The district exhibits two distinct geographical regions, viz.,
the plain regions in the east and south-east and the hilly regions
of the Satpuda ranges in north and north-west. The plain region is extensively cultivated and forests appear only in dotted,
scattered patches. The hilly region is an extensive block of compact forests called Melghat and contains an abundance of rich teak trees. The percentage of the forest area to total area in the district is 30.43, and is unevenly distributed.
These include the forests of Melghat capable of producing
big-size teak and timber of other type.
These include the forests in the outskirts of Melghat and those in the plain regions, which are capable of producing small-size timber poles of teak, etc. These forests also supply fire-wood, thorns and grass and serve as good pastures for grazing the cattle.
These are artificially created forests of Babul (Acacia arabica)
in the cultivated plain tracts and lie dotted over the area.
Ramnas and Pasture Forests.
These include open forests with sparse tree growth and lie
mostly in the plain regions of the district, where an intense demand exists for grass and grazing.
The forests are managed under regular working plans, the
object being the supply of large-size timber for commercial use. The minor forests like Babul Bans and the Ramnas and pasture lands are being maintained to supply the local demand for small-size timber, fuel, grass and grazing.
Tahsilwise Distribution of Forests.
The tahsilwise distribution of the forests is as follows: -
The area of the reserved forests is 45.5 square miles or 5.5 per cent of the total district area under forests and constitutes 6 square miles of Babul Bans and 39.5 square miles of Ramnas and pasture lands.
The area of the reserved forests in this tahsil is 53.5 square miles or 8 per cent of the total, of which 19 square miles is under major forests and 34.5 square miles under Ramnas and pastures. The forests are of dry and deciduous type con-taining salai and other scrubs. Suitable areas have, however, been planted with teak, anjan, chandan and bamboos. The percentage of the forest area in the tahsil is 8.
The area of the reserved forests in Daryapur tahsil is 4
square miles constituting 0.7 square mile of Babul Bans and
3.7 square miles of pasture forests. The percentage of forests in this tahsil is 0.8 of the total.
Morshi tahsil contains 80 square miles of reserved forests, out of which 33 square miles are under teak forests and 8 square miles are occupied by Babul Bans while the remaining 39 square miles are Ramnas and pastures. The percentage of forests in the tahsil is 12.8 of the total.
Achalpur Tahsil. Melghat Tahsil
The area of the reserved forests is 31 square miles or 6 per
cent of the total district area of which 5 square miles is under
Babul Bans. The remaining 26 square miles are pastures and
The area of the reserved forests in Melghat tahsil is 1,182
square miles. The entire area is under systematic working and
forms the potential forest area of the district. The percentage
of forests in this tahsil is 81.7.
The major forest produce is timber. The minor forest produce constitutes various items, such as bamboo, fuel, rosha grass, fodder grass, minerals, horns and hides, tendu leaves and gum.
The most useful trees and plants found in these forests, in order of their importance, are given below: -
Teak (Tectona grandis).-It is the principal species of these forests and yields the well-known teak timber used in buildings, industries, furniture making, etc.
Tiwas (Ougenia dalbergioides).--Yields valuable hard-wood of great strength and toughness. It is used in the manufacture of carts, ploughs and shafts.
Shisham (Dalbergia latifolia).-The rosewood, much used in cabinet and furniture making.
Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium).-Yields timber of reddish colour which is used for buildings, furniture making and in the preparation of agricultural implements. Gum of reddish colour oozes from this tree.
Haldu (Adina cordifolia).-Yields timber of yellowish colour and is used in house-building and in the manufacture of bobbins and boxes.
Saj (Terminalia tomenlosa).-Yields hard timber which is mostly used in building houses and decks of trucks. Its bark yields tannin.
Dhawda (Anogeissus latifolia).-Yields white hard wood used for cart axles, ploughs and tool handles. It yields good gum and an excellent quality of charcoal.
Dhaman (Grewia tiliaefolia).-Its timber is useful for agricultural implements, tool handles and shafts.
