Sahyadri Conservation Series: 23 ENVIS Technical Report: 53,  May 2013
Status of Forest in Shimoga District, Karnataka
1Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
2Member, Western Ghats Task Force, Government of Karnataka, 3Member, Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Government of Karnataka
*Corresponding author:


Mammals: The  Shimoga  district  is  rich  in fauna  with varied mammals due to diverse forests of tropical  evergreen,  moist  deciduous  and  dry  forests.Elephants,  Indian bison,  antelopes,  sambar,  Indian  tigers,  panthers, leopards,  barking deer,  wild pigs,  black monkeys,  jungle cats, bears, red  squirrels  and  porcupines  are  found  in  the  high  forested  area  of Shimoga  and  Sagartaluks.  The wild boar, destructive to crops, is predominant in Channagiri, Nagar and other parts (working plan, 2003)

Birds:  A  good  number  of  species  of  birds  are  found  in  the  woods  of Shimoga  district.  Among the important  species  are parrot,  vulture, kite,  green  pigeon,  rock  pigeon,  peafowl,  jungle  fowl,  partridge, wood-pecker,  myna,  tailor  bird,  sparrow,  swallow,  king  fisher,  etc.Teals,  ducks  and  wild  geese  are  found  in  the  tanks  of  Shimoga and  Channagiritaluks.  The district is also noted for game  birds such  as  tree  pie,  jungle  crow,  gray  tit,  yellow-cheeked  tit,  parrots, peacocks,  herons  and  storks.

Reptiles:  Crocodiles are found in the Tunga and Bhadra rivers.  Among the other species of reptiles are tortoise, chameleon and python found in the high forested areas.  Snakes are found in large numbers in the malnad areas.  Green snake, krait, cobra and viper are met with in all parts of the district.

Amphibians: Green  frog,  bull  frog  and  tree  frog  are  common  among  the amphibians.

Fishes:  Among the fishes, the important kinds noticed in the district are  black  cat  fish,  scorpion  fish,  mashur  and  murrel  fiddler.


In the fast changing world of today the demand for traditional wooded products has come down considerably because of various reasons. In the 19th century and early 20th century, besides a few selected timber species, sandalwood and firewood there was not much in demand for other forest products. But by the middle of the 20th century due to rapid population growth and consequent increase in the demand several tree species and other forest products became marketable. This caused tremendous pressure on the forests and, at many places resulted in their depletion and degradation (KFD Annual report).

Timber: In the past Bhadravathi was an important source of timber supply to the market. The trees were sold after extraction, conversion, transportation and classification in the depots. From the depot timber is supplied to various departments and to bonafide users on retail sales and rest is auctioned periodically (Working Plan, Bhadravathi division). In Shimoga division, various kinds of timber from dead and fallen trees and teak poles are removed toGovernment timber depots. From the depots timber is supplied to Government departments andpublic at retail price fixed and revised from time to time. Timber left after making these supplies is auctioned periodically (Working Plan, Shimoga division).The kinds of timber in demand are Teak, Beete, Honne, Mathi, Hunal, Nandi, Surhonne, Hebbalasu, Yethyaga, Bilidevdar and Neralu. Table 10 lists the quantity of timber extracted during 1909 to 1955.

Firewood: Firewood extracted from forests is sold to public from various depots through Karnataka State Forest Industries Corporation in Bhadravathi town.There is a demand for firewood from distant places like Davanagere,Chitradurga, etc. The firewood requirement is met partly from harvest of Acacia auriculiformisplantations of the department and partly from the harvest of captive plantations of the MPM Ltd(Working Plan, Shimoga division).The MPM Ltd., as per the agreement conditions of the lease, concedes 12.5 % of the harvested produce to the Forest Department as lease rent for the land. Lops and tops of the plantations after harvest and removal of firewood and pulpwood are used by the neighbouring villagers. Figure 5 illustrates the major forest produces (teak, fuelwood, etc.) during 2005-06 to 2010-11.

