CHAPTER 7:FOREST AND WILDLIFE OF HARYANA
The state of Haryana with a geographical area of 44, 212 sq km, is primarily an agricultural state with almost 80% of its land under cultivation. But the state is not bestowed with natural forests and only 3.59% of its geographical area is under notified forests. Forestry activities in the state are dispersed mainly over rugged Shivalik hills in the North, and Aravalli hills in the South.
Recorded Forest Area
According to India State of Forest Report 2017, the Recorded Forest Area of Haryana is 1559 sq km, which constitutes 3.53% of the geographical area of the state.
In Haryana, the forests are classified into the following:
Reserved Forests The forests where any type of human activities such as cutting of wood, grazing, collection of forest products, etc are not allowed, are classed as reserved forests. According to State of Forest Report, 2017, they constitute 15.97% of total geographic area in Haryana. These forests help in land reclaimation, control of floods and prevailing favourable climatic conditions in the state. They provide timber as well as forest products.
Protected Forests The forests that are conserved at the same time and certain human activities are allowed in them, are classed as protected forests. According to State of Forest Report, 2017, Haryana has 74.28% of this type of forest. There is restricted entry to the forest for grazing, cutting firewood and collection of forest products.
Unclassed Forests The forests that have no restriction on human entry and use of forest resources, are classified as unclassed forests. According to State of Forest Report, 2017, Haryana has 9.75% of unclassed forests. The State Government takes nominal charges for the use of these forests.
As per the India State of Forest Report, 2017 the forest cover in Haryana is 1588 sq km which is about 8 sq km more as compared to 2015. The forest cover has increased remarkably in Faridabad by 5 sq km. According to India State Forest Report, 2017, there are about 27 sq km of very dense forest, 213 sq km of dense forest and 202 sq km of open forest. Panchkula (391 sq km) has the largest area under forest cover and Palwal (14 sq km) has the lowest area under forest cover.
Districts-wise Forest Cover
|District||Geographical Area (GA)(sq km)||Total Forest Cover (sq km)||% of Forest Cover of GA|
Note – In Haryana there are 22 districts. India State of Forest Report, 2017 had provided data for only 21 district excluding Charkhi Dadri district.
Classification of Forests in Haryana
On the basis of Geographical features, the forests of Haryana are divided into two types which are as follows’.
Tropical Dry Deciduous
This type of forests are found in Yamunanagar, Rewari, Mahendragarh, Karnal, Hisar, Kaithal and Sonipat where the rainfall is 70-100 cm. The majority of forest in the state belong to tropical dry deciduous category. Sheesham, peepal, neem, kusum, semul, amla, amaltas, and mahua are major trees found here.
Sub-Tropical Pine Forest
These forests are found in Panchkula, Ambala and Yamunanagar districts where the rainfall is more than 100 cm. Kachnar, Khair, Amaltas, Biyul are major trees found here.
Forest Policy, 2006
To promote sustainable development of forest resources in the state, Haryana Government has framed its own Forest Policy in 2006. This policy aimed at increasing the forest and tree cover in the state from 6 per cent to 20 per cent in a phased manner.
The basic objectives are:
- Afforestation for maintenance of environmental stability and restoration of ecological balance.
- Conserving biodiversity in natural forests of the state.
- Conservation and development of water resources in forests.
- Increasing the productivity of forests to meet the essential needs of people on sustainable basis.
- Setting up of herbal parks for the conservation of indigenous medicinal plants and trees.
Forest Conservation and Management
The State Government of Haryana is undertaking various measures for the conservation of its forest resource. It has various departments to manage it. These are discussed as follows’.
Joint Forest Management Programme (JFM) This programme is an endeavour to fulfil the forestry related needs and aspirations of the local people from the adjoining forests with their active participation in protection and maintenance of these forests. Joint Forest Management in Haryana was started in the year 1972, but government notification in this regard was issued in 1990 after Government of India resolution, dated 1st June, 1990.
Main objectives ofJoint Forest Management are as follows:
- Forest and vegetal cover should be rapidly increased on hill slopes of Shivaliks and Aravallis, in catchments of rivers, rivulets and water reservoirs, on semi-arid and arid tracts and on all available wastelands.
- Medicinal plants and other Non-Wood Forest Product (NWFP) should be protected, improved and their production enhanced.
