FLORA OF BARGARH DISTRICT
Netrabhanu Pradhan1, Rabindranath Pradhan2, Pareswar Sahu3 and Sunil Kumar Sen4 1Retd. Reader in Botany, Chairman, ,Agragami Biodiversity Cell, Bargarh.2Retd. Reader in Botany, Executive member, ,Agragami Biodiversity Cell, Bargarh. 3Reaserch Assistant, Dravyaguna, S.S.N. Ayurvedic College and Research Institute, Nrusinghnath, And Executive member, ,Agragami Biodiversity Cell, Bargarh.4Demonstrator in Botany, Panchayat college, Bargarh and member ,Agragami Biodiversity Cell, Bargah.
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous. Plants are grouped into floras based on region, period, special environment, or climate. Regions can be geographically distinct habitats like mountain vs. flatland. Floras can mean plant life of a historic era as in fossil flora. Lastly, floras may be subdivided by special environments:
Geography and Administration
Bargarh is one of the 30 districts in Orissa and it is situated in the western part of Orissa. The district lies between latitude 200 43’ and 210 41’ North and between longitude 820 39’ and 830 58’ East. The district covers an area of 5837 square kilometers. It is bounded on the north by the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh, on the east by Sambalpur district, on the south Bolangir and Subarnapur districts and on the west by Nuapada district of Orissa.
- Topography: The main topographic plains of Bargarh district are :
(a) Bargarh Plain– It is an open plain and is drained by two small rivers, Danta and Jira – the two tributaries of river Mahanadi. To the north of this plain runs the Barapahad range of hills and to the south-west lies the valley of river Ong. Mahanandi Valley is in the east. It is a very green zone due to cultivation throughout the year in its major parts. (b) Borasambar Plain– It lies to the south-west of Bargarh plain and is bounded by high hills on north and south. This valley is drained by river Ong. It is also a green zone with rich soil especially in the eastern portion which is best suited to agriculture. Its soil contains some river slit enriched by hill drainage. (c) Ambabhona-Lakhanpur Plain– This area is separated from rest of the Bargarh plain by a long spur of Barapahar hills running south-west for a distance of nearly 48 km. and is extended upto the river Mahanandi. Ambabhona is a fairly level tract sloping down from the hills to the river Mahanadi and is under close cultivation. Lakhanpur Valley is completely surrounded by forest clad hills. The area is under extensive cultivation.
- Hills and Plateaus
Being a part of the central plateau of the country, the district has a number of undulating hills with hillocks and small hill ranges. The main hill ranges and hills of Bargarh district are the Gandhamardan hill ranges, the Barapahad hill ranges and the Jhanjpahad. Besides these, few other hilly and non-hilly forest areas are also found in Bargarh district. The high physiographic areas are the main hill ranges in the district. The Barapahad hill ranges covering an area of over 777 sq km is situated towards the south-west of the district. It attains a height of 2,267 feet (691.1m) at the peak of Debrigarh. Debrigarh is one of the few hills of the range offering level ground and good water supply near the summit. It is one of the best hill sites in the district suitable for health resort. The Gandhamardan hill ranges covering an area of 300 sq km is situated towards the north west of the district and extended to both Bargarh and Bolangir districts. The hill range rises to a height of 2,000-3000 feet (629.6m- 914.4m) and reaches its highest point (3,234 feet or 985.72m) in the peak of Nrusinghnath, one of the very important sacred places in the district. Another range branches off to the west of Nrusinghnath running first north-south and then north-east near Jagdalpur, where it is broken by the Ong (Ang) river. The Jhanjpahad hill range is another high physiographic area of the district, covering an area of 1.90 sq km and it runs eastward to Tal of Padampur sub-division and then to the north-east forming the boundary between Bargarh district and Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. Besides, few more such hilly areas are situated in different localities in the district.
