Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grasslands of Kanha

Much talked about its tigers, Kanha National Park is an ecosystems which harbors vivid diversity of life forms. It is a true biodiversity conservation center. The topography of the park is unique with rising Maikal Hills enveloped by dense forest of Sal and Bamboo at places interspersed with grassy meadows, lakes and small rivers. Unlike Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh have less of mixed forest zones. Sal and Bamboo are prevalent in most of the forested zones of the park.

Kanha is famous for not only tigers but it's magnificent fauna which boasts of twenty two species. The mouse deer was recently sighted here though earlier reporting where not confirmed. The most visible elements of faunal diversity are the herbivores - the main prey base of tiger, leopard and wild dog.

Kanha National Park - Meadows

The grasslands of Kanha are extensive and many in number. They are a habitat for number of grass species like themeda triandra, Sachrum munja and Bothriocloa odrata to name a few. These grass species are crucial to the survival of herbivores especially the Hard Ground Barasinga or the Hard Ground Swamp Deer (Cervus duavcelli branderi).

Most of the grasslands are edaphic, they were in much declined state due human settlements there. The water logging of soil prevented the growth of perennial woody plants but the grasses grew well. There has been miraculous improvement in the health of these grasslands after the villages were relocated out of Kanha National Park.

The most popular grasslands or meadows in Kanha are the Kanha meadow, Saunf which is the breeding ground of Barsinghas, meawdows at Parsa Tola, Kisli, Supkhar, Bamani Dadar and many more. The grasslands bordering Saundhar Taloa and Bisanpura Talao (Wetlands) are habitats favored by the Barasingha. The Chital or spotted deer are ubiquitous, while Sambar deer are nocturnal and shy. The bisons are coarse feeders but climb down the hills to feed in the grasslands in summers.

The meadows are an integral part of Kanha landscape apart from being habitat for many life form including the herbivores - the main prey base of the tigers in India. The grassy meadows add charm and enchantment to Kanha landscape and make it picturesque - as the park is.

The health of grasslands in Kanha is vital for the survival of prey species. Though there is no danger from humans now, the intrusion of lyndia tree is a source of worry for the park managers. The ecotone harbors lots of Lyndia tree which are slowly intruding into the meadows. Should there be human intervention or should nature take it's own course???

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