Haryana Forest Development Corporation (HFDC) It is a company established in December, 1989 under the Companies Act, 1956 mainly for the promotion and development of tree plantation on non-forest lands by providing suitable price to tree growers for their wood produce. HFDC is also engaged in felling, conversion and sale of trees from earmarked areas of forest lands since 1995-1996.
Forest Conservation Schemes
The State Government of Haryana has undertaken various schemes for the conservation and protection of forest. These are as follows:
Haryana Community Forestry Project (HCFP) It was co-funded by the Government of Haryana and the European Commission and was implemented in 11 districts of Haryana. This project was started in 1998-99. The objective was to conserve and rejuvenate natural resources, through Forestry Development, with the active participation of communities, especially women. This project was ended in 2006-07.
Non-biodegradable Garbage Control Act This act was initialised in 1998. Under this act, the State Government of Haryana has restricted the use of polythenes in the eco-zones declared in the state.
Aravalli Rehabilitation Project This project was initiated in 1990-91 in collaboration with Haryana Government and European Commission. It relates to plantation rocky areas of Aravalli hills that lie in Southern Haryana. It is also called Aravalli Plantation Scheme. At present, this project is running in the districts of Faridabad, Palwal, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Mewat and Gurugram.
Kandi Development Project It was started in Haryana in 2003. This project is undertaken by Haryana to check soil erosion and restore the degraded land in the Northern districts of the state i.e. Ambala and Yamunanagar. It is funded by World Bank and also runs in Southern Himachal Pradesh and North-Eastern Punjab. It covers the region lying close to Shiwalik foothills.
Greening of Haryana Under this scheme, tree plantation is done aggresively in various districts of the state. Planting trees specially in the districts of Hisar, Rewari, Gurugram, Sirsa and Mahendragarh helps in controlling the spread of loose soil. At the same time, herbal and medicinal plants like kurund, cholai, bathua, ashvagandha, gokhru, sadabahaar, etc are also being planted.
The state Medicinal Plant Board was set up in 2002. Haryana also has different type of wild grasses like tufted grass, spikelets, biflora and tausch grass. The state observes Tree Day on 15th July every year after 2014.
Two Environment Courts The state has set up two courts in the districts of Faridabad and Hisar specially for solving the cases related to environmental issues. Eco-Clubs Haryana has set up eco-clubs and eco-parks for the promotion and popularisation of clean environment. This is done under National Green Core Scheme.
Har Ghar Haryali Yojana This scheme was initiated in 2015. Under this scheme, the State Government promotes planting and conserving the natural vegetation and indigenous trees that grow in the region. It promotes the planting of local varieties of trees like mango, lime, pomegranate, jamun, mulberry, berry, oak, etc. Paudhagiri Campaign Haryana Government launched Paudhagiri Scheme in 2018 to increase green cover in the state. Under this campaign, students studying in class 6th to 12th of all government and private schools plants a sapling during three months of monsoon. State forest department provides sapling to every student.
Wildlife in Haryana
Haryana state has rich bio-diversity which makes it suitable for different varieties of birds and animals to exist in the natural forests of haryana. The state has around 500 species of birds and also welcomes large number of migratory birds during the winter season.
For the conservation of wildlife, the state has about 33,000 hectares under protected area network which includes 2 national parks, 8 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 conservation reserves.
National Parks in Haryana
National parks are forests which are reserved for the protection of vegetation and wildlife. There are 2 national parks in Haryana which are asfollows:
Sultanpur National Park
It is located in Sultanpur, Gurugram district of Haryana This park is a bird paradise, particularly in the winter months both for local as well as migratory birds. Its sanctuary potential was first recognised by the world famous ornithologist, Mr Peter Jackson, keeping in view its importance and potential.
It was declared a Bird Sanctuary in 1971 and was upgraded to the status of National Park in 1991 by Haryana Government. It covers an area of 1.43 sq km. Common species of birds include hoopoe, Indian cormorant, francolin, spoon bill, crested lark, spotted owlet. Migratory bird species include Siberian crane, wood sandpiper, eurasion wiglon, black tailed godwit, spotted redshauk, etc.
