve is characterized by high population growth, with Gond tribes accounting for 50% to 90% of the tribal population. They live in the forests and therefore have a special connection to the reserve. Korkus tribes introduced the cultivation of potatoes and made use of honeycombs to produce honey in significant quantities for commercial use. The area used to be notorious for hosting evil spirits, diseases and dangerous beasts.

Captain J. Forsyth discovered the area in 1862 and remarked upon the extensive cave network. These caves are of great archaeological interest, containing rock paintings up to 2,500 years old. Today, many Hindus festivals are celebrated near the reserve. ‘Nagpanchmi’ is celebrated in summer and the ‘Maha Shivratri’ fair occurs in March.

Conservation tactics were first introduced in 1865 with the banning of slash-and-burn agriculture. A number of Reserve Forests were introduced, the most notable of which is the Bori Reserve Forest. Large sites also exist for grazing purposes, but with advent of severe overgrazing, particular grazing areas were created that permit only limited grazing activities.


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                                                                                   Last update: January 2015

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