About Central India Landscape

Central India is considered to be the heart of India’s wildlife. It is home to some of India’s largest forest tracts, rich wildlife as well as indigenous people who have been living in the forests since time immemorial.
Located to the south of the Vindhya hill range, Central India is well known for its sal (Shorearobusta) forests, in fact the region is the meeting point of sal (Shorearobusta) from the north and teak (Tectonagrandis) forests from the south.

WWF-India’s Central Indian Satpuda Maikal Landscape (SML) sprawls across 19 districts in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh covering a total area of 1,43,551km2. Of this, roughly 40,837km2 is under forest cover, with some of the country’s most famous tiger reserves and Protected Areas. This landscape supports approx. 16% of the total population of tigers found in India, with some of the largest contiguous forested tracks connected through wildlife corridors. Some of the tiger reserves critical from a conservation standpoint in this landscape are Kanha, Satpuda, Pench, Melghat, Tadoba and Achanakmar.

This landscape is amongst WWF’s global priority regions for conservation, especially for tigers. It is also recognized as a region with one of the best potentials for long-term tiger conservation by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India. Other than the tiger (Panthera tigris), the faunal diversity includes some of the most charismatic and endangered species such as the leopard (Panthera pardus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), gaur (Bos gaurus), hard ground swamp deer (Cervus duvacelli) as well as more than 300 species of birds.

The forests and wildlife of this landscape are threatened by encroachment, poaching of tigers and prey species, human wildlife conflict, unregulated and illegal cattle grazing, unsustainable harvesting of Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), medicinal plants and other forest resources, forest fires, mining and industrial development.

WWF-India has been working here since 2003 with an aim of securing habitat connectivity within the landscape to ensure free movement of tigers and other wildlife, while reducing conflict with people. It has formulated four major objectives to address the conservation threats faced by this landscape:
  1. Maintain and restore the functionality of key tiger corridors.
  2. Reduce the poaching of tigers across the landscape by 50 per cent.
  3. Ensure the availability of robust and reliable baseline data on trends of the tigers, co-predators, prey species, and habitat status in the identified corridors.
  4. Promote sustained political will for tiger conservation and establish mechanisms for mainstreaming of programme approaches across the government system and policies.
The tiger reserves and Protected Areas are connected by wildlife corridors falling outside the Protected Area network. These corridors can provide crucial connectivity and allow the free movement of tigers and other wildlife from one forest area to another, thereby connecting source populations and ensuring demographic and genetic viability. WWF-India has identified six such corridors, Kanha-Achanakmar, Kanha-Pench, Pench-Satpuda, Pench-Tadoba, Kanha-Tadoba, Satpuda-Melghat, and is working in these corridors by managing human-wildlife conflict, monitoring tigers and wildlife movement, developing alternatives with local communities, and building political support for conservation. The goal is to have the Central Indian Satpuda Maikal Landscape fully connected via tiger reserves (core areas) and newly functional corridors, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in habitat and a 75 per cent increase in the tiger population by 2020.
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