Limiting Factors for Wildlife

Limiting factors act through habitat and result in keeping check on animal population, their distribution and their habits.  These are explained as follows:

Food
Food is not limiting factor in general for this protected area.  Though it is found that during summer, tender grass is not available for herbivores, fodder availability goes down and animals have to take less preferred food items.  In this season, flowers of Mahuwa, Palas and fruits of Tendu, Apta, Teak barks and Mahuwa become source of food for many species.  Open meadows are not much. Wherever they are present, herbivores are noticed.  The relocated village sites are good potential meadows.  Similarly, small open patches need to be developed as meadows, wherever possible, particularly in middle hills.

Water Sources
Though the terrain of this region is hilly and rugged, 5-6 major rivers namely Sipna, Khapra, Khandu, Khursi, Gadga, Dolar with their major and minor tributaries flow in this area. These rivers are all fast flowing and flow seasonally only from July to November.  But due to high gradient these rivers flow fast in rains and winter but become dry at the end of November.  Due to their fast flowing nature, water accumulates in the depression and water holes are formed which are called as dohs in the river bed and these water bodies last till the next rainy season.  Similarly, during the wildlife management period of Melghat forests of last 30-40 years, at least 10-15 major anicuts have been constructed which are perennial water source for the wildlife.  List of these anicuts are given in appendix no. IX. Some underground water channels also open in the river or nallah bed.  These channels also act as drinking water source for the wildlife.  So water is not a limiting factor in MTR.  The maintenance of the natural water sources by activities such as desilting of water holes and retention of water channel by arresting the flow is being done and it should be a continuous activity
 Cover
Cover is not a limiting factor in this protected area. From the information of animal species found here, it can be said that their requirement of cover is met in the nallah banks, caves, rocky crevices and similar natural structures.

Biotic Pressure
            There are 25 (2 under rehabilitation) villages in critical tiger habitat of MTR.  The population estimation is as under.

  • Total human population-         15,000
  • Total cattle population-           30,000

In addition, animals of buffer area also exert their pressure in many pockets. 
This human and cattle population creates tremendous biotic pressure on land for NTFP, small timber, fodder & fuel wood around the village area.  The wild animals, therefore, avoid area near roadside and village vicinity.

Major Conspicuous Changes in The Habitat Since Inception
As per the study of Forest Cover in Tiger Reserves of India- Status and Changes report published by FSI and Project Tiger Directorate in April 2006, the density wise forest cover for assessment years 1997, 2000 and 2002 along with the changes during 1997-2002 as assessed in this study is given in the following table.  It is seen that there has been no change in forest cover since 1997.

Forest Cover In Melghat Tiger Reserve (1997-2002)
(Area In Sq.Km.2)

Assessment Year
Net Change
(1997-2002)
1997
2000
2002
(A) Very Dense Forest
508
508
508
-
(B) Moderately Dense Forest
707
707
707
-
(C) Open Forest
270
270
270
-
Total of  (A+B+C)
1485
1485
1485
-
Scrub
1
1
1
-
Non-Forest
191
191
191
-
Total Area
1677
1677
1677
Official Website of Melghat Tiger Project, Amravati