Table 10: Timber operations in Shimoga district (Mysore forest administration report. 1909-1954)

Year Quantity cut in forests (cft)
Shimoga Sagar Bhadravathi Total
1909-10       1,91,500
1910-11       1,62,272
1911-12       1,86,574
1912-13       1,55,767
1923-24 3,83,033 84,756 2,99,083 7,66,872
1924-25 3,16,142 82,780 1,69,404 5,68,326
1926-27 1,81,163 79,877 3,88,973 6,50,013
1927-28 2,38,567 93,211 2,96,791 6,28,569
1928-29 2,63,134 61,869 2,45,051 5,70,054
1936-37 2,01,492 38,384 2,47,324 4,87,200
1949-50 1,06,445 52,999 1,44,602 3,04,046
1954-55 1,91,847 1,21,960 2,61,768 5,75,575

Bamboo: The dead and dry bamboos were removed for the supply to Mysore Paper Mills Ltd. Green big and small bamboos are supplied to local Medars and for bonafide users from various depots.In order to meet requirement of local people and others, greenbamboo is removed as per silvicultural principles. Figure 6 depicts the quantum of bamboo extracted during 2005-06 during 2010-11.

Sandalwood: Dead and fallen sandalwood trees are extracted from forests, departmentally and supplied to government sandalwood depot. Supplies to various agencies are made from the sandalwood depot. Table 11 provides the details of sandalwood collected from Shimoga during 1909 to 1925.

Table 11: Sandalwood from Shimoga district (Mysore forest administration report-1909-1954)

Year Quantity of rough wood collected (tons)
Shimoga Sagar Bhadravathi Total
1909-10       665
1910-11       766
1911-12       1213
1912-13       777
1921-22 105 27   132
1922-23 224 58   282
1923-24 222 71 107 400
1924-25 265 238 506 1009
1926-27 347 206 218 771
1927-28 381 218 263 862
1928-29 362 169 340 871

Bamboo and sandalwood extracted from forests during the last decade is given in Table 12.

Table 12: Bamboo and Sandalwood extracted from Shimoga district (KFD Annual report)

Year Bamboo (tons) Sandalwood (kg)
2000-01 995.3 10.211
2001-02 552.330 110.807
2002-03 6039.04 -
2003-04 0 2498
2005-06 11605.23 (cum) 38407
2006-07 1527.79 (cum) 189
2008-09 170421 (nos) 309.5
2009-10 150067.3 (cum) 0.00

Minor forest products

Non-timber forest products are important forest products. In Karnataka, forests play animportant role in the socio-economic development of the state. Forests help in maintaining a stable environment conducive to sustained development of agriculture. Forests meet a large share of the energy needs of the population, more so in the rural areas. A significant portion of the fodder needs of the vast cattle population is also met from the forest. Forest products, in addition to contributing to the state’s income, also play a very important role in the rural and tribal economy. Many of the forest products, including non-timber forest products (NTFPs), provide sustenance to the rural and tribal people, who collect a large part of their dailynecessities, including food and medicines, from the forests. Most of these products represent a direct subsidy to the rural poor, and constitute an integral element of the factors alleviating their poverty. For landless and marginal farmers living in the vicinity of forests, forest-related activities generate their primary source of income.  (Panchamukhi

In Karnataka, collection of non-timber forest produce is being entrusted mainly to Tribal Societies. There are 19 such Tribal Societies in Karnataka. Wherever the societies do not exist the NTFP collection leases are granted through tender-cum-auction sales. Firewood is sold at fixed rates at the depots for domestic consumption. Canes and bamboos are provided by the department on payment basis against the quantity allotted to private artisans (Govt of Karnataka, 1996).  These officially extracted NTFPs are included in the estimation of the state domestic product. The value of NTFPs collected by the local populationis not included in the estimation of SDP. Failure to take these resources into account means neglecting a considerable source of wealth, at least locally. This also prevents optimal resource allocation.

