Forest Bidar

Bidar Forests:

Bidar Forest division is the northern most division of Karnataka encompassing the whole of Bidar district and 31 villages of the adjoining Gulbarga district.

Forest areas of Bidar division are classified as Reserve forests, Protected forests and Unclassed forests.

Bidar Forest division is having 43,592 ha. of Forest area including Reserve Forests, Protected forests and Unclassified forests. This area is about 8.5% of total geographical extent of the district. The break up of forests into different categories is shown in the pie-chart.

Bidar forest
Bidar forest
Sl# Name of the Range Reserve forests in Ha Protected forests in Ha Unclassed forests in Ha Total
1 Bidar 1966.65 3225.06 3235.85 8427.56
2 Bhalki -- 922.46 1929.09 2851.55
3 Aurad -- 832.87 1456.95 2289.82
4 Humnabad 2488.45 7695.86 11509.09 21693.40
5 Basavakalyan 489.44 551.54 7289.65 8330.63

The total forest area of the division is 43,592.94 ha, comprising of 4,874.04 ha of reserve forests, 12,802.90 ha of protected forests and 28,881.00 ha of unclassed forests.

Most of the RF areas are in Bidar and Humnabad ranges. Originally the forests in Bidar Division consisted of Dry deciduous and Scrub type vegetation . Over the years almost all the forest areas have been worked at one or more times resulting in large expanses of man made forests comprising mostly of Eucalyptus, Acacia auriculiformis, Glyricidia and miscellaneous species like Hardwickia, Albizzia, Azadirachta & Pterocarpus etc. Majority of these plantations are successful. Due to the sustained efforts of the forest department the forest cover in the district has increased by about 4% as reported by the Hyderabad based National Remote Sensing Agency.

Records are not available to show the extent and nature of forests that existed originally. The majority of existing forests of Bidar are all man made forests. The indications are available to show that land was very fertile centuries ago and there were good forests and big games. Ravages of wars and continuous trampling by men and animals, as also dumping of huge quantities of ammunition and other poisonous material on the ground depleted the Flora and also the Fauna. In the past forests were also gradually destroyed by the people in their persistent efforts clear the land for cultivation of food grains and grazing of their cattle. Even today the tendency to encroach upon remains. Wherever cultivation is possible it is not uncommon that the remaining forests are still being hacked and destroyed.

The forests were originally controlled by the Revenue Department which introduced permit system under which permit holders were allowed to cut trees wherever they liked in the forests. Since no special staff was employed the control was only nominal and vast tracts covered with valuable forests were recklessly destroyed through this system of working. In view of this Government established Forest Department in 1277F. However only 13 species scheduled as 'IRSALI’ were placed under the control of and rest scheduled as "GAIRI" continued to be under the Revenue Department. In the year 1309F, Forest Act was sanctioned and full control was entrusted to Forest Department. Since the department had non-technical head, the policy was still that of realizing more revenue at the expense of capital. The permit system which caused indiscriminate fellings by permit holders remained in vogue till 1319F. Under the Forest Act, some forests known as open forests were set apart to meet the domestic requirements of villagers and for the others proceedings were started to constitute as reserve forests . The Forest Act was revised in 1326 F and again in 1355 F.

The area of Bidar District had neither working plans nor the working schemes except that some fuel coupes used to be worked tentatively on simple coppice method. The coupes were marked on the maps and after obtaining the sanction of I.G.F . they were auctioned.

The irregular working did much to add to the detoriation rather than to improve the condition of crop and factors of locality. The water table has sunk and scarcity of water is felt, from the beginning of the winter season. Since no provision were made for protection and restocking of the felled areas. The density decreased and soil became much degenerated. For want of tending operations, new shoots of Coppice became congested producing crocked and malformed stems.

Forests in Bidar Division can be classified under two sub groups namely 5A-Souther tropical dry deciduous forests and 6A-Southern tropical thorn forests, as per the classification of Champion and Seth (1968) in their "A revised survey of the forest types of India". Accordingly, the following forest types are found in Bidar forest division

Sub Groups 5A : Southern tropical dry deciduous forest.

