Information on Forest Management of Karbi Anglong District
SACRED GROVES , RONGHANG RONGBONG, HAMREN
1. INTRODUCTION :
1.1 It has the total geographical area of 10,434 sq. K.M.s. Which accounts for 13.3% of the total geographical area of the State. It mostly consists of undulating and hilly terrain with numerous rivers and streams.
1.2 The district can be broadly divided into two physiographic units viz. hills and plains. About 85 percent of the district is covered by the hills. The highest peak in the district rises to a height of 1360 meters. The area located between the northern and southern hills in Diphu sub-division is characterised by undulating plains of subdued relief. The plain areas consist of valleys of the Jamuna, Kapili and Dhansiri rivers lying in its eastern part. Besides these three major rivers of the district, other minor streams include Kaliani, Barapani, Patradisa and Dikharu. The landscape ecological studies of forests of Karbi Anglong indicate a high amount of landscape heterogeneity promoting greater bio-diversity. These forest areas are natural museums of living giant trees, a treasure house of rare, endemic and endangered species, a dispensary of medicinal plants , a garden for Botanists, a gene bank for economically important organisms, a paradise for nature lovers and a laboratory for environmentalists.
1.3 According to 1991 Census, the population of Karbi Anglong District is 6,63,000 and is dominated by Karbi Tribe. Besides Karbis, Lalungs (Tiwas), Dimasa Kacharis, Rengma Nagas, Kuki, Garos, Khasis and Shyams occupy various pockets of the District and maintain their own ethenic identity.
2. FORESTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE SETUP :
2.1 In pursuance of O.M.No. :HAD. 57/95/309 dated 31-12-1996 from Govt. of Assam, the administrative control of forest department has been transferred to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council while role of the State Government has become advisory in nature. The forest areas are controlled by three territorial divisions namely Karbi Anglong East Division, Karbi Anglong West Division and Hamren Division. Besides, there are three functional divisions namely Northern Afforestation Division, Working Plan division(Hills) and Silvicultural Division (Hills). Each Division is headed by a Divisional Forest Officer. All these divisions are under the supervisory control of Conservator of Forests, Karbi Anglong Circle,Diphu.
2.2 As per the State of Forest report 1999 of Forest Survey of India , Dehradun, 6044 sq. Kms. of the district are under dense forest cover while 2776 sq. kms are under open forest cover. The important forest types found in Karbi Anglong District are :-
1. Moist semi-evergreen forests ( 2BC 1/b and 2 BC)
2. Moist Mixed Deciduous forests (3C/C 3b)
3. Riverain Type
4. Miscellaneous type with scattered pure or mixed patches of bamboos.
2.3 Moist Semi-evergreen forests are widely prevalent in the district and have commercially important species like Badam, Amari, Cham, Tita Sopa, Nahar, Bhelu, Gomari, Poma, Bonsum, Dhuna, Myrobalans, Bhola and Bon Am etc. in the top canopy. Mixed moist Deciduous Forests have Haldu, Bohera, Simul, Ghogra, Azhar, odal, Outenga etc. in the top canopy. Riverain Type of forest occupies the localities with alluvial soil of more recent origin in the vicinity of rivers and streams of the district. The common species of importance are Khair, Sissoo, Simul, Urium, Kokoli etc. Miscellaneous type of forest comprises of Amari, Sopa, Cham, Bonsum, Bogipoma, Gonsoroi, Dhuna and Hingori etc. Principal species of Bamboos are Dendrocalamus hamiltonii ( Kako) and Bambusa tulda (Jati) besides a small proportion of other bamboos. Kako and Jati bamboos are mostly harvested by Hindustan Paper Corporation , Jagiroad. The forests of Karbi Anglong are extensive and rich in minor forest produces like Cane, Patidoi, Dhuna, Agar, Ekra, Thatches, Barks of Baghnala, Laham, Dalchini, Patihunda, Rema, Satkora and a variety of medicinal plants.