Kalesar National Park
It is located in the foothills of Shivalik ranges. It falls under Yamunanagar district of Haryana sharing boundary with three states viz., Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. It is named after the Kalesar (Shiva) temple located in this protected area. This park was declared as National Park on 8th December, 2003. It covers an area of 46.82 sq km. The whole area is full of biodiversity having dense sal forest, khair forest and patches of grasslands, which supports an amazing variety of plants and animal species.
|Elephant Rehabilitation Centre and Deer Park
In Yamunanagar district of Haryana, Elephant Rehabilitation Centre is located. It was established in 2008. It covers an area of 0.02 sq km.Deer Park is located in Hisar district. It was established in 1970. It covers an area of 0.16 sq km.
Wildlife Sanctuary in Haryana
Haryana though deficient in natural forest has variety of wildlife species. It is a unique place for wild fauna because of its location and climate, edaphic and topographic variation. State boundaries touch three bio-geographic zones namely Himalaya in North, Gangetic plain in East and Thar Desert in South and West. Due to these eco-zones, rich wildlife particularly avifauna is found in Haryana.
There are 8 wildlife sanctuaries in Haryana which are as follows:
Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1986 in the district of Jhajjar, covering an area of 4.11 sq km. It was declared a bird sanctuary by Indian Government on 3rd June, 2009. It attracts around 35,000 variety of migratory birds belonging to over 250 species during winter. Neelgai, jackal, langur, peafowl, hornbill, coppersmith barbet are found here.
Chhilchhila Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1986 in the district of Kurukshetra. In the year 2009, the Environment Ministry has declared the sanctuary as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for conservation of flora and fauna. It covers an area of 29 sq km. The sanctuary attracts wide variety of winter migratory birds. Blue peafowl, hornbill, barbet, rufous treepie, greater coucal are found here.
Nahar Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1987 in the district of Rewari. It covers over an area of 2.11 sq km. It was declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone in 2009 by Indian Government. The sanctuary supports a good population of black bucks, jackals, monitor lizards and such other small animals. Neelgai, jackal, langur, blue peafowl are also found here.
Bir Shikargarh Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1987, in the district of Panchkula. It covers an area of 7.67 sq km. In 2009, Government of India declared it an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), as a result development will not be permitted within a 5 km radius. Cheetal, sambar, neelgai are found here.
Abubshahar Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1987 in the district of Sirsa. It covers an area of 115.30 sq km. The main attraction of the wildlife sanctuary are blue bull, partridges and black buck.
Khaparwas Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 1991 in the district of Jhajjar. It covers an area of 0.82 sq km. It was also declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone by the Indian Government. Water birds are main attraction of this sanctuary.
Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 2003 in the district of Yamunanagar. It covers an area of 115.70 sq km. In terms of area, it is the largest Wildlife Sanctuary of Haryana. It was also declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone by the Indian Government. Cheetal, sambhar, neelgai, etc are found here.
Khol Hi-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary
It was established in the year 2004 in Panchkula district. It covers an area of22.26 sq km. The sanctuary includes the forest cover area of Shivalik hills bound in Panchkula district. Cheetal, spotted deer, monkey, fox, jackal, etc are main animals found here.
The Zones are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Environment Ministry in Haryana has declared wildlife tourists hotspots including Kalesar, Nahar, Chhilchhila, Bhindawas and Khaparwas as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ). They have been identified under ESZ for conservation of flora and fauna in view of increasing human activities and urbanisation in the region.
Conservation Reserves in Haryana
Saraswati Conservation Reserve
It was established in the year 1988. It is also known as Seonsar Forest and is situated in Kaithal district of Haryana. It covers an area of 44.52 sq km.
Bir Bara Ban Conservation Reserve
It is located in Jind district. It covers an area of 4.2 sq km. Neelgai, jackal, langur and birds like refour treepie, coucal, hornbill and coppersmith barbet are found here.
Mini Zoos in Haryana
|Mini Zoo, Pipli||1982||Kurukshetra|
|Mini Zoo, Bhiwani||1982||Bhiwani|
|Mini Zoo, Rohtak||1986||Rohtak|
Deer Parks and Breeding Centres in Haryana
|Crocodile Beeding Centre||1981-82||Kurukshetra|
|Black Buck Breeding Centre||1985-86||Kurukshetra|
|Chinkara Breeding Centre||1985-86||Bhiwani|
|Pheasant Breeding Centre||2006||Panchkula|
|Vulture Preservation and Breeding Centre||2001||Panchkula|
|Peacock and Chinkara Breeding Centre||2011||Rewari|
|Red Jungle Fowl Breeding Centre||–||Panchkula|