Type 5A/C1 : Dry teak bearing forest

Sub Type 5A/C1a : Very dry teak forest

Type 5A/C3 : Southern dry mixed deciduous forest

Type 5/DS1 : Southern tropical dry deciduous forest

Sub Group 6A/C1 : Southern tropical thorn forest

The forests coming in this group will have uneven upper canopy and not very dense canopy cover. The species present in this group are deciduous during dry season. Many of them will remain leafless for long duration, usually for several months. The lower canopy is almost entirely deciduous. Although evergreen species are present, they are inconspicuous and mainly confined to the moist localities. Undergrowth of shrubs is present. Grass appears in the open spaces or where light falls on the ground.

This type is met with throughout the Indian peninsula, with the exception of the western Ghats where the rainfall exceeds 1,900 mm. The annual mean maximum temperature lies between 29C to 35C and annual mean minimum temperature between 18C and 23C. The typical annual rainfall for the type is 1,000 to 1,300 mm. The greater part of the area under dry deciduous forests is undulating and generally comprises of hills of low or medium height.

The canopy is fairly complete and trees are large and well grown unless affected by human interference. It is met with widely in south India. Rainfall varies from 1,000 to 1,250mm.

The rainfall of Bidar forest division varies from 484.73mm to 1,305.8mm (Appendix-IV). The average rainfall is less than 900mm. The soil is lateritic, dry and infertile. Teak is found mixed with dry deciduous species. Ground cover is scanty and seedlings regeneration is practically absent. Grazing incidence is heavy. This type of forest is found in Changlair, Karpakpalli and Karakanalli forests.

The following species occur naturally in these forests:

Tectona grandis, chloroxylon swietenia, Buchanania lanzan, Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus lalifolia, Albissiz amara etc.,

Thorny plants occur and tend to increase in proportion with heavy grazing, etc., to which most of the area is subjected. Bamboos are absent. Grass is conspicuous till it is grazed down or burnt-out. Climbers are few, These forests are found in saalebeeranali, Tumakunta, Changlair, Akkampet, Karakanalli, and Karpakpalli forests of Humanabad range and Bagdal, shahapur, Kamthana and Honnadi forests of Bidar range. Rainfall varies from 875 mm to 1,125mm

The most characteristic tree is Anogeissus latifolia, whilst Terminalia tomentosa is a very typical associate. Chloroxylon swietenia, Hardwickia binata, Boswellia serrata and soymida febrifuga are very widespread and useful indicators. The other species found are Buchnania lanzan, Madhuca indica, Buttea monosperma, Albizzia amara, Albizzia lebbek, Emblica officinalis, Acacia catechu, Terminalia bellerica, Ficus glomerata, Semicarpus anacardium, Pongamia pinnata, Pterocarpus santalinus, Cassia fistula, Azadirachta indica, Tectona grandis etc.,

Wrightia tinctoria, Lantana camara, Dodonia viscosa (Bandarki), Baliospermum montana (Danti), Diospyras melonoxyon (Tumri), Acacia latronum (Hottejali) etc.,

This type is characterized by shrub growth, 3-6m high, including some tree species reduced to similar conditions, usually many-stemmed from the base due to heavy human and cattle interference. Many of lthe shrubs are unpalatable to cattle (Holarrhena, Dodonaea) or thorny (Randia, /Carrissa). Thin grass occurs throughout. The stunted growth of trees is directly attributed to maltreatment, felling, grazing, lopping and frequent fires. These forest are found in Ladwanthi, Kohinoor, Algood and manhalli forests Basavakalyan range.

Acacia catechu, Acacia leucophloea, wrightia tinctoria, Zizyphus xylopyrus, cassia fistula, Annona species , Azadirachta indica, Butea monosperma, Chloroxylon switenia, Albizzia amara etc.,

Acacia catechu in one of its forms (A catechu, A catechuoides, A chundra) is invariably present, often as the predominant species. With it are associated several other Acacias and allied thorny mimosas, and usually Zizyphus, whilst stunted specimens of the trees of the dry deciduous forestn are scattered in varying numbers throughout, notable among these being Anogeissus latifolia, soymida febrifuga and the like.

