Forest resources / Natural resources of Assam

Assamese General Knowledge

1. There are four seasons in Assam i.e., summer, rainy, autumn, and winter. Between March and April, some amount of showers keeps the temperature lower is called spring season. The summer season occurs from March to June. The climate of Assam is vastly touched by tropical monsoon rainfall and high humidity. The south-west monsoon pours heavy rain from June to September of the year. Assam records 180 cm average rainfall in this period. In this rainy season, Assam faces the thunderstorms, which is known as ‘Bordoisila’. The autumn season (September to October) offers mild temperatures. The winter season starts in November and ends in the month of February. During winter, moderate to dense fog occurs in Assam. The range of temperatures of Assam state is recorded from 6 – 8 degree Celsius to 35 – 38 degree Celsius.

2. The recorded forest area of Assam is 26,832 sq km, which is 34.21% of its geographical area. According to a survey, Reserved Forests constitute 66.58% and Unclassed Forests 33.42% of the total forest area. The forest in Assam can be described into the following types/ subtypes.

a) Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests.

b) Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests.

c) Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests.

d) Sub-tropical Broadleaf Hill Forests.

e) Sub-tropical Pine Forests.

f) Littoral and Swamp Forests.

g) Grassland and Savannahs.

3. Name of 5 Nos. of National Parks in Assam

Sl. No.Name of National ParksDistrictYear of declarationArea (km²)
1Dibru-Saikhowa National ParkTinsukia1999350
2Kaziranga National ParkGolaghat & Nagaon1974430
3Manas National ParkKokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri & Darrang1990950
4Nameri National ParkSonitpur1998200
5Rajiv Gandhi Orang National ParkDarrang and Sonitpur199978.81

Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park are two World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1985 for its natural resources.

About National Parks of Assam

a) Kaziranga National Park :-

Kaziranga National Park is located in the area of Nagaon and Golaghat district of Assam, a state of India. It is situated on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River. The park area is circumscribed by the Brahmaputra River, which forms the northern and eastern boundaries, and the Mora Diphlu, which forms the southern boundary. Other notable rivers within the park are the Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri. Kaziranga has numerous water bodies. Kaziranga is located between latitudes 26°30′ N and 26°45′ N, and longitudes 93°08′ E to 93°36′. The area of the parks is 430 sq. k.m.

Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon took initiative and persuaded her husband to take urgent measures to protect the native species of Kaziranga National Park. On 1 June 1905, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 km2 (90 sq mi). In 1908, Kaziranga was designated a “Reserve Forest”. In 1916, it was redesignated the “Kaziranga Game Sanctuary”. The Kaziranga Game Sanctuary was renamed the “Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary” in 1950. In 1954, the government of Assam passed the Assam (Rhinoceros) Bill, which imposed heavy penalties for rhinoceros poaching.In 1968, the state government passed the Assam National Park Act of 1968, declaring Kaziranga a designated national park. The 430 km2 (166 sq mi) park was given official status by the central government on 11 February 1974. In 1985, Kaziranga was declared a World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO for its natural resources and environments.

Kaziranga is one of the largest tracts of protected land in the sub-Himalayan belt, and due to its high species diversity and presence of high-visibility species have been described as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’. The park is located in the Indomalayan realm and the two ecoregions of the park. The types of forest in the park are Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests, Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests, Sub-tropical Broadleaf Hill Forests, and Grassland and Savannahs.

The area of the national park is divided into four ranges-

Central Range at Kohora

Western Range at Bagori

Eastern Range at Agoratoli

Burapahar Range at Ghorakati

The Kaziranga is known for the highest population of greater onehorned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) along with royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephants, Asiatic Water Buffaloes, Swamp Deers, Hoolock Gibbons and several Bird species. In the March 2018 park census which was jointly conducted by the Forest Department of the Government of Assam and some recognized wildlife NGOs, the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park is 2,413. It comprises 1,641 adult rhinos (642 males, 793 females, 206 unsexed); 387 sub-adults (116 males, 149 females, 122 unsexed); and 385 calves. In 2015, the rhino population stood at 2401. Kaziranga is home to a higher density of tigers and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species. When compared with other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility.

 The park contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, out of which 15 are threatened mammals according to the IUCN Red List. The critically endangered wild boar are present in Kaziranga. In 2005 census Kaziranga had as many as 1,206 Indian elephants. The 2001 park census counted 1666 wild Asian water buffalo. The eastern swamp deer had 468 individuals in 2002. Kaziranga is also home to Gaur, sambar, Indian muntjac, hog deer, barking deer, Indian leopard and clouded leopard. Kaziranga had a population of around 30 Bengal tigers during the 1972 census, 86 in the 2000 census. Kaziranga formally became a tiger reserve in 2006. In 2017 census shows that there are 104 tigers in the Kaziranga.

20The park is also home to sloth bears and jungle cat, fishing cat and leopard cat, hispid hare, Indian gray mongoose, small Indian mongoose, large Indian civet, small Indian civet, Bengal fox, golden jackal, Chinese pangolin, Indian pangolin, hog badger, Chinese ferret badger, particolored flying squirrel, Bengal slow loris, Assamese macaque, capped langur, golden langur and bats.

479 species of birds (both migratory and resident) have been spotted at the park, including 25 globally threatened and 21 near-threatened species. The park has also been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International for the conservation of the avifaunal species. The Waterfowl which breed in or pass through Kaziranga include several rare species of geese (lesser white-fronted goose), and ducks (ferruginous pochard, Baer’s pochard). Other rare riverine birds include kingfisher (Blyth’s kingfisher), heron (white-bellied heron), pelicans (Dalmatian pelican, spot-billed pelican), shanks (spotted greenshank) and terns (black-bellied tern). Rare migratory storks and cranes are also seen wintering in the park (lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, Asian openbill).

Kaziranga has an adequate number of raptors, considered a sign of a healthy ecosystem. This includes the rare eastern imperial eagle, greater spotted eagle, white-tailed fishing eagle, Palla’s fish eagle, grey-headed fish eagle and the lesser kestrel.  The population of seven types of vulture species is declining rapidly in Kaziranga. The red-headed vulture, Eurasian black vulture, Indian vulture, slender-billed vulture, the Indian white-rumped vulture, the griffon vulture and the Himalayan griffon are endangered or critically endangered. Several other important families of birds inhabit Kaziranga, including partridges (swamp francolin), bustards (Bengal florican) and pigeons (pale-capped pigeon)  rare species of hornbills (great Indian hornbill)  and the wreathed hornbill, old World babblers (Jerdon’s babbler, marsh babbler) and weaver birds (the common baya weaver and the threatened Finn’s weaver), thrushes (Hodgson’s bushchat), Old world warblers (bristled grassbird). Other threatened species include the black-breasted parrotbill and rufous-vented prinia.

A total of 42 species of reptiles have been reported from the park. The reticulated python, the rock python, the king cobra are common dwellers inside the park. Bengal monitors and water monitors are found in the area. The rare monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia), Indian cobra (Naja naja), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) and common krait (Bungarus caeruleus)are widespread in the jungle of the park. The endangered gharial and the rare Assam roofed turtle are native to the park. Kaziranga is home to 15 species of turtles and to one species of tortoise — the brown tortoise. The regional Assam garden lizard is present. 42 species of fish are found in the Kaziranga area. The ocellated pufferfish (Assamese common name ‘Gangatoop’) is the inhabitant of water bodies of the park. 

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