Floral diversity improvement plan for Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary


A summary of the project undertaken under grants with
Global Forest Watch Small Grants Program

The Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (MWLS) is a small but popular wildlife destination within easy reach of Pune and Mumbai cities in western India. The sanctuary has a typical dry scrub vegetation with sparse and stunted growth trees. The sanctuary is a home to the Indian gazelle Gazelia bennetti, locally known as the Chinkara, Indian grey wolf Canis lupus, Hyaena Hyaena hyaena and Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis, besides a variety of insects, birds and reptiles. The grasses and Acacia trees provide food for the Chinkara.

Historically, even before declaring this region as a sanctuary, there has been excessive grazing on it. The sanctuary is surrounded by villages which have a sheep and goat population of nearly 250,000 animals. As the sanctuary is devoid of any fencing, these animals are left to graze in it. This leaves the sanctuary with a poor ground cover and excessive soil erosion. Presently, it has reached a state where the sanctuary cannot host any tree plantations because of the lack of soil depth.

Funded by the GFW Small Grants Program, the Ecological Society, Pune-India undertook a project to recommend measures for improving the floral diversity within the sanctuary. Using Aqueduct, the water tool and conducting field visits and interviews with the forest officials, the team analyzed the current situation. A rapid hydrogeological survey helped understand the water availability for the purpose. Based on these studies, a recommendation plan was prepared which stressed the need for fencing and complete protection of the important parts within the sanctuary; plantation of grasses within these parts and monitoring the areas. The other recommendations are detailed out as depicted in the figure below.