- River system
The rivers of Bargarh districts are primarily peninsular rivers and most of them have originated from the plateau of Chhattisgarh & Eastern ghats Mountain range of Orissa. River Mahanadi, (Total length of 852.8 km) is the main river of Bargarh, which has taken its source from the Amarkantak plateau of Madhya Pradesh. It enters Orissa near Chikhili village of Bargarh District. In this river Hirakud Dam the longest dam of the country has been build and an artificial lake has been created which stretches upstream for about 52.8 km from Hirakud town. Its net irrigable area is 35,486 hectares and ultimate install capacity is 4, 75,000 kW of hydel power. The downstream of River Mahanadi upto Sonepur is almost north south and in this section a number of tributaries meet Mahanadi on its right bank. The most important are river Jira & Jhaun, which drain the Bargarh plains. The Jira has its main tributary, the Danta which joins it a few kilometers north of its confluence with the Mahanadi near the village Gandturm in Bheden. The other river that flows through the district is Ong which arises in the Nuapada district and enters Borasambar (Padampur) at its extreme south-west corner. It flows through in a wide-semi-circle from west to east and leaves the district a few miles to the east of Gaisilat eventually joining the Mahanadi in the Subarnapur district.The district is divisible into three distinct physical zones. The greater portion is an open plain drained by Danta and Jira, the two tributaries of Mahanandi. To the north of this plain stand Barapahar the hill range and to the south-west lie the valley of river Ong. The district has also an expanse of undulating country sloping down from the Barapahar hills in the north to the Mahanandi valley in the east.
- Spring, Waterfall and Water reservoir
Presently there are 7 natural and perennial springs are found in the Gandhamardan hills in Narasinghanath Zone. The waterfalls are called Gupat Mahadev (arise from Gupta Ganga), Kapildhar, Akali, Bhojpurgarh, Gupteswar, Khandijharan and Manbhang, Similarly Barabhara water fall with a series of eight falls ,Nalichuan water fall of Barapahad, which are considered to be very sacred and also perennial. In the Barapahar hills there are a several springs notable among them are Gangei-nala, Kanhei-nala, Kusmada-nala, Sukha-nala Badmal-nala and Ghugar.There are many water reservoirs in the district, some of which serve the purpose of irrigation. Notable among them are the Manbhang dam project at Manbhang, Salepali dam reservoir at Salepali, Sarkarikata at Paikmal, Bhoisagar near Rasmunda and Malda village, Victoria Sagar near Ghens, Sarkarikata at Buromuda (Gaisilat), Yogimunda in Barpali and Ranisagar in Bijepur. Kumo Dam project at Kumo in Ambabhona block.
- Soil Profile
The main soil groups found in Bargarh district are red, red and black, red and yellow and alluvial and sandy type. Red and black type of soil is found in the blocks of Bargarh, Barpali, Bheden, Attabira, Bhatli, Bijepur, Gaisilet and Paikmal. The soil in Ambabhona block is red and yellow, alluvial type. In Sohela and Jharbandh block the soils are lateritic type of soil.
Bargarh district enjoys tropical type of monsoon characterized by mild winter and hot summer. The climate is moderate and the condition is slightly humid which is generally pleasant. The climate can be divided into four main seasons; the summer season from March to June, the rainy season from June to September, the autumn season from October to November and the winter season from December to February.
The Bargarh district falls under tropical monsoon climate. It is generally warm and receives rainfall mostly from southwest monsoon and rarely from northeast retreating monsoons. The rainy season starts from early part of the second week of June and continues till September. The average annual rainfall in Bargarh district is about 1500mm.
The district is characterized by an extreme climate with very hot dry summer and considerably cold winter. The cold season commences from November and lasts till the end of February. Generally temperature begins to increase steadily from early March till the end of May and continues till early June. The average temperature is as high as 470 C during peak summer and falls to 80 C during winter. Mean daily temperature in summer is 350 C.
The average humidity in Bargarh district varies from 40% in May to 95% in August.
Wind is generally light to moderate in the district. But sometimes strong wind blows during summer and rainy season. During the month of May and rainy season the wind blows from south-west to north-east. During the rest of the year wind blows from the direction between north and east in the morning and between north-west and north in the afternoon.
- Vegetation and Flora
Majority portion of Bargarh district is an open plain of great natural fertility drained by Danta and Jira rivers. Paddy is cultivated on the low lands whereas pulses, sesamum, coarse rice and cotton are cultivated on uplands. Besides, several vegetables are cultivated in different parts of the district. The district almost depends totally on agriculture, with a considerable amount of the land mass brought under cultivation, which is increasing constantly by reclaiming the forest land. Land used pattern of the district is shown in Table.
