Thursday, November 24, 2016


This can be a controversial post only because either you have not read enough or you don't have the knowledge about the jungle and it's dwellers.
I asked this question to many that when tiger density rises in an specific area such as National Park then is it not important that the herbivore  population should also increase in that ratio to sustain the ecological balance?
Second question I asked Why we do not see Spotted Deer rut in March?
Why all of a sudden burning of Grassland and Fireline has become a taboo in Forest Management in the Parks when present Parks thrived on this practice only so far? 
Capt Forsyth mentions grass burning in jan feb in his book in The Highlands of Central India published in 1889.
George B Schaller mentions meadow burning in Kanha in Jan - burning of the grasses in january, chital and barasingha congregated on the meadows and remained readily observable until August. He writes - Since the cool season follows the retreat of the monsoon, the vegetation is still green and rank in the forest , but the grasses on the meadows have already gone to seed and turned yellow. The forest department then begins to burn the grass on the kanha meadow burning a patch here, another there until after a month or more only a black stubble remains. In 1963 the burning began on December 28 but in 1964 as early as November 30. Burning the grass apparently releases nutrients into the soil and, together with the sporadic shower / heavy dew stimulates a fresh growth of green grass to appear within two weeks. The new growth is very sparse in areas that are not burned. (George Schaller)
The Kanha meadow was burned by Danbar Brander (1923) in 1902 and has probably been set afire every year since then. ()
It means when Indian Foresters got Kanha in their hands it was a good habitat for all the herbivores then why and when it got worst that grasses were sown to get better fodder for deer.
This is the time when early rut in March and April was recorded depending on the burning of meadows (Danbar Brander) while major rut was always recorded within first fortnight of monsoon rains. (Mr H S Panwar)
Early 1980's within a fortnight of monsoon rains as many as 5000 Spotted Deer were recorded in Kanha meadow.  While normal numbers throughout the season were about 3000. (Mr H S Panwar)
This is the time when Mr Panwar left Kanha who used meadow burning practice since the day he arrived there as Director till the day he left for Project Tiger in delhi. 
Danbar Brander writes - There is a distinct rut in the end of April and the beginning of May, when most of the breeding takes place, and during this period it is rare indeed for a fully mature animal not to be in full horn.
Mr Hemendra Singh Panwar writes in Kanha National Park guide book - In Kanha fire is used as a tool . The exact words of Sh Panwar are  However the popular axiom "Fire is a bad master but a good servant" stands well for wildlife management too. Controlled and periodic winter firing of grasslands help suppresses advance of woodland and produces green shoots in winter for animals to graze.
Although he warns that if this practice is not used wisely then it may deteriorate the productivity and fodder quality.
We have seen alternate meadow burning in Kanha and that did not deteriorate the quality till early 90's. (as i saw that place)
If we see the same measures took place in Bandhavgarh then Bandhavgarh started its history as National Park with Zero Deer and Zero Tiger.
When all the villages were shifted from the park area those farmlands turned into a good grassland. (Mr J J Dutta)
Surplus population of Deer from surrounding area of a Hunting game reserve started moving in newly declared National Park which did not had any kind of disturbance for wild animals.
Wildlife managers who came here learn their a b c d of wildlife management in Kanha so they also kept on doing the practice of wildlife management what they saw / learn in Kanha and one of them was burning of grasslands and fireline.(Mr J J Dutta)
Winter burning of grasslands in Bandhavgarh did not harm any rhizome of any grass species because in December / January the lower stem of grasses are still green so what all fire did was removed the seedy grass that deer don't like and gave some more nutrition to land to grow more new shoots from the same rhizome. (Mr J J Dutta)
This attracts deer in grassland to feed on new shoots and this congregation of deer ultimately starts rut in early summer months. This depends on burning of grass meadows time in winter, if they are burnt in Nov - Dec the rut starts in March and if grasslands burnt later then in April.
This rut is very important for deer population or for keeping the balance right of prey base for tigers.