Pench Tiger Reserve...

The Pench Forest

The forests of Pench Tiger Reserve support a wide variety of flora and fauna.
It represents the floral and faunal wealth of 'Satpuda-Maikal landscape' a unique bio-geographical unit having great ecological significance in central India.
These areas have diverse plant community comprising different forest types and species diversity.
The major forest type existing in the Reserve areas is the "Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests" grouped as 5A based on the revised classification of Champion and Seth.
The prominent forest sub-types existing in the Reserve areas have been classified, as follows.

  • Dry Teak Bearing Forest-5A/C/i/V
  • Southern Dry Deciduous mixed Forest -5A/C-3

The undulating topography support mosaic of vegetation ranging from moist sheltered valleys to open dry deciduous forests.
The forest in composition and structure epitomize the Mixed High Forest with high density, comprising layers of overwood, underwood, bamboo, shrubs, herbs grasses and climbers.
The area is a living repository of over 2000 species of plants and, hence forms a suitable abode for a wide variety of faunal species of this region.
This region includes several rare and endangered plants as well as plants of ethno-botanical significance.

Pench Flora
The Pench Tiger Reserve supports a wide variety of flora.
The floristic composition of vegetation of Pench Tiger Reserve comprises of different species of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses constituting different layers of habitat suitable for different faunal species. The prominent trees species are Teak, and its associates, namely Ain, Dhaoda, Haldu, Kalam, Lendia, Garari, Salai, Mowai, Kulu, Tendu, Moha, Hirda, Behada, Achar, Amaltas, Anjan, Apta, Aola, Arjun, Bad, Bel, Bamboo, etc. and host of other species of medicinal significance.
The ground cover comprises of varieties of shrubs, herbs and grasses, thereby, constituting an ideal habitat for variety of insects, birds and herbivore species.
The species composition of different layers of habitat is given as follows:

Overwood : The top layer comprises of Teak and its associates such as Anogeissus latifolia, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Terminalia, tomentosa, Boswellia serreta, Lannea coromandelica, Madhuca longifolia, Dalbergia paniculata, Albizia lebbeck, Diopspyrous melanoxylon, Pterocarpus marsupium, Chloroxylon swietenia and sparsely scattered trees of Dalbergia latifolia, Bombax ceiba and Adina cordifolia are also seen.
Syzigium cumini and Terminalia arjuna are found along large water courses, river banks and river beds.

Underwood : : Comprises of Emblica officinalis, Grewia tiliafolia, Careya arborea, Gardenia turgida, Cassia fistula, Gardenia resinifera, Acacia catechu, Butea monosperma, Ziziphus glaberrima, etc. Bamboos occur sparsely in the valleys.

Shrubs:Helicteres isora, Flemingia bracteata, Calycoperis floribunda, Ziziphus oenoplia, Flacourtia indica. Carrisa carandus, Woodfordia fruiticosa, etc are commonly found.

Grasses:Apluda mutica, Degitaria spp. Heteropogon contortus, Themeda quadrivalvis, Cynodon dactylon, etc. usually occur on the ground flora along with many other less prominent grass species.

Underwood Shrubs Grasses
Weeds Herbs Epiphytes

Climbers: Mimosa hemata, Bauhinia vahlii, Butea superba, Abrus precatorius, Asparagus racemosus, Vitex Negundo, Cuscuta, reflexa (Amarwel), etc are common along the river and water sources.

Weeds: Lantana camera is present in low density teak forests near habitations. Parthenium hysterophorus (Congress grass) Tribulus terrestris, Cassia tora, Urena lobota, etc are present along the road sides, nalla beds and water bodies.

Herbs: These are sparse and consist of a few seasonals. Some commonly occurring herbs are Ocimum americanum, Cassia tora, Kalimusali, etc.

Epiphytes: Vanda (Vanda sellata), Bandgul (Dendrophoe falcata,)Vanda(Viscum nepalensis ) are main epyphytes found in moist stretches of Reserve areas.

Pench Fauna:
Wild Inhabitants of Pench Tiger Reserve:
The high habitat diversity of Pench Tiger Reserve favors rich and abundant population of wild animals.
Pench Tiger Reserve serves as the prime habitat of Indian Tiger and Panther, the key species in these areas along with other species of cat family.
The mammalian population comprises of mainly species like Sambhar, Chital, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Gaur, Wildboar, Chausingha, Sloth bear, Wilddog, Langur, Rhesus monkey, Mouse deer, Black naped hare, Jackal, Fox, Hyena, Porcupine, Flying squirrel, etc as well as wide variety of aquatic life, amphibians, reptiles and avi-fauna.
Pench also has very good Tiger density. As per May 2007 wildlife census, there are about 13-15 Tigers, 12 Panthers, and 7620 other individuals, including 310 Gaurs, 966 Sambhars, 2032 Chitals, etc in Pench Tiger Reserve areas. As per the 2010 All India Tiger Monitoring (Monitoring of Tigers,leopard,Co-Predator,Pray and their habitat), Pench landscape was found to have 13 Tigers. However during the Phase IV Monitoring of Tiger carried out, during 2012, initial reports indicate the presence of 14-16 Tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve. Final analysis is being carried out.

33 Species of mammals 164 Species of Birds 50 Species of fishes 10 Species of Amphibians
30 Species of Reptiles
6 Species of endangered status 15 Butterflies 54 moths and other Insects

The fauna of Pench Tiger Reserve includes 33 species of mammals, 164 species of birds, 50 species of fishes, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles of which 6 species are of endangered status, 15 butterflies, 54 moths and numerous other insects.