Forests of Shimoga produce a variety of products such as leaves, fruits and flowers that are used locally or traded. The common minor forest produces are soapnut, tamarind fruits, tanning barks, honeybee wax, seeds, non-edible oil seeds, etc. These productsare of great economic value, and are known as Minor Forest Produce (MFP). This also includes different varieties of medicinal plants which are highly valuable. Due to over exploitation and unscientific way of harvesting, some medicinal plants have become extinct. For better regeneration, protection and management of these resources, these products should be harvested in controlled and scientific manner. Figure 7.1 and 7.2 provides the quantity of MFP during 2005-06 to 2010-11.

Present method of Harvesting

At present,Minor forest products are sold through tender-cum-auction sale once in two years taking range as a unit. Since there is no proper knowledge available for collection of products, contractors use very crude methods for collection of MFP. This results in large-scale destruction of the resource base. There is no regulation by the Department (KFD) on the intensity of collection of MFP. The payment to the workers is based on quantity of produce collected. So the workers(unskilled, skilled) extract maximum quantity within short time.

The evergreen forests yield timber which was used for electric transmission poles and railway sleepers. The felled areas are being tended for getting the natural regeneration of valuable species. The deciduous forests supply timber, firewood, charcoal, bamboos, matchwood and plywood. Plantations of teak, silver oak (Gravillearobusta), matchwood and other valuable species are raised in the clear-felled areas for improving the potential of the forests and for meeting the demand for certain species (ShimogaGazeteer, 1975). Dry deciduous forests are useful for firewood and charcoal. Suitable areas in the district are afforested with eucalyptus and other forest growing species under various plan schemes. Dry scrub Forests are afforested as a measure of soil conservation under relief works such as drought relief, famine relief and rural employment programme. The Mysore forest department had a commitment of supplying 36000 tons of firewood per year to Mysore Iron and Steel, and 50000 tons of air dry bamboo to Mysore Paper mills(Mysore forest administration report). Table 13 provides the timber and major forest produce in Shimoga circle during the last decade.

Table 13: Timber and Major Forest Produce (Shimoga circle) (KFD Annual report)

Year Rosewood (cum) Teakwood (cum) Sawn Timber (cum) Other kinds of timber (cum) Nilgiri (cum) Match wood (cum) Timber in round poles (cum) Firewood (cum) Softwood
2009-10 853.76 935.01 1239.98 2649.43 146.18   900.5 1267.36 0.00
2008-09 227.661 240.738 3933.47 3541.66 19.44   8763.66 1791.88 0.00
2006-07 236.170 150.740 36.630 2805.85 383.11   4158.00 2529.76 0.00
2005-06 146.27 84.19 28.4 1598.6 284.32   475.69 909.81 0.00
2003-04 122.19 140.72 41.05 1119.34 12.85 0.00 320.95 1740.42 808.00
2002-03 158.949 105.770 36.355 437.522 85 - 17.633 5369.528 2238.054
2001-02 337.97 157.658 53.803 1563.45 1.958 - 78 597 13,475.357 128.867
2000-01 201.743 149.311 43.213 1263.96 584.17 .830 2,925.31 11,585.1 20.368

Figure 5: Major forest produces in Shimoga circle from 2005-2006 to 2011-2011

Figure 6: Bamboo extracted in Shimoga circle during 2005-2006  to 2010-2011

Figure 7.1: Minor Forest Produce in Shimoga circle during 2005-2006 to 2010-2011

Figure 7.2: Minor Forest Produces in Shimoga circle during 2005-2006 to 2010-2011


Hydroelectric and irrigation Projects (River valley projects)

There are, 4 irrigation projects (Tunga, Ambligola and Anjanapur and Jampadahalla projects), irrigation and power (Bhadra reservoir) and one power (The Sharavathi Valley Hydroelectric Project) project in the district. The very well wooded area submerged in these development projects are given below:(Working Plan, 1962).