Statistics of land cover areas of the district Bargarh (Area in sq.km.)
|Type of land use||Total area covered|
|Land with /without scrub||289.415|
The forest areas of the district extend to 1216.13 sq km approximately and occupying 20.83 per cent of the total geographical area of the state. The vegetation in the district range from tropical semi-evergreen to dry-deciduous to grasslands with varying species composition in each type. However the vegetation of the region in general falls under the category of the tropical dry deciduous forests (Champion & Seth, 1968) but in particular it is intermediate between dry deciduous and moist peninsular type (Mishra, 1994). Depending on the local micro-climate plant diversity, species composition and effect of biotic and edaphic factors, the vegetation of the region can be divided into six distinct types (1 to 6)and four other types (7 to 10) which are mentioned below
. 1. Tropical Semi-evergreen forests
The semi-evergreen forests are predominant along the stream courses, moist valleys, gorges and waterfalls. A number of such places in the different forest localities are recorded. Among which Bhim-madua, Kapildhar, Guptajhar, Mahadevjharan, Panchupandap ghat are some of the water falls found in the Gandhamardan hill range; Chitakhol, Chikhli, Kuthi-khol, Bunjhi-pathar, Lamb-gauda, bana-gauda, Bija-khuliha, Bilsi-khol, Putuna-khol in Jhanjpahad range and Gangei-nala, Kanhei-nala, Danti-nala, Kusmada-nala, Banjipali-nala and Badmal-nala in Barapahad range and Chaurasimal, Chikhili, Patharseni, Ramkhol, Kumbh are forests located on the bank of the Hirakud Dam reservoir in the river Mahanandi presents the physiognomy of this type of forest is characterized by tall evergreen canopy, heavy lianas covering the tree having buttressed trunk, dense epiphytes and matted herbaceous under growth. The semi-evergreen forest is the climatic climax of the hill complex and is found in undisturbed state. Four distinct storeys are recognised. The main tree components are Artocarpus lakoocha, Careya arborea. Bridelia tomentosa. Dillenia pentagyna. Diospyros malabarica, Ficus benjamina. Mangifera indica, Millettia pinnata. Mitragyna parviflora, Protium serratum, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia arjuna form the top canopy. Small sized tree and large shrub like Alstonia scholaris, Actinodaphae angustifolia, Ardisia solanacea, Ficus cunia, Flemingia stricta, Ixora arborea, Macaranga peltata, Litsea monopetala, Mesua nagassarium, Murraya paniculata, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Ochna obtusata, Mallotus philippensis and few others form the second storey. The thick growth of climbers and lianas forming the dense netted mass among the trees and shrubs constitute the third storey of which Butea superba, Combretum ruxburghii, Dioscorea bulbifera, Dioscorea glares, Dioscorea puber, Millettia extensa, Pueraria tuberosa and Wattakaka volubilis. occur in profusion. The fringes of the swift mountain streams are inhabited by typical association of trees like Barringtonia acutangula, Diospyros malabarica, Millettia pinnata, Oroxylon indicum and Syzygium cumini. Along the margins of the water streams the species like Melastoma malabathricum, Reinwardtia trigyna with several ferns enhance the beauty of the surroundings. Blechnum orientale finds its appearance on the stream bed. At few places near the foothills, the tree trunks are covered with dense netted growth of Entada rheedii, Butea superba, and Pothos scandens .The fourth storey is the ground flora is rich in herbaceous species all through the year. Of these Arisaema tortuosum, Costus speciosus, Centella asiatica, Curcuma reclinata, Curcuma aromatica, Elephantopus scaber, Globba orixensis, Hedychium coronarium, Lepidagathis incurva, Microstegium ciliatum, Ponium brevifolium, Typhonium trilobatum, Zingiber casumnar need special mention. The damp surface of the rocks in shady localities is ideal niches for a large number of pseophytes like Begonia picta, Didymocarpus pygmaea, Hemionitis orifolia, Hydrolea zeylanica, Impetiens kleinii. Lobelia alsinoides, several ferns and grasses. The swampy habitat of herbaceous plant community with moss covered forest floor forms a very beautiful mesh. Some of the terrestrial ground orchids like Eulophia herbacea, Hebnaria plantaginea, Peristylus goodyeroides, Geodorum densiflorum, Dendrobium herbaceum and Nervilia plicata are found in moist and damp places under the shade of trees. At the origin points of the springs on damp wet surfaces under the shade of large trees, plants like Calamus guruba, Curcuma zedoaria, Floscopa scandens, Globba orixensis, Phrynium placentarium and many others create a sound humid habit and congenial niche for growth of various plants.