2.4 LEGAL STATUS OF FOREST LAND :
Though a large part of Karbi Anglong District is covered with thick forest cover but the legal status of notified forest area is as under :-
1. State Reserved forests :- 1962.06 Sq. Kms.
2. District Council Reserved Forests :- 1011.26 Sq. Kms.
3. Proposed Reserved Forests :- 1317.01 Sq. Kms.
Division-Wise details of notified forest area are given in Annexure-1.
From the above statement it is evident that only 41.12% of geographical area of Karbi Anglong is under forest cover and some of these also need improvement and restocking. Upto 8th Plan 63,605 Hectares of plantation as per details given in Annexure-II comprising of Teak (Tectona grandis), Gamari (Gmelina arborea), Titasopa (Michelia champaca) Simul (Bombax ceiba), Udal (Sterculia villosa) Ajhar (Lagerstroemia flos- reginae) and Pine (Pinus khasya) etc. have been planted in the district to augument the green cover. As per National Forest Policy, it is required to have minimum 60% of geographical area in the hilly terrain under forest cover to maintain proper ecological balance. Accordingly, a moderate plantation target of 20,000 hectares during 9th Five Year Plan period was fixed with annual target of 4000 hectares but due to meager fund allocation the proposed target could not be achieved and only 7536 Hectares of plantations could be taken up against the target of 20000 Hectares during the 9th plan.
The vast tract of hilly slopes also have been badly denuded due to practice of Jhum cultivation, as local tribals still practise this tradition though efforts are being made to permanently settle them by raising cash crop etc. through IJDP programmes. Because of the fragmentation of habitat and increasing human population, there are recurring incidences of conflict between man and wildlife in the district. The conflict is mainly with the elephant, which by virtue of its being a large herbivore has large ranging distance and it frequently comes into conflict with the human beings during the crop harvesting season when it raids the paddy and sugarcane crops of the district. The resultant conflict culminates in many human deaths and sometimes , as a reprisal, a few elephant deaths as well.
ALSTONIA SCHOLARIS PRESERVED AT RONGHANG RONGBONG (SACRED GROVERS)
KARBI KING AT RONGBONG, HAMREN
The important objectives of Forest Department are :-
>To achieve the goal of bringing 60% of geographical area under forest cover by creating more reserved forests and extending tree cover over degraded lands.
>Afforestation of degraded and ecologically unstable catchment areas.
>Increase the bio-mass in the degraded and poorly stocked areas in order to increase the water and soil holding capacity of soil and thereby reducing soil and water erosion.
>Re-stocking of jhum abandoned areas under forest cover to check soil erosion.
>To manage the existing forests on sustainable basis as per working plan prescriptions.
>To increase to productivity of forests per unit area per unit time for augmenting productio of forests produce to meet industrial and house hold demands.
>To meet the requirement of fuel , fodder and small timber of local people and to augument the income of local people by sustainable harvesting of minor forest produces through joint forest management.
>To create sanctuaries and bio-sphere reserves to provide habitat for survival and multiplication of wild flora and fauna and to preserve the genepool and the unique bio-diversity of this area.
4. Developmental Activities :-
4.1 The territorial Divisions are entrusted with the over all task of protection and management of forests and wild-life. They carry out extraction of Timber and other forest produces and earn revenue for the Council exchequer. They are engaged in extensive plantation works, improving infrastructure and conservation of flora and fauna. Plantation Schemes undertaken by territorial divisions are Teak Plantations, Rehabilitation of degraded forests, Ply-Wood plantations , Match-Wood plantations and Bamboo Plantations.
4.2 Northern Afforestation Division is entrusted with plantations of quick Growing Species and Social Forestry Plantations.
4.3 Working Plan Division,Hills, is entrusted with the task of preparation of Working plan for scientific management of forests of the District.Field survey and collection of data has already been completed and compilation of Working Plans of Karbi Anglong East Division, Karbi Anglong West Division, Hamren Division and Bamboo Management Plan are under progress.