Sharavathi valley Hydroelectric Project-318.57
Bhadra Reservoir Project-112.66
Tunga Reservoir Project-13.31
Ambligola Reservoir-4.35
Jampadahalla Reservoir-1.6

These projects have a serious bearing on the forest percentage, forest management and yields from the forests. Before these river valley projects were taken up, the hill districts of Shimogahad a forest percentage of 23.8 andover 90% constituted dense wood land with growing stock upto 5000 c. ft. and more per acre (360m3/ha) (Working Plan,1962).

In addition to the permanent loss of forest land by submersion, the water spread disrupts and destroys land communications to other valuable forests, making them useless pockets. The area submerged under Sharavathi project is largely of the semi evergreen type. The areas submerged under Bhadra, Tunga, Ambligola and Jampadahalla reservoirs include the finest natural teak bearing areas (Working Plan, 1962).The big reservoirs bring about changes in the surrounding areas and even in composition of nearly forest, making them moister. Table 14 details the extent of forest area released for non-forestry purposes in Shimoga circle and Table 15 provided the details for the period 2008 to 2011.

Table14: Forest area released for non forest purposes(since formation of divisions to 2007-08) in Shimoga circle

Sl. No. Circle Division Range Location (Sy. No) Extent of Area in Ha G.O.No.& Date Project / Purposes Remarks
Bhadravathi Division       
1 Shimoga Bhadravathi Bhadravathi BullapuraSy. No. 55 215.220 No. C1 192 11W 50 Dt. Bangalore For VISL township  
      Anekoppa Sy.No.44 147.210 25/26-9-1959 &FFD FGL 73, Bangalore    
      Ujjanipura Sy.No.05 34.230 11/2/1980    
    Tarikere Kemmanagundi 80.000 AHFF 83 FTM 90 dt.23-4-91 For removal Iron ore. Land leased period expired      ( Area handed over to Bhadra wild life Division)
    Bhadravathi Siddarahalli&Chammanahalli 860.000 MC 624/30-7-68 manganese ore. Proposal rejected in higher authorities
    Umblebyle Bilikalbetta 81.340 ML 1910/27-9-83  Granite stone Not in Operation
    Channagiri Bandigudda 40.120 ML 1966/28-2-85  Lime stone Mining lease renewed by MOEF.
    Bhadravathi Antharagange SF & MF 47.600 GO 1850-95-FC dt.15-5-1996 Agriculture purpose Prior to 1978 encroachment yet to be released process is going on.
    Umblebyle Umblebyle SF &Hunsekatte MF 11.980                -                  -                  -  
    Channagiri Basapura SF Laxmipur MF, Kaggi MF. 106.840                -                  -                  -  
    Nallur Bhadrapura SF 78.690                -                  -                  -  
    Lakkavalli Gurupura, Kundur&Tyagadabagi MF 17.570                -                  -                  -  
    Umblebyle Halalakkavalli No 19 223.900  No.8-30-97-FC dt : 1-10-03  Project Purposes Hon'ble supreme court central Govt. agrees in Principal for division
    Chornadihalli 37,45      
      Total   1944.700      
Shimoga Division         
  Shimoga Shimoga Ayanur Kumsi 526.100 Agreement on dated:30-7-69 Mining Renewal proposal has been submitted to government.
  G.T.D. Alkola Sy.No.1 of SrigandaKavalu 1.210 FEE 59 FGK 93 05-07-1994 Ring Road Project  
      Shankar Range Sy. No.1,2 22.260 FEE 89 FGL/94 dt: 13-1-05 Upper Tunga Project  
      Mandagadde Range Sy No. 14,18,40,41, 55  & 56 143.230  
    Total 692.800      
Sagar Division         
    Sagar Nagara KPC Varahi Project 2668.000 - Project  
    Chakra --,,-- 1325.000 - --,,--  
    Savehaklu --,,-- 853.000 - --,,--  
  KPTCL Kararibylu to M.K. Byle road 600.000 - Projected (Road)  
  KPC ChannalCutting 400.000   Channal  
  KPC Under submerssion 24460.000 --    
  Hosanagar Under submerssion 7760.000   Submerssion  
  Sagar Under submerssion 8840.000   Submerssion  
  KPTCL Sagar to Sorab 110 K.V. Line 39.000 FEE 106 FGL-941 Dtd: 7-11-1995 Submerssion construction of 110 K.W. line  
  Shikaripura Under submerssion 743.000 - Submerssion  
  Soraba --Nil-- --Nil-- --    
  KPC Kargal Under submerssion 51.150 G.O.No. 53, FGL. 2000 Hydro Electro Project at 6-10-2000    
    220 K.V. Line From S.T.R.P.T.O. Talaguppa 20.600      
  Shikaripura Hosur Mines 17.500 G.O.No. FEE.78.FFM. 96. Dt 12-11-2001    
Kargal TalakalaleSy.No. 118, 151 7.100 FEE-253-FGL/2000/13-5-2002 Mahatma Gandhi Hydro electric tail race  
Chordi KonehosurSy.No. 47 &GilalgundiSy.No. 4 3.200 FEE-297-FGL/298/03/26-3-2003 KollibachalluHalla  
  Anavatti Construction of first grade collage in Sy. No. 10 of Anavatti 1.600 FEE-321-FGL-2000    dated : 19-10-01 Construction of first grade collage  
Total 47789.15      
Wildlife Division Shimoga     
1 Shimoga Wildlife Sacrebyle Shettihalli wildlife sanctuary 49.260 FEE-89-FGL-1994    dated : 13-01-06 For Construction of Upper Tunga Project Released on 30-3-06
S. F.  Division Shimoga       
1 Shimoga S.F.Dn Nil - -  
      Circle Total   50426.65      