- Tropical Dry-deciduous forest
The hill slopes, foothill and greater part of the region are covered with dry deciduous type of vegetation. The lower elevation is predominant with Shorea robusta. But it does not occur in pure formation. It occurs in association with other plant species such as Anogeissus latifolia, Bombax ceiba, Bowsellia serrata, Bridelia retusa, Buchanania lanzan, Chloroxylon swietenia, Dalbergia latifolia, Diospyros melanoxylon, Gardenia latifolia, Haldinia cordifolia, Kydia calycina, Lannea coromandelica, Madhuca latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Schleichera oleosa, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia alata, Trema orientalis and Xylia xylocarpa constituting the top storey. The small trees and shrubs like Bauhinia racemosa, Cassia fistula, Cleistanthus collinus, Cordial macleodii, Desmodium heterocarpon, Grewia hirsuta, Helicteres isora. Holarrhena pubescens, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Phyllanthus emblica, Pterocarpus xylocarpa, Semecarpus anacardium constitute the intermediate storey. Mesua ferrea, a rare medicinally important tree, occurs along the stream in wild state, the shrinkage of its population is due to the over exploitation by the local inhabitants. Asparagus racemosus, Bauhinia vahlii, Butea superba, Celastrus paniculata, Cissus repens, Cryptolepis buchananii, Dioscorea bulbifera, Dioscorea wallichii, Mimosa rubicaulis, Mucuna pruriens, Passiflora foetida, Smilax zeylanica, Ventilago madraspatana, are some of the notable lianas/climbers/ twinners frequently met with such localities. The ground cover constitute the under shrubs or herbs of which Acanthospermum hispidum, Ageratum conyzoides, Andrographis paniculata, Cassia tora. Desmodium pulchella, Helicteres isora, Justicia adhatoda, Mimosa pudica, Sida cordata, Symphorema polyandrum, Urena lobata and also many grasses are of profuse occurrence.The epiphytes like Vanda tessellata and Vanda testacea and parasite like Viscum articulatum, Viscum monoicum are also abundant in these forests.
The foot hills, steep slopes and other exposed dry areas are under this type of vegetation. This forest type is derived due to over-exploitation of deciduous forests. Due to severe destruction factors such as cutting and looping, the tree cover has been reduced much and become less dense. The tree species found here are Cassia fistula, Diospyros melanoxylon, Phyllanthus emblica, Semecarpus anacardium, Shorea robusta, and Terminalia alata. The undergrowth contains shrubby, spiny of unpalatable species such as Cippadesa baccifera, Flacourtia indica, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Indigofera cassioides, Lantana camara, Mimosa rubicaulis, Woodfordia fruticosa, and Ziziphus oenoplia. On the steep rock slopes plants like Acacia catechu, Bowsellia serrata, Cochlospermum religiosum, Gardenia latifolia, Soyamida febrifuga and Sterculia urens are commonly encountered. Cuscuta reflexa, a stem parasite forms a tangled mass among the shrubs at a few places.
- Bamboo forest
In many valleys and on hill slopes two bamboo species Dendrocalamus strictus and comprising Bombusa arundinacea are found almost in pure form. Few tree species like Anogeissus latifolia, Chloroxylon swietenia, Diospyros melanoxylon, and Lagerstroemia parviflora are sometimes the common associates of bamboo. Shrubs like Holarrhena pubescens, Helicteres isora and herbs like Asparagus recemosus, Curculigo orchioides. Costus speciosus, Urginea indica are the major component of ground flora.