This type is found in Dahnura, Khanapur, Kosam forests of Bhalki range and Shahapur Honnikery forest of Bidar range.

The forest in Humnabad range, adjoining Chincholi taluka of Gulbarga district represents the southern most edge of occurrence of central Indian forest types with Mohwa (Hippe) and Chloroxylon. The area around Changlair is also rich in medicinal plants. Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) has established a Medicinal Plant Conservation Are (MPCA) in Karpakpalli village of Humnabad taluk.

The MPCA is named after the village Karpakpalli, located about 45 kms south of Bidar. It is apart of Saidapur Reserve forest. Situated at an altitude of 600-700 meters the MPCA is spread over about 150 hectares. The terrain is undulating and vegetation is dry deciduous scrub type. It is the northern most member of the Medicinal plants conservation network established by the Karnataka forest department and the FRLHT jointly. The uniqueness of the MPCA is characterized by representation of the medicinal flora of the driest regions of the southern India.

The vegetation is dry deciduous scrub type, with most of it being stunted due to harsh climatic and edaphic factors. The terrain is criss-crossed by a few small seasonal streams, which go dry soon after the monsoon. The MPCA offers a tapestry of about 289 species of flowering plants. Common tree species in the drier parts are Albizzia amara, Madhuca latifolia, Buchnania lanzan, Butea frondosa, Ficus bengalensis and wrightia sp. etc., Along the nallahs occur Terminalia arjuna and syzigium sp. shrubs include Gymnosporia, lxora, Nyctanthes and Nizyphus oenopia etc.,

Overall about 193 medicinal plant species area found in the MPCA. Most important are Gloriosa superba, pterocaprus santalinus, Hollorhina antidyssentrica, Santalum album etc.; Presence of large number of medicinal plant species has helped the locals to take the advice of Nati vaidyas in the surrounding villages in case of any health problem.

The MPCA also harbors a number of RET species viz. Buchnania, santalam album, Andrographis paniculata, Celastrus paniculatus, etc., It is home to highly endangered species pterocarpus santalinus the Rakta chandana and Gloriosa superba.

The area being highly valuable to the locals for medicinal plants a local intitiative to protect the highly valuable plant species in Karpakpally MPCA with active participation of the local villagers is also underway. An NGO Kriyasheela Geleyaru is involved in organizing local children and women disseminating knowledge about the locally available medicinal plants and the need to protect the eco system.

The southern and eastern parts of Bidar district support the growth of Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) which is highly valued and sought after. Owing to its dark red to almost black wood it is largely used for carving and ornamental work. The wood is in much demand for carved house posts. It is used in making musical instruments in Japan. The sap was formerly used as dye and water kept in wooden containers made of Red Sanders is believed to cure diabetes. Red Sanders timber is a very good foreign exchange earner.

Red Sanders has a very restricted natural range extending over an area of only 6000 sq. milies in south eastern portion of the Indian Peninsula. Its principal home is in Sheshachalam hills of Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh and North Arcot district of Tamil Nandu besides southern and eastern parts of Bidar district.

Right of way over Forest roads, cart tracks and foot paths, rights of worship at the shrines situated in forest areas, right to use the water in jungle streams are admitted as per notifications. Rights to forest produce are admitted as detailed in notifications.

Out of the total forest area of 435 sq.kms in the division more than 50 percent of the area is concentrated in Humnabad range, followed by Bidar range (20%) and Basavakalyan range. Aurad range is having the smallest area under the forest.

Viewed from the point of area under forests, the out-turn of forest produce and the revenue from forests Bidar division is not endowed with quality forest wealth. Out of the total geographical area of 5448 sq.kms in Bidar division an extent of 435.9 sq.kms under forests. In other words this accounts for about 8.5 percent of the total geographical area. Area under forests in the division is very much below the state average.

