Simlipal Biosphere

Simlipal Biosphere

Introduction:

Similipal forest range is a symbol of reverence and awe. It has the appeal of a religious sanctity, a coherent bond of cultural assimilation and a perennial source of livelihood. The massif hills rising very precipitously from the plains of Baripada and Udala extend as far as Jashipur in North and Bisoi in the East and Thakurmunda in the West covering a total area of 2750 sq kms. with their innumerable crests and valleys and perennial streams. The Khairiburu, in South Similipal, amidst the group of hills is 1,178 mts. whereas Meghasani is 1,165 mts. High.

Geographical Location:

Similipal is located between latitude 20°17′ N and 22° 34′ N and longitude: 85°40′ E – 87°10′ E. Headquarter for management of Similipal is in the Office of the Conservator of Forests and Field Director at Baripada on NH-5 in Mayurbhanj district. Entry points to Similipal are at Pithabata, 20km from Baripada on the eastern side and Kalika Prasad 15km from Jashipur on NH-6 on the western side. Baripada and Jashipur are approachable from Calcutta, Jamshedpur and Bhubaneswar.

The elevation in the central region at Dhudurchampa is 1000.8 mts., that of it in the North at Chahala is 774.5 mts. It is a unique habitat of mixed tropical forests in the Northern plateau of Orissa. The reserved forest area of 2,200 sq. kms. has been declared as a sanctuary since 1979. The core area of 845.70 sq. kms. within the sanctuary area has been gazetted under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.1972 as the SimilipalNational Park. During 1994, the Similipal forest has been declared as a Biosphere Reserve by Government of India due to its bio-diversity and rich natural heritage.

Biodiversity:

The biodiversity of Similipal reserve forests with its typical ecosystems is a treasure house of varieties of flora and fauna. The forest is said to contain more than 1300 flowering plants, out of a total of 3,000 species found in the state. About 200 varieties medicinal plants are in Similipal. Sal exists in high proportions. The forest is the store house of terrestrial and epiphytic orchids. These are a class of climate sensitive species, which disappear with modifications in the habitat. Out of 126 orchids found in the state 90 are in the Similipal system. Many of the species are facing a threat due to modifications of the ecosystem, and have entered the IUCN Red Data Book as vulnerable, threatened, endangered, rare & indeterminate.  Apart from tigers, the Similipal reserve boasts of 134 tuskers, 309 female elephant, and 64 baby elephant, 428 wild dogs, 305 bear, 4500 kutras, 3500 deer, 950 busks. It is the international recognition as one of the first nine prime areas for tiger and elephant conservation and for being one of the first eight Biosphere Reserves of India. It is one of the most promising landscapes for tigers, elephant and their prey species.

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