- Scrub forest
Scrub forest is generally found at the lower elevations especially on pediments and plains adjoining the hill range. This type of vegetation has originated due to human intervention such as forest-fire, practice of shifting cultivation, over grazing by domesticated animals and over exploitation of wild plants. In this forest type, the tree species either have disappeared from the scrub woodland of reduced or shrubby stature. Few stunted trees such as Azadirachta indica, Alangium salvifolium, Cassia fistula, Cleistanthus collinus, Diospyros melanoxylon, Phyllanthus emblica, Shorea robusta, Strychnos potatorum and shrubs like Capparis brevispine, Casearia elliptica, Carissa spinarum, Clerodendrum viscosum, Flacourtia indica, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Indigofera cassioides, Lantana camara, Martynus emarginatus and Vitex negundo are notable in respect of their abundance. Combretum roxburghii, Dioscorea wallichii. Mucuna pruriens, Mimosa rubicaulis, Tragia involucrata and Ziziphus oenoplia are remarkable species among the climbers and strugglers. At few place, the herbaceous cover is completely removed from the surface due to overgrazing and forest-fire.
Several areas in the hill range are covered with grasses and also interspersed with several stunted trees and shrubs. The dominant plant species in these grasslands are Cymbopogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon martini, which occur in association with other grasses like Aristida adscenscionis, Anthraxon lancfolius, Crysopogon lancearius, Eragrostis ciliaris, Heteropogon contortus, Imperata cylindrica, Microstegium ciliatum and few others. Few stunted Watakaka volubilis trees and shrubs like Acacia catechu, Albizzia odoratissima, Erythrina suberosa, Erythrina variegata, Lannea coromandelica, Lagerstroemia purviflora, phyllanthus emblica and Woodfordia fruticosa are found sporadically in this grassland. Among stunted trees and shrubs Buchanania lanzan, Madhuca longifolia, Shorea robusta, Pterocarpus marsupium, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Woodfordia fruticosa, Phyllanthus emblica are found in this grassland. The rock surface on plateau with thin soil cover is inhabited by Cyanotis fasciculata, Phoenix acaulis. Pogostemon qudrifolius, Polycarpea aurea, and Sleria tessellata. Besides this main vegetation, the district has other vegetations like hydrophytic, riverine, pteridophytic and gymnospermic vegetation.
- Hydrophytic vegetation
It is very difficult to draw a line between the hydrophytic and terrestrial plant communities because aquatic habitat cannot be sharply distinguished from the terrestrial ones. In most of the climate, there is a seasonal variation and fluctuation of water table. However, the plants found in different types of aquatic habitat like wetland, marshes, mudflats, rivers and the irrigation canals.The different types of hydrophytic plants found in the districts are :Aeschynomene sp., Aponogeton natans, Azolla sp., Bacopa monnieri, Ceratophyllum sp., Eichhornia crassipes, Hydrilla sp., Hygrophila sp., Ipomoea carnea, Lemna sp., Limnophila sp., Ludwigia adscendens, Myriophyllum sp., Nelumbo nucifera, N. indicum, Nymphaea alba, N. nouchali and Nymphoides cristatum, Ottelia alismoides, Phyla nodiflora, Pistia sp., Sagittaria sp., Monochoria sp. and Caldesia sp., Vallisnaria spiralis, Wolffia sp.Generally Lemna, Azolla, Eichhornia and Pistia form the mat cover on the surface of more or less all the stagnant water bodies. In the village pond of the district Trapa bispinosa and Nelumbo nucifera are cultivated. Nelumbo and Nymphaea are also not very uncommon in the villages. Hygrophila and Alternanthera are commonly found in the mashy places. The species like Vallisneria, Najas, Ottelia and Potamogeton are found to grow profusely in the tanks and rivers in the district (river Jira, Hirakud dam reservoir near Ramkhol village forest).In the monsoon when the paddy fields are full of rain water, they support the growth of species like – Utricularia sp., Eriocaulon sp., Eclipta sp., Spilanthes sp., Monochoria vaginalis and Centella asiatica.In the forests and in open marshy and swampy waste places, a rich carpet-vegetation consisting of Phyla nodiflora, Polygonum plebeium, Veronica anagallis-aquatica, Mollugo pentaphylla, Eclipta prostrata, Hydrolea zeylanica, Ammania spp., Drosera burmannii Limnophila sp., Hedyotis diffusa and many species of sedges occur in many places in the district.