Table 15: Forest area released for non forestry purpose from 2008-2011

Division Area in Hectares
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Bhadravathi 709.12 317.34 389.867
Sagar 9.401 0  
Shimoga 3351.32 3351.32 7.374
Shimoga wildlife 0 0  
Total 4069.844 3668.66 397.241


Some of the areas of forest divisions are leased out to 1) Mysore Paper Mills (MPM) limited, 2) Karnataka Forest Development Corporation (KFDC) limited and 3) Karnataka Cashew Development Corporation (KCDC). Divisionwise extent of plantations for the period 2005 to 2011 is given in Table 16.

Table 16: Plantations raisedduring 2005-2010 in Shimoga circle

Division Plantation extent in hectares
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Wildlife Division Shimoga. 0 277.5 250 10 0 45.00
Bhadravathi 734.50 1018 2240 2918 2375.00 2375.00
Social Forestry Shimoga 359.50 241 14 96.5 117.90 10.00
Shimoga Division 1267.50 1092 1930.87 1980.12 2699.00 2845.00
Sagar Division 949.00 1319.24 3080.00 2872 1825.00 1445.00
Circle total 2576.00 3947.740 7514.870 7876.62 7016.9 6720


  1. Aralikatti,K.S. (2001).Working plan for the forests of Shimoga division.
  2. Forest Survey of India (Ministry of Environment and Forests), Government of India. India State of Forest Report 2011.
  3. Karnataka Forest Department Annual Report for the Year 1990-2010.
  4. Karnataka forest department Annual Report 2009-10.
  5. Karnataka state Gazeteer department, Shimoga Gazetter-1975.
  6. Panchamukhi.P.R, PushpaTrivedi, Saibala Debi, Arun Kumar Kulkarni and Preeti Sharma. Natural Resource Accounting in Karnataka A study of the land forestry sector.
  7. Report of the Forest Administration in the Mysore state for the Years 1893-1956
  8. Rangaswamy,V.( 2003).Working plan for the forests of Bhadravathi division.
  9. Rangaswamy,V.( 2003).Working plan for the forests of Sagar division.
  10. Working plan report for supply of firewood and charcoal to Mysore Iron and steel limited,Bhadravathi and Bamboos to Mysore paper mills limited, Bhadravathi from forests of Bhadravathi, Tarikere, Chikmaglur,Shimoga and Sagar division-July 1962.
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