4.4 The Silvicultural Division, Hills, is involved in research work to find out suitable management practices, crop combinations and appropriate methods for tree culture. There are two botanical gardens maintained by this division. Besides, this division is entrusted with the task of cultivation of medicinal and rare plants.
5. CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF WILDLIFE AREAS :
5.1 Karbi Anglong is rich in varied wild life. In areas adjoining Kaziranga National Park, one-horned rhinoceros, wild buffaloes and Bisons are very common. Tigers (Dhekiapatia), Leopard (Nahor Phutuki), Wolf (Kukurnesia) and Bears (Bhaluk) are met in almost every part of the district. Elephants are fairly common especially near the hills and when the crops are ripening, they do much damages. Reports of Wild stray elephants, particularly solitary Dantals and Makhana Gundas attacking passers by or killing villagers and damaging crops by herds are common features. Deers are also available. Monitor Lizard (Gui) and pythons (Aajagar) are also common.
5.2 The avifauna includes many colourful birds living in forests and swamps. Birds frequently spotted are Great Himalayan Hornbill, Imperial Pigeon (Parghuma), Green Pigeon (Haitha), Emerald dove, Hill partridges, Jungle fowl, Pheasant, Hoopoe,Koel,King Fisher, Storks,Herons,Pelicans,Wood Pecker,Mynas,Yellow bittern,Egrets etc.
5.3 Though rich in varied fauna, Karbi Anglong District was not having any sanctuary or protected area. It was during 1999-2000 that the Council Authority was apprised of the Govt. of India Norms wherein at least 4% of the geographical area must be notified as Wild-life area. At present already 4 sanctuaries have been notified covering an area of 360.86 sq. Kms. which roughly forms 3.49% of the district geographical area. Besides, Marat Longri Wild life Sanctuary covering an area of 451.87 sq. Kms has also been proposed. The details are as given below :-
A. Nambor Wildlife Santuary :-
The Govt. of Assam vide their Notification No. FEW.57/99/38 dated 27-07-2000 have notified the "Nambor Santuary" with an area of 37 Sq. KM. in Silonijan Civil Circle under Bokajan Sub-Division (Civil) under Karbi Anglong East Forest Division, Diphu in Karbi Anglong District under Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. The Wildlife Sanctuary is situated with its Northern boundary along the western and southern boundary of Garampani Wildlife Santuary upto Dhansiri River.
For effective management and conservation of Wildlife in this Sanctuary area proper infrastructure development, habitat manipulation and improvement etc. are required to be done on priority basis. The proposal for sanction of fund for construction of patrolling roads,camps,Watch Towers, purchase of wireless sets, development of water sources, purchase of vehicle etc. has already been submitted to the Government.
B. East Karbi Anglong Wildlife Santuary :-
The Govt. of Assam vide their Notification No. FRW.57/99/51 dated 27-07-2000 have notified the "East Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary" in Silonijan Circle (Civil) under Karbi Anglong East Forest Division, Diphu in Karbi Anglong District under Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council with an area of 221.81 Sq. Km.
The boundary of this Santuary is the external boundary of Mikir Hills Reserve Forests and its addition notified vide No.5B dated 17-10-1878 and No.24 dated 7-10-1882 respectively already delineated on the survey of India toposheets with well described boundaries.
C. Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary :-
The Govt. of Assam have notified the "Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary " in Duar Mauza under Bokajan Sub-Division under Karbi Anglong East Forest Division , Diphu under Karbi Anglong Autonomous council vide their Notification No. FRW.57/99/42 dated 27/07/2000 with an area of 96 Sq. K.M.
For development and management of this Wildlife Sanctuary , sufficient fund will be required for various developmental activities including infrastructure, purchase of vehicles ,communication and wireless network, etc and a proposal to that effect has already been submitted.
D. Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary :-
The present Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary was notified during 1952 vide notification No, FR. 199/52 dated 10/07/52 with an area of 6Sq. K.M. The entire sanctuary is situated within the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council area and is full of rare and endangered flora and fauna.
