Pench Tiger Reserve
Pench National Park is located on the boundary of Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, close to Maharashtra’s northern border. The reserve lies in the forest belt that extends to Balaghat in the east and Nagpur district to the south. The park is named after the Pench river and is contiguous with the forest on the southern side in Maharashtra that has been notifi ed as the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Park. It is the panoramic beauty of this region that has been described as early as the beginning of the 20th century by naturalists like Captain J. Forsyth in ‘Highlands of Central India’ and by Rudyard Kipling in the ‘Jungle Book’.
History And Culture
The area is located in the lower, southern reaches of the Satpura ranges, around 580 m. above sea level. The terrain is undulating, covered with several small hills jutting out like sharp cones. Some hills rise steeply over 675 m. above sea level. Arjal Matta, Kalapahad, Chhindimatta and Kumbhadeo are some of the prominent hills in Seoni district. In Chhindwara district, there are hills extending upto Pulpuideh village. These slope towards the Pench river and the land once again soars higher towards Totladoh.
Most of the area is covered with sandy loam, which is especially fertile in the valleys and fairly so on the slopes. Red kankar and saline soils occur in some areas. Alluvial soils are found on the banks of the Pench river and other streams and nalas that crisscross the area. The Pench River fl ows almost through the centre of the reserve from the north to the southwest. The river dries up towards the end of April, leaving behind a number of small pools locally called kasa or doh. Much of the lowlying area on either side of Pench have lands submerged by the Pench reservoir.
Vegetation / Flora
The forests are mainly Southern tropical dry deciduous and dry mixed deciduous forests. Teak Tectona grandis dominates, comprising 25-50 per cent of the species. Moyan, Mahua, Mokha, Skiras, Tendu, Bijra, Garari etc. are associates of teak. Dhaora Anogeissus latifolia, lendia/seja Lageostroemia parvifl ora, saja Terminalia tomentosa, salai Boswellia serrata, bija Pterocarpus marsupium, bhirra Chloroxylon swietenia and sirus Albizzia lebbeck are other trees. Bamboo occurs sparsely, restricted to some valleys. Chiltai, mahulbel and palas bhel are common climbers in areas along the river and large water sources.
In Chhindwara, you would see weeds like chirota Cassia tora and gokharu Xanthium strumatium while in areas around Chedia, Alikatta, Tikari and Ambar village, Lantana camara predominates. Parthenium is found in submergence areas along the Pench river. Heteropogon contortus, Digitaria cilliaris and Eulaliopsis binata are common grasses.