- Riverine vegetation
The vegetation along the course of rivers, rivulets streams and in the sandy river beds and banks are quite characteristic and the floras available are:Tamarix ericoides, Terminalia arjuna, Bombax cieba, Aegle marmelos, Dalbergia sissoo, Ficus hispida, F. racemosa, Sapindus emarginatus, Strychnos potatorum are some of the common trees. The shrubby vegetation is represented by Adhatoda zeylanica, Calotropis gigantea, Exacum bicolor, Vitex negundo, Lantana camara, Tragia involucrata, Jatropha gossypifolia, and Cassia alata. Besides, the herbaceous floras are represented by the Alternanther sessilis, Indigofera tinctoria, Alysicarpus vaginalis, Phyla nodiflora, Rumex dentatus, Haliotropium indicum, H. strigosum, Boerhavia diffusa, Sphaeranthus indica, Imperata cylindrica, Cyperus iria, C. niveus, C. rotundus, and Fimbristylis complanata. The weeds of exotic origin like Argemone mexicana, A. ochroleuca, Ageratum conyzoides and Polygonum barbatum are found in streams with sluggish water.Several cultivated species belonging to the family Brassicaceae, Malvaceae and Cucurbitaceae find their way in these river beds as renegade.
- Pteridophytic vegetation
The various Pteridophytic plants found in the district are:Adiantum incisum Forsk., Adiantum philippense Linn., Azolla imbricata (Roxb. ex Griffith) Nakii, Blechnum orientale L., Cheilanthes anceps Blanf., Cheilanthes grisea (Blanf.)Blanf., Christelia dentata (Forsk.) Brownsey & Jermy, Christelia parasitica (L.) Lev., Christelia subpubescens (Bl.) Hoitt., Cyclosorus goggilobes (schkubr) Link., Drynaria quarcifolia (Linn.) J. Smith, Dryopteis cochleata (D.Don) C. Chr., Hemionitis arifolia (Burm.) Moore, Lygodium flexuosum (Linn.) Swartz., Marsilea minuta Linn., Marsilea quadrifida Linn., Microcorium membranaceum (D.Don) Ching, Ophioglossum reticulatum L., Paraleptochilus decurrens (Bl.) Copel., Polypodium membranaceum D.Don, Pronephrium nudatum (Roxb. Ex Griff.) Holtt., Pteris biaurita Linn., Selaginella repanda (Desv. & Poir.) Spring,, Tectaria cicutaria (L.) Copel. and Woodwardia unigemmata (Makino) Nakai
- Gymnospemic vegetation
The gymnosperms found in the district are very less in number and are confined to Gandhamardan hill ranges. The plants are Cycas circinalis L. and Gnetum ula Brong.
It is noteworthy to state that Bargarh district is so lucky to have Barapahad, Gandhamardan and Jhanjpahad hill ranges. Thèse hills are the store-house of médicinal plants and could be exploited for the benefit of human and animal life.Forest flora of Gandhamardan hill ranges of Bargarh district has uniqueness in comparision to other forest localities of the district. It is not only a store house of medicinal plants but also a sacred place for the pilgrims (mythological myths). The hill is rich in herbal wealth.Amongst the three important hill ranges most of the scientific works have been done on the vegetation of Gandhamardan. A very little study has been made on Barapahad and Jhanj pahada.Gandhamardan hill range is floristically important and is known as ‘Ayurvedic paradise and treasure house for potential medicinal plant species. It is also a national botanical heritage. Due its diversified climatic condition, the hill range has thousand of species of flora including medicinal plants. And thus always attracting scientists for research work on the subject from various part of the country. Some research work has been undertaken by scientists on the vegetation of Bargarh district including Gandhamardan hill ranges (Haines, 1921-25; Mooney, 1950; Raju, 1960; Mishra, 1994; Saxena and Brahmam, 1994-96, 1995; Mishra and Behera, 1998; Reddy and Pattanaik, 2009, Sahu, 2010, Bhadra et al., 2014). Major floristic work has been undertaken by Saxena and Brahmam (1995) to enumerate 712 vascular flora of Gandhamardan hill ranges. Mishra (2004) who has been awarded Ph. D. degree for his work on the vegetation of Nrusinghnath-Harishankar complex and he has recorded 920 vascular plants in his work. Reddy and Pattnaik (2009) have assessed and analysed on 912 plant species in their research work. In 2010 Sahu and others have studied on arboreal taxa diversity of tropical forest of Gandhamardan hill ranges.Besides floristic study, some scientific work on ethnomedicinal plants has also been carried out by Panigrahi, 1963; Panigrahi et al., 1964; Brahmam and Saxena, 1990; Misra, 1990; Misra et al., 1994; Saxena and Brahmam, 1995, Misra and Das, 1998; Pradhan et al., 1999; Sen and Pradhan, 1999; Mishra and Das, 2003; Behera and Sen,2008; Sen and Behera, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2015a, 2015b ; Sen et al., 2012).