For effective management and control of Wildlife in this sanctuary area and in light of the fact that there is very heavy biotic pressures near this sanctuary in Golaghat District , it is very essential to develop proper infrastructure to save the present sanctuary area and its proposed extension area in the long run. For development of infrastructure like construction of protection path on its out skirts, construction of camps at strategic locations, construction of temporary watch towers and bridges etc., a proposal for sanction of fund has already been submitted.
E. Marat Longri Wildlife Sanctuary :-
Considering the present bio-diversity of the area and recognizing the need to conserve the sensitive ecosystem of this region , initial notification constituting this area as Wildlife Sanctuary was issued by Karbi Anglong District Council under Mikir Hill District Forest Act during 1997 . However , in view of presence of Central Act on the subject , a proposal was forwarded to Govt. of Assam through Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Assam for its formal notification under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Incorporating desired modifications as requested by Chief Conservator of Forests ( Wildlife) Assam, the proposal has been resubmitted vide Council's letter No. KAC/F/M.L.WI Sanctuary/99-2000/1742 Dated 25/06/99 for formal notification by the Govt. of Assam through Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Assam.
The proposal of Marat Longri Wildlife Sanctuary with proposed area of 451.87 Sq.K.M. is quite rich in floral and faunal composition ,and comprises of 4 (four) important Reserve Forests namely Miyungdisa (D.C.R.F.), Disama (R.F.), Kaki(R.F.) and Englongkiri (D.C.R.F.). The important wildlife species found inside proposed sanctuary include Asiatic Elephant ,Royal Bengal Tiger , Binturong, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer ,Hoollock gibbon, etc. and a variety of avifauna.
This wildlife sanctuary has adequate ecological , floral, faunal, geomorphological, natural and zoological significance and will go a long way in augmenting the conservation measures and protecting and conserving the valuable forests of this hill district . This proposed Wildlife Sanctuary is adjacent to Dhansiri Reserve Forests which is one of the largest Reserve Forests in Asia and is also quite rich in floral and faunal composition.
Out of the 4 (four) Reserve Forests constituting this proposed sanctuary Miyungdisa and Englongkiri are D.C.R.Fs.where local tribals have limited cultivation rights since constitution and notification of these D.C.R.Fs. during Seventies. It is proposed to bring these tribal people from the core area to the fringes and rehabilitate them along Diphu-Lumding Road through I.J.D.P., Eco-Development projects , fund from I.F.A.D. projects and Council budget for preservation of this sensitive eco-system on sustainable basis and to solve the problem of man-animal conflict. In addition there are some illegal jhum areas which are to be restocked by intensive afforestation efforts . Appropriate habitat management practices are to be adopted for proper management of endangered species inhabiting this area for which proposals have been submitted. There is an addional 44.37 Sq. K.M. forest areas under Lankaijan U.S.F. which is quite rich in floristic composition and will be subsequently added to this proposed sanctuary in due course.
5.4. For conservation of habitat of elephant and to reduce man-animal conflict , proposal to Govt. of India is being submitted for habitat management of all the R.Fs; D.C.R.Fs; And P.R.Fs under Elephant Project. These measures will go a long way in conservation of unique flora and fauna of this District.
Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council is taking rapid strides in the scientific and sustainable management of forest resources of the district. Complete ban has been imposed on green felling since 1995. Survey of forest areas for sustainable harvesting of timbers and minor forest produces in perpetuity to meet genuine developmental and local needs has been conducted and compilation of Working Plans are under progress. More protected areas are being notified to conserve the genepool and bio-diversity of the District. Ethnobotanical studies under the guidance of Dr. S.K.Borthakur of Botany Department ,Guahati University have been taken up to gather the indigenous knowledge of various tribes in Karbi Anglong who have co-existed with forests since times immemorial and a botanical garden for ex-situ conservation of these resources has been set up at Diphu. These measures will go a long way in conservation of precious flora and fauna of forests of Karbi Anglong . Let all of us join together to conserve our forest resources because "genetic resources and bio-diversity are the national properties of each nation ."