Friday, 12 March 2021

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Most important information about Similipal Biosphere reserve in 2021


Similipal Biosphere Reserve

Located in northeast India, the Similipal Biosphere Reserve lies within two biogeographical regions: the Mahanadian east coastal region of the Oriental realm and the Chhotanagpur biotic province of the Deccan peninsular zone. ... The highest peak in the Similipal hill range is Khairiburu (1,168 metres).


     Massive wildfire out broke in Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Odisha since last week of February 2021. Hot February of the year triggered a massive wildfire.


About the Similipal Biosphere Reserve

       Similipal is a National Park and a Tiger Reserve in Odisha. This is located in the northern district of Odisha, Mayurbhanj, 197 km from Bhubaneswar and 330 km Kolkata. 

The Similipal Tiger Reserve is one of the first tiger habitats to come up in India.

The Similipal Biosphere reserve derived its name from “Simul” (Silk Cotton) tree.

The Similipal Biosphere is a part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve.


History of the  Similipal Biosphere Reserve- The tiger sanctuary

      This Tiger Reserve and National park was a hunting ground for the surrounding royal kingdoms in the northern region of Odisha. In 1956 the Similipal Tiger Reserve made and in 1973 this.

 Tiger Reserve comes under the Project Tiger of the Government of India. After that in 1979 the Government of Orissa declared this Similipal as Wildlife Sanctuary.

 The whole WildlifeSanctuary is covers with an area of 2,800 sq.kms. After one year the Government of Orissa proposed 303 sq.km area of the Wildlife Sanctuary as SimilipalNational Park.

 In 1986, the area of the National Park increased to 845.70 sq.km. The Government of India declared this whole area of Similipal as a Biosphere Reserve in 1994.

 The UNESCO World Wildlife  programe added the National Park to its Biosphere Reserves since 2009.

Similipal National park 

      The Similipal National Park is the 7th largest National Park in India. Its name is derived from the Simul tree which Scientific name is Bombax Ceiba.

 The Similipal Biosphere Reserve is considered as  -Tiger Reserve and National Park. The Similipal Biosphere Reserve is the Asia’s 2nd largest Biosphere reserve.

The Biosphere reserve is a part of Mayurbhanj Elephant reserve.

Similipal National Park and Tiger Reserve + Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary + Kuldhia Wildlife Sanctuary = Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve.

The Similipal Biosphere Reserve is the home to 3,000 species of plants and 94 species of orchids.


Vegetation in  the Biosphere Reserve

   Northern tropical moist deciduous dominantly covers this biosphere reserve. There also some semi-evergreen patches.

 Sal is the dominant and most important tree species in the reserve. There we also found some plants that have medicinal and aromatic ingredients and properties.

 In this reserve there are extensive grasslands, that are grazing grounds for many of the herbivores.



This biosphere is famous for tiger, hill mynah and elephant. The highest tiger population is found in this biosphere reserve. 

There are also other kinds of  mammals in this reserve like leopard, wolf , wild goat , gaur, elephant, barking & spotted deer, languor, bear mongoose, flying squirrel, porcupines, sambar, pangolin and four horned antelopes. 

Around 230 species of birds like the grey hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, Indian trogon, red jungle foul, Malabar pied hombill, hill mynah, peafous, and crested serpent eagle are found in this biosphere reserve

Around 29 species of reptiles are found in this reserve. Among them King Cobra, Python and Tricarinote hill turtle are important reptlies in this biosphere reserve .


The ecosystem of the Reserve

     The regions of the forest  is home to a variety of tribes. Among them kolha, santhala, bhumija, bhatudi, gonads, khadia, mankadra and sahara are the important tribes.

 Most of them are settled agriculture. They living style is based on agriculture. Supplement their income by collecting firewood and timber from the forest.

 However the tribes like khadia, mankadia and sahara are indigenous hunter gatherer communities living primarily off the forest, collecting forest produces. They are fully dependent on forests and forest products .


What causes the fire at Similipal ?

  There are lot of factors associated to this question -

1.   Natural factors such as lighting or even soaring temperature can lead to fires.

2.   Man-made factors are also responsible to fires – It is being alleged that poachers deliberately set the forest on fire so they can poach wild animals on the other part of the forest.

3.   Forests are also set on fire by the villagers to clear the dry leaves on the ground for easy collection of mahua flowers.



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