There is not much diversity in the wildlife found in the division. There are no wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the division. The forests do not sustain varieties of animal. However leopards may be seen occasionally far from human habitations. Wolves, spotted deer, wild boar, hares, wild cats and jackals are also seen.

Wild life in the district consists of Black bucks, Spotted Deer, Porcupines, Foxes, Jackals,Wild boars, Langursetc. In addition varied bird life like Peacocks & Partridgesetc also exists.

The existing natural water holes have to be developed by desilting. Herds of spotted deer and peafowl are found in Kamathana, Chitta, Shahapur and Godepalli forest areas. Poaching of deer in these areas is common. Hence, protection should be given to these animals. Salt licks should be provided in the above areas to increase their population. Wild boars and porcupines area also found in the above areas. Creation of wild life sanctuary may be contemplated in future when the number of wildlife increases. Some of the bigger sized trees act as a roosting place for peacocks, which is the national bird of India. Such trees should be protected. The following forests support considerable wildlife:

1.Narayanapur reserved forest in Basavakalyan range.

2.Dubalgundi and Benchincholi forest blocks in Humanabad range.

3.Kosam,Khanapur and Dhanura forests in Bhalki range.

There are two subdivisions headquartered at Bidar and Basavakalyan headed by the respective Asst. Conservators of Forests and five territorial Ranges viz. Bidar, Humnabad, Aurad, Basavakalyan and Bhalki headed by the respective Range Forest Officers. Below RFOs the executive staff consists of Section Foresters and Beat Guards.

The Ministerial staff is headed by a Gazetted Manager and a Superintendent. The total sanctioned posts under various categories is 87 out of which 85 are filled up. For details please refer to the annexure.

This division has got very few vehicles. They include one Ambassador car allotted to the DCF, two jeeps allotted to the ACFs, one lorry and one tractor. In addition there are four water tankers without engine allotted to different ranges for watering the plantations. Almost all the vehicles are outdated and very old requiring frequent maintenance.

The division is implementing a variety of plan and non-plan schemes under state sector. However most of the budget for afforestation comes under the Japan aided JBIC- Eastern plains Project. For details please refer to the annexure .

There are 12 departmental nurseries in the division . In these nurseries seedlings for use in the departmental plantations and public distribution are being raised. In addition there are also decentralised nurseries. During the last year 4.093 lks seedlings were raised through the DCNs. An entire network of nurseries exists in the division with a vision to have at least one nursery – big or small, departmental or decentralised, in each hobli. It has been done to ensure that for their requirement of seedlings people do not have to travel long distances.

To gauge the requirement & the kind of seedlings preferred by the people every year a thorough Demand Survey is carried out selecting a part of the hobli .The data is documented and only such seedlings are raised as desired by the people.

During the current year 11.763 lakhs seedlings have been planted – 6.638 lks for the departmental planting and 5.125 lks by way of distribution and sale to people & institutions for planting in their own private lands. During this year about Rs. 2.5 lks has been collected by way of sale of the seedlings.

During the current year target is to raise 7.514 lks seedlings for departmental planting and 4.5 lks for public distribution. In the nurseries compost pits have been made to use the highly fertile compost in the nurseries. A detailed list of the departmental and decentralised nurseries & Demand Survey report for this year is available in annexures .

During the current year as against a target of 1865 ha , 2068 ha area has been afforested under various schemes. Major afforestation activities have been taken up under the JBIC project and the centrally sponsored Integrated Afforestation and Eco-developement Project ( IAEP).

There is a target to bring another 1165 ha of land under afforestation in the next year for which advance works are already under way. Along with raising plantations on the government lands new measures have been taken up to popularise planting among the local people. ADOPTED VILLAGES AND DEMONSTRATION PLOTS are such schemes.

