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| Last Updated:14/11/2018

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Glory of Allapalli' is Maharashtra's first biodiversity heritage site

 NAGPUR: 'Glory of Allapalli', a dense forest patch in Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, has been notified as first biodiversity heritage site in Maharashtra under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, that empowers state government to notify areas of biodiversity importance as biodiversity heritage sites (BHS) in consultation with local bodies.

On March 28, 2013, the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) in its fourth meeting had given in-principle approval to 'Glory of Allapalli' as heritage site. A formal notification was issued on May 21. "Considering its biological, ethnical and historical value, 'Glory of Allapalli' needed to be declared as BHS under Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Now it will brought under scientific management as envisaged under the Maharashtra Biological Diversity Rules, 2008," said Dr Dilip Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF) & member-secretary of MSBB.

Dr Singh informed that considering the crop composition, its uniqueness and being pristine original climax vegetation, a preservation plot was established on six hectare area in 1953 in reserved forest compartment number 76 of Allapalli range of erstwhile Chandrapur division. The spot is located on Allapalli-Bhamragad state highway. It was since then given full protection from fire, grazing and management practices with an intention to maintain the original vegetation and study stages in an ecological succession that may take place in course of time.

Dr Singh informed that the area has number of giant trees with the girth at breast height as higher as 5.61 metres and as tall as 38 metres. It represents typical natural forest with top canopy, middle canopy, lower canopy and ground flora. Sunrays hardly reach the ground and grass species are almost absent except in a few open patches.

The plot is near to a small tribal habitation known as 'Mirkal' consisting of about 40 Madia families. On the outskirts of the plot is a small perennial pond and a Hanuman temple adjacent to it. It also constitutes natural habitat for giant Malabar squirrel, Malabar pied-hornbill, egrets, pond herons, parakeets, drongos, bee-eaters, kingfishers, dove, cormorants etc.

Thus the area represents mosaic of natural and semi-natural habitats of floral and faunal species and contains a significant diversity of life forms. It even shelters number of aquatic, terrestrial and arboreal species. Local people have sentimental attachment with this forest patch.

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What is Glory of Allapalli

Forests of Allapalli are unique by their composition, luxuriant growth and wilderness since ancient times. They were under the control of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Maharaja of Aheri before being taken over by British some 300 years ago. The dominance of teak species and its luxuriant growth led British to bring these forests under scientific management way back in 1867. Since then, the greater portion of these forests have been under management system of one type or another from clear felling to selection-cum-improvement felling.

Considering its uniqueness and magnificent mixed forest, it was aptly named 'Glory of Allapalli' by its founder MacDonald and Mujumdar. As per records available, total number of floral species identified in this plot are 113 belonging to 50 plant families. There are 56 trees, six shrubs, 18 herbs, 26 climbers and six grass species and one bamboo enlisted till date. The total tree count is 2,041. The canopy density is as close as 0.9.

What it will mean

Biodiversity is closely linked to ecological security and therefore human welfare

The status will strengthen biodiversity conservation in traditionally managed area and stem rapid loss of biodiversity

Such areas need special attention under Biological Diversity Act, 2002

A BHS in or around a community is a matter of pride and will inspire others in conservation efforts