Bamboo is among the most vital plant species on this planet. In India, it’s broadly distributed over 15.69 million hectares of land. Of the almost 148 species discovered right here, most have been recorded from the north-eastern elements of the nation. Bamboo grows at a quick charge, and is an important useful resource. It’s helpful as meals (fodder, pulp and edible shoots), for various medicines produced from bamboo charcoal, and as a powerful substitute for wooden. Such wealthy advantages beckon the proverbial phrase of bamboo being the “poor man’s timber”. India is the world’s second largest cultivator of bamboo, solely second to China. It could come as a shock to know that just about 10 million folks rely solely on bamboo for his or her survival. Bamboo just isn’t solely essential from a socio-economic side, however it’s ecologically beneficial too!
Bamboo forests are wealthy habitats for innumerable wildlife species. Bamboo shoots, stems and leaves are dietary sources for a lot of animals. Furthermore, their dense cover gives ample safety to them. A bunch of such crops additionally creates a life-supporting microhabitat for small and enormous animals!
Listed here are some animals of India which can be recognized to readily declare bamboo forests as their residence!
Gaur or the Indian Bison, is among the heaviest land mammals within the nation. The massive ungulate is listed as Weak by IUCN and receives safety in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Safety) Act, 1972. Its inhabitants is distributed throughout the Western Ghats, central highlands, and the northern jap areas. Throughout the landscapes, this megaherbivore relies on a big number of crops.
A examine was carried out on the Bandhavgarh Nationwide Park positioned within the hills of Madhya Pradesh after the animal had been efficiently reintroduced there in 2011. In keeping with the authors, gaurs grazed on the inexperienced foliage of bamboo, particularly through the monsoon and winter seasons. The Indian Bison play a vital position in controlling the habitat construction and varied ecological features. As a herbivore, it ensures the biking of vitamins within the soil and even tramples crops to make method for brand new species.
One other herbivore that’s recognized to feed on tender bamboo crops is the Asian elephant. The most important land animal on the whole continent requires a median of 150 kilograms of meals per day to outlive within the wild! Whereas most of their time is spent grazing, elephants additionally bask in tree barks, roots, leaves, and stems. Bamboo is an all-time favorite that accompanies their elephantine weight-reduction plan of cultivated crops akin to bananas, rice and sugarcane. The tall shoots additionally assist in offering shade to the elephants as they transfer across the forests.
Yearly because the summer time units in, elephants together with gaurs embark on a seasonal migration to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. They transfer right here from the dry elements of Mudumalai, Bandipur, and Nagarhole seeking enough meals and water sources. Within the Wayanad area, these light giants relish bamboo that’s present in giant groves.
Again in 2006, the Uttarakhand Forest Division planted these bushes to steer 180 wild elephants into the Lansdowne forests. This resolution prevented crop raiding by elephants in neighbouring agricultural lands. To cease human-elephant battle conditions, the Odisha authorities has launched a mission this yr that entails filling up bamboo seeds in soil balls throughout the state’s forests. Bamboo, subsequently, has confirmed to be a key ingredient for the security of each people in addition to elephants.
Bamboo Pit Vipers
These pit vipers primarily obtain their title from the habitat they occupy — the cool bamboo foliage! The Indian Inexperienced pit viper is endemic to the nation and could be present in elements of the Western and Japanese Ghats. Slowly slithering by means of the jungles at night time, the solitary viper prefers an setting close to streams with an abundance of prey. The snake depends on a weight-reduction plan of rodents, birds, and different small animals, and it camouflages effectively throughout the cowl supplied by the luxurious crops.
Recognized for its plant-heavy weight-reduction plan, the Pink panda could be discovered within the north-eastern elements of India, in addition to in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China. The Himalayan flagship species is categorised as Endangered on the IUCN Pink Checklist. Whereas it primarily feeds on leaves and shoots of bamboo, the animal may devour fruits, roots, eggs, small mammals, and bugs. Actually, the title ‘panda’ is derived from the Nepali phrase ‘ponya’, which suggests plant-eating animal. Though the Big panda additionally closely feeds on the plant, it isn’t genetically associated to the Pink panda.
Pink pandas possess claws which can be curved in a method that assists them to dwell on bushes and devour the plant simply. Almost 95% of a Pink panda’s weight-reduction plan includes bamboo. Feminine crimson pandas may even chew on almost 20,000 leaves in a single day!
Like different animals, quite a few birds, too, reside within the thickets of bamboo. Within the Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary of Odisha, the flowering of bamboo bushes led to many chook species flocking to the positioning — Pink junglefowl, Jungle babbler, peafowl and bulbul are a few of them. In an effort to maintain the dwindling inhabitants of peafowl within the Pakidi hills of Odisha, a group led by Pramila Bisoyi, environmentalist and Member of Parliament, initiated the planting of bamboo in 2020. The forests at the moment are lined with lots of of bamboo bushes, which permit peahens to put eggs underneath dense foliage. A chook listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN referred to as Bugun liocichla was not too long ago noticed in Arunachal Pradesh in a bamboo forest. The uncommon chook has been noticed just a few occasions since 2006.
The Checklist Doesn’t Finish…
Apart from the 4 species above, quite a few different animals both fully or partially depend on such forests. Bamboo bats particularly reside in areas plentiful with the plant. The tiny Lesser bamboo bat, for example, roosts throughout the matured shoots of bamboo. It enters the shoot by means of minute holes pierced by beetles. In 2015, researchers additionally discovered a brand new subspecies of Bamboo bats from the north Andaman Islands which have flat skulls. A brand new Thick-thumbed bat species was additionally found in these forests of Meghalaya earlier this yr.
Bugs akin to butterflies are additionally recognized to occupy these forests in India. Frequent silverline, Lime butterfly, and Small grass yellow are ones which can be discovered within the bamboo forests of Kumily, Kerala. Right here’s a revelation: a difficult pest recognized to devour crops with gusto is the termite! It isn’t simply wooden, termites may make untreated furnishings their meal.
Wildlife SOS centres are additionally planted with bamboo to advertise native animal biodiversity. Birds, rodents, and civet cats are steadily noticed amongst the clumps. The Sloth bears residing on the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre usually spend time underneath the cool shade of those bushes. The dense foliage gives these animals with cowl and an ideal setting to forage for ants and termites!
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