Adoption of Villages by the forest department started from last year. Involvement of the local villagers right from planning to planting and aftercare is the key element in this scheme. The villagers are motivated to take up planting on their backyards & agricultural fields. Detailed house to house survey is done and a list of seedlings required by the villagers is prepared. After the survey villagers are requested to keep the pits ready, a day is fixed and the seedlings of the preferred kind only are supplied to the villagers free of cost and planted through the villagers .They are also briefed about the aftercare of the seedlings. This way it is assured that seedlings are planted properly without any wastage. The role of the forest department in this is just motivating the villagers and supplying the seedlings of the villagers’ choice. In most of the cases the villagers have shown preference for Badam, Mango, Neem, Drumsticks, Lemon etc for planting in their backyards and Teak, Tamarind, Eucalyptus, Mango etc in their agricultural fields.

During the last year whereas 10 villages were covered under this scheme, during the current year 36 have been adopted and about 50000 seedlings planted in these villages under OECF project. Another 105 villages have been covered under the Suvarn Jayanti Scheme.

This scheme has helped forestry to be extended to the local households and very high positive response has been received from the people. The success rate of the planted seedlings in the adopted villages is also very high.

This experiment was also started from the last year. The idea was to create some nuclei of farm forestry where people could come and see for themselves the benefits of the farm forestry, the species available, the different models and the overall economy of farm forestry , and take it up in their own lands. To begin with a number of big farmers having irrigated lands have been motivated to practice farm forestry on their lands. Free seedlings of their choice have been provided & planted on these plots. In a number of cases these farmers have responded enthusiastically investing in raising a barbed wire fence and in some cases even drip irrigation.

During the current year 12 Demonstration plots have been established all over the division and about 10000 seedlings of Tamarind, Mango (grafted), Drumsticks, Karibevu, Lime, Teak, Madival bamboo etc. planted. For detailed list of these demonstration plots please refer to the annexure.

It is hoped that these twin schemes of adopted villages & Demonstration Plots will help in Green Revolution by taking the forestry to the doorstep of each villager.

The total number of the Village Forest Committees registered in the division is 21. In all these VFCs elections have been held and Management Committees established. Out of these PRA exercise has been completed in 10 VFCs and the Management Plans prepared, in close interaction with the villagers. In these VFCs where Management Plans have been finalised, entry point activities are being taken up. They include forestry as well as non forestry activities. To ensure the viability of the VFCs they are being involved in activities like village planting & decentralised nurseries etc. 2 fruit orchards have been raised in T. Mirzapur & Shahpur villages to be handed over to the VFCs. In addition wherever VFCs are not viable, the villagers are being involved in OECF works through regular interaction with them by way of frequent meetings.

A new initiative in eco-tourism has been taken in the division in the form of establishing Shahpur Prakruti Vihar. This is about 6 kms from the city & is a part of the Shahpur Reserved Forest. About 150 ha area has been enclosed. It has a Forest Information Centre, Ritucharya- the tourist huts, Dev-Dev Vana, Tathagat the Forest rest House & watch Tower etc. In the Dev-Dev vana a number of sacred grooves have been created with a number of fountains & landscaping. In Ritucharya tourist huts have been made using the locally available materials. It has got a very rural environment. In the Information Centre information about forests is displayed by way of Paintings, Charts, Photographs & posters etc.

It is heartening to see that the forest where hardly anybody went is today echoing with the sounds of the visitors – most of them being the students of schools who throng to the Vihar for picnicking. Daily hundreds of visitors visit the Vihar.

Bidar is not a high revenue earning division . Yearly revenue collections have been in the range of Rs. 10 to 12 lks. Most of the revenue comes from tender cum auction sale of the minor forest produce units viz. tamarind , mango , jamun , beedi leaves , fodder grass etc . A summary of the revenue collected during the last 5 years is appended in Annexure.

Since inception of the division in 1974 large scale plantations have been raised. So far about 14000 ha plantations have been raised on all kinds of govt. lands . They include block plantations , roadsides , school forestry , social security plantations etc. It is estimated that about 5372 ha of fuelwood plantations raised before 1988-89 are ready for harvest. They are estimated to yield about 1 lk Cmtrs of pulpwood and 13750 Cmtrs of timber. A detailed working scheme to extract these plantations over the next 5 years has been prepared and submitted to the government for approval. Through the extraction of these plantations substantial revenue will be earned .