What is the News?
A massive forest fire broke out in the Simlipal Biosphere Reserve in Odisha. The core area of the biosphere was untouched by the fire. However, the fire is threatening to damage its rich biodiversity.
About Similipal Biosphere Reserve:
- Location: Simlipal is a national park and a tiger reserve located in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. It is the 7th largest national park in India. It lies in the eastern end of the Eastern Ghat.
- Part of: The Park is part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve. It includes three Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Origin of Name: The park derives its name from ‘Simul’ which are red silk cotton trees growing in the area.
- Flora: The park has a high biodiversity with about 94 species of orchids and 3,000 species of plants. Among them, Sal is a dominant tree species in the park.
- Fauna: The park is home to the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, gaur, and chausingha. It is also home to some beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani Falls.
- UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: The park was declared a biosphere reserve by the Government of India in 1994. It is a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009.
- Tribes: The two tribes namely Erenga Kharias and the Mankirdias inhabit the reserve’s forests and practice traditional agricultural activities. Other dominant tribes include the Ho, Gonda, and Munda among others.
Reasons for Forest Fires in the Simlipal National Park: The forest fires seemed to be both due to natural causes and human-made causes:
- Natural causes such as lighting or even soaring temperatures can sometimes result in these fires. Moreover, the forests of Similipal are of dry deciduous type and the fallen leaves become highly inflammable if there is no precipitation.
- Man Made Causes:
- Poaching and hunting: the poachers set a small patch of forest on fire to divert the wild animals. It can lead to forest fires.
- Forest areas are set on fire by the villagers to clear the dry leaves on the ground for easy collection of mahua flowers. These flowers are used to prepare a drink that is addictive in nature.
Source: Indian Express