The birds species includes both the resident and migratory birds namely the Malabar pied and Grey hornbill, Indian pitta, Osprey, Grey headed fishing eagle, White eyed buzzard, White necked stork, Open bill stork, etc.
In winter migratory waterfowl including the Brahminy duck, Poachards, Barheaded geese, Coots etc. visit the Pench Reservoirs and other water bodies in the area.
Four critically endangered vulture species namely, the White-rumped, Long-billied, White scavenger and King vultures are seen in good number in the Reserve areas.


The Water Bodies and Aquatic Life

Pench Tiger Reserve has two larger bodies namely the Meghdoot Reservoir at Totaladoh and Lower Pench Reservoir at Navegaon Khairi, in its vicinity.
These water bodies epitomize two eyes of love-lorn Sakuntala, the epic heroin of Kalidas, in tears, joined by the Pench River meandering through these forests and forming pools of scenic beauty at places.
These water bodies form the lifeline for the wild animals of this area as well as for the inhabitants of this area and the Nagpur city.
They also support rich aquatic life and avi-fauna and sites of natural beauty and tranquility.

Meghdoot Reservoir
Meghdoot reservoir comprises of submergence area to the extended 67.90 of which 19.93 lies in Maharashtra while the remaining 47.96 falls in Madhya Pradesh.

Ambakhori Falls
Ambakhori falls is situated deep inside the Tiger Reserve. This place is at its best in the winter season. Waterfalls and verdant forests are the main attractions of this scenic spot.

Conservation History

The humid tropical forests of Indian subcontinent is known to be the home to Asia's largest predator, the Tiger which is one of many endangered species in today's world.
In the last century, the tiger population in India has experienced a sharp decline. The loss of tiger habitat along with persistent poaching of tigers and their prey are believed to be the primary cause.
With a view to conserving the remaining tiger population and the tiger habitats, Project Tiger was launched in 1973.
Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra was declared India's 25th Tiger Reserve in 1999. Currently, Pench Tiger Reserve has good tiger density, but it is also considered as one of those reserves in the Indian subcontinent, that can potentially host a large tiger population.
The capacity of Reserve for sustaining tiger population depends on the ecological health of the protected area itself, the surrounding area of the forested corridors to other protected areas.
Hence, forest covers must be conserved, both within and the outside the reserve, to maintain the habitat connectivity as isolated forest patches are not suitable for viable tiger or its prey population.
Increasing forest cover within the Reserve boundary is definitely a silver lining, especially in the context of decreasing tiger population worldwide as a result of poaching and habitat destruction; however, the task is not finished yet.
Tiger often roam beyond the administrative boundaries of Reserves, and thus need favorable habitats beyond the Protected Areas.
Lack of proper awareness, human-dominated and modified land uses in areas around reserve may become detrimental to the tiger population
While more care is needed to minimize the human tiger conflicts, local inhabitants should be actively engaged in the conservation. Involvement of local inhabitants can play important role in the conservation effort.
Tigers are flagship species for conservation and are equally important to India and rest of the world.
We must act now to save the charismatic species from extinction.
Study also says that tiger needs inviolate space for breeding and sustaining the viable population.
Effort of Pench management to bring down the tourist pressure within carrying capacity i.e. Around 31,000 Tourist/annum has contributed significantly in creating an inviolate space for tiger. The entire area of tiger Reserve was declared as Critical Tiger Habitat in 2006.
The data of tiger and prey population form the Pench Tiger Reserve Management also suggest that increase in forest cover also helped in increasing the population of tiger and its prey base.

Figure showing classified satellite images of Pench Tiger Reserve in 1977, 1989, 2000, 2007 Green color represents forest, white represents cleared forest and agricultural land, blue represents water bodies.

Map Of Pench Tiger Reserve
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Area of Core Zone:- 257.26 Sq.Km.
It forms the sanctum sanctorum of the Tiger Reserve and extends over to 257.26 sq. Km. forming over 90 percent of the total area.

The entire area of core zone was declared as Critical Tiger Habitats vide resolution No. WLP 10-2007/CR27-F1 dated 07-12-2007.

A major portion of the core areas is contiguous all along its northern boundary to the core area of the Pench Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh, which is under Seoni District on eastern side and Chhindwara District on western side of Pench River.
Area of Buffer Zone:- 483.96 Sq. Km.
483.96 of area was declared as buffer zone vide Government of Maharashtra notification No. WLP 10-10/C.R. 108/F-1 dated 29/09/2010.
It constitutes a strip of forest areas around the Pench Tiger Reserve that has been proposed as protective barriers for the core areas.
Presently these areas are not under the management of the Pench Tiger Reserve.
More than 90 percent of the proposed buffer zone areas constitute reserved forests, whereas, remaining areas are under the private ownership.
Area of Eco-Tourism Zone:- 26.90 Sq. Km.
The Area proposed for nature and wildlife eco-tourism extends over to 26.90 sq. Km. The main objective is to educate the visitors about the significance of conservation of nature and wildlife and to generate awareness and sensitivity about these issues among the general populace.
These areas and routes approaching and connecting these areas have been taken as the prime focus areas for the purpose of promotion of eco-tourism in this area.

Google Map Of Pench Tiger Reserve
View Pench Tiger Project Maharashtar in a larger map
New site is coming soon

Pench Tiger Reserve Division

1) Pench National Park

2) Mansingdeo Wildlife

Bor Wildlife Division

1) Bor Wildlife Sanctuary

2) New Bor Wildlife Sanctuary

3) Umred-Karhandala Wildlife Sanctuary

Pandharkawda Wildlife Division

1) Tipeshwar Sanctuary

2) Painganga Wildlife Sanctuary


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