Semal (Bombax malabaricum; Silk cotton tree).-Its soft wood is used in making match-boxes and sticks and toys. The cotton is used for stuffing pillows and mattresses.
Siivan (Gmelina arborea).-It is a soft wood and yields light timber, used in house-building and furniture, drums and toys.
Kusum (Schleichera trijuga).-Yields hard wood used for the hubs of carts and for making ploughs.
Kalam (Stephegyne parvifolia).-Its timber is used for turnery and for house-building.
Kahu (Terminalia arjuna).-Its timber is used for building and
the bark yields tannin.
Landia (Lagerstroemia parviflora).-Poles are used for temporary buildings. It is, however, mostly used as fuel.
Harra (Terminalia chebula).-Its fruits yield tannin. The wood is used for house-building and for the making of charcoal of a superior quality.
Bhormal (Hymenodictyon excelsum).-Yields soft quality of wood, now in demand for pencil manufacture.
Salai (Boswellia serrata).-These are the trees of dry area. Moyen (Odina nodier).-The wood is soft and not durable.
Kekda (Garuga pinnata).-It is however used for making packing cases.
Maharukh (Ailanthus excelsa).-Yields soft wood, and is used for slate frames, packing cases and also in the manufacture of match-boxes.
Moha (Madhuca latifolia).-The flowers of the tree serve as human and cattle feed. The fruit yields oil.
Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon).-The leaves are in demand in the Bidi industry. The fruits are eaten. Timber is used as poles and for shafts.
Achar (Buchanania lanzan).-Its seed (Charoli) is used in spices, and has a great value. Timber is used for the construction of temporary huts only.
Aonla (Emblica officinalis).-The fruit Aonla has medicinal value. The wood is used as fuel.
Beheda (Terminalia belerica).-The Beheda fruit is used for medicinal purpose. The wood is used for temporary house construction and in the preparation of packing cases.
Bhilawa (Semecarpus anacardium).-The marking nut tree. The oil of the nut has a medicinal value. The wood is of no use.
Amba (Mangifera indica).-The mango tree. Fruit is juicy and is in general demand. The wood yields timber useful for building purposes and packing cases.
Bor (Zizyphus jujuba).-The fruits are edible. It is a thorny tree. The thorns are used for preparing fences around the fields.
Palas (Butea frondosa).-It is well-known as the " flame of the forest". It is an important host plant for lac. Its flowers are red and look attractive.
Babul (Acacia arabica).-This has mostly been planted in the plain tracts. It is used as fuel and in the manufacture of agricultural implements. It yields a good quality charcoal and
exudes gum of commercial value.
Khair (Acacia calechu).-The heart-wood yields kath and tannin. The timber is useful for making agricultural imple-ments, and yields good quality fuel.
Anjan (Hardwickia binata).-It yields a rough, hard wood used for buildings and agricultural implements. The leaves are used as fodder. This species is also raised artificially in the plains.
Jamun (Eugenia jambolana).-It yields timber used in build-ings. Its fruits, black berries, are eaten. Other species found in the forests are Apta-Bhosa (Bauhinia recemosa), Rohan (Soymida febrifuga), Amalatas (Cassia fistula), Bel (Aegle marmelos), Kumbhi (Careya arborea), Gular (Ficus species), Dahi-palas (Cordias), Mokha (Schrebera swietenioides), Bhirra (Chlo-roxylon swietenia), Hiwar (Acacia leucophloea). The wood is used as fuel.
Kulu (Sterculia urens).-Yields gum of commercial value.
Gongal (Cochlospermum gossypium).-A soft wood tree of no value.
Dudhi (Wrightia tinctoria).-It is a small tree. Wood is used for turnery and in the manufacture of toys.
Arang (Kydia calycina).-A fast-growing tree whose poles are used for temporary sheds.
Pangra (Exythrina Indica).-A soft wood species of no value. It gives flowers of red colour.
Bamboos (Dendrocalamus strictus).-It is found in the Mel-ghat over an extensive area.