Status Medicinal Plants :
Gandhamardan hill range that extended upto 1800 sq. k.m. was fully of dense forest and was replete with herbs and medicinal plants. But out of them several species have become rare. These include Barun, Bidang, Kochila, Manjistha Panki, Paldhua, Maida, Sunamukhi, Tamul, Bhumi Kusmanda etc.Major medicinal plant species, such as Asparagus racemosus Willd., Celastrus paniculata Willd., Chlorophytum arundinaceum Baker, Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm., Curculigo orchioides Gaertn., Curcuma angustifolia Roxb., Gloriosa superba L.,Gymnema sylvestre (Retz.) R. Br. ex Schult., Plumbago zeylanica L., Rubia cordifolia L. and Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook.f. & Thoms., were harvested in bulk for preparation of medicines by the local people. Profuse collection of above medicinal plants has placed them in threatened and vulnerable categories in Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) of Orissa.
List of plant species under threat: Panki- Cordia macleodii (Griff.) Hook. f. & Thoms., Maida-Litsea glutinosa (Lour.) Robins., Bija- Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb., Amra- Schrebera swietenioides Roxb., Bidang- Embelia ribes, Kochila- Strychnos nux-vomica, Mangistha- Rubia cordifolia, Paldhua-Erythrina variegata, Maida, Sunamukhi- Cassia anguistifolia, Tamul-Ehetia levis, Nageswar-Mesua ferrea, Patalgorud- Besides, Bhoj patra- Betula sp. Bana-ada- Zingiber purpureum, Somalata- Sarcostemma accidum, Teliakanda – Remusatia vivipara, Amda- Spondias pinnata, Bad bhulen –Heterostemma tanjorense, Salap- Caryota urens, Banshi Gopal- Peucedanum nagapurense, Plants of Asthabarga in the Gandhamardan hill ranges Jeevak- Malaxis acuminata, Rusvak- Malaxis musifera, Riddhi- Hebenaria intermedia, Vrddhi- Habenaria edgeworthii.At this juncture, protection and conservation of plant resources is very important. Therefore, sustainable utilization of medicinal plants is an urgent demand of the hour. Sustainable wild collection with fair trade would help to conserve the natural resources of the district. Farmers should be aware and encouraged for cultivation of some selected number of threatened and indigenous medicinal plant species on the edges of forests and in home gardens. The state Forest Department should initiate in situ as well as ex situ conservation practices by promoting nurseries, home garden and plantation. The Village Management Committee (VMC) and Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC) should be motivated by the state government to protect the forests from denudation. The local non-government organisations (NGOs) should promote participatory research in breeding and participatory knowledge management involving scientists, government officials and tribal families. The Forest and Environment Department should establish linkages with markets, so that the cultivation of medicinal plants becomes market-driven, with assured income security for tribals. It is necessary to improve the socio-economic conditions of people living around the hills to minimize the anthropogenic activities in order to prevent depletion of natural resources of this sacred hill range. Proper identification, selection of plant species on priority basis and documentation of traditional knowledge of ethnomedicinal value retained by the tribal and other rurul communities for the future researchers.
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