Katang (Bambusa arundinacea).-It is found in the Sipna valley of Melghat and a few isolated clumps in Chikhaldara.
The roads in the district have invariably good avenues, The
trees planted along the avenues are Siras (Albizzia lebbek), Neem (Melia azadarachta), Mango (Mangifera indica), Cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), Wad (Ficus bengalensis), Karanj (Pongamia glabra), and Sisoo (Dalbergia sisoo). In the black soil of the plains Babul has been planted along the roadsides. Rain tree (Pithecolobium saman) is an exotic which has been raised and grows readily. In the Chikhaldara plateau Cedrela toona has been planted along the roadsides. Most of the avenues in the plains are of Neem (Melia azadirachta) well established and pleasing to the eye.
The important garden trees are Lemon, Oranges and Mosambis. Fairly extensive gardens have been raised in the Morshi tahsil. Banana is also grown in extensive areas in this tahsil and the
other tahsils of the plains. Other species are Mangoes (Mangi- fera indica), Phanas, Guavas, Ramphal, Sitaphal, Shewga (Moringa pterygosperma), Kavit (Feronia elephantum). Ritha (Sapindus laurifolius), Seabanias are cultivated as shade-giving plants in the gardens. Castor plants are grown along the field bunds and also for shade in low-lying localities.
The fibre plants are Bankapas (Hebiscus lampas), Thespesias, Marorphal (Helicteres isora), Arang (Kydia calycina), and Palas (Butea frondosa). The roots of these trees yield fibres. In case of Mahul (Bauhinia vahlii) tree the stem yields fibre.
The hedge plants are-Takal (Clerodendron phlomoides) with its pleasant, sweet-smelling white flowers is a common hedge plant of the plains. Euphorbia and Jatropha carcus are commonly grown. Inga dulecs, Dudonia and Duranta are also being intro-duced invariably in the towns.
The common weeds are Tarota (Cassia lora), Burrs (Achyranthes aspera), Bantulsi (Plactranthus Linoifolius). These are invading the heavily grazed forest areas, particularly the pasture lands and the Babul bans. Lantana (Lantana camera) is a pest in the forests of Melghat and grows thick in the under-storey and is detrimental to regeneration of the species and grasses. It is also invading the forests in the plains in Amravati and Morshi tahsils.
Wild Climbing Plants.
The wild climbers found in the forests are, Chilati (Caesalpinia sepiaria), (Mimosa rubicaulis), Churni (Zizyphusrugosa), and
Lantana (Lantana camera). These are thorny climbers and do a great damage to the tree crop. Banda (Loranlhus longiflorus) is a parasite found invariably on Mahuwa and Achar. Gawar (Hamiltonia suaveolens), Piwal bel (Milletia auriculata), Palas bel (Butea superba), are found in the high quality forests. The stem of Mahul (Bauhinia vahlii) gives fibre and the leaves are used for plates. The sheds of Gumchi (Abrus precatorius) are used for medicines.
The grasses are used for fodder, thatching and for the
extraction of oil.
Fodder grasses: The chief fodder grasses are Sahada (Ischaemum), Marvel or Hariyali pilosum (Iseilema wightii or Cynodan dactylon), Paunia (Ischaemum Sulcatum), Gondali (Anthistiria ciliata).
Thatching grasses: Kusal (Andropogon contortus), Tikari (Andropogon Schoenanthus). Other grasses found are Pochati (Apluda varia), Karsali (Chionachne barbata), Baru (Sarbhum halepense), which are of no use.
Exotics have been planted mostly in the civil station of
Chikhaldara. Recently quite a few were introduced in the plains. These are the Rain tree, Eucalyptus, Hybrid and Camaldulensis. The exotics growing at Chikhaldara are Cupressus tarulosa, Cash- meriana, Pinus longifolia, Grevillea robusta, Eucalyptus,
Pantculata and Hybrid.
Ornamental and showy plants have been planted at suitable places all over the district and the following are thriving well: Gulmohar, cossias peltophorum, Spathodias and Kigelia