ENVIS Technical Report 97,   July 2015
Conservation Of Fragmented Forests In Banavasi Range, Sirsi Forest Division, Kanara Circle
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
*Corresponding author: cestvr@ces.iisc.ernet.in

Survey no                  : 91                          Area: 62.08 ha (Proper Forest)
109 B1                       3.44 ha (Betta- unassigned)
109 B2                       9.31 ha    (Betta- unassigned)                         
Protection required          : CPT for 8 km length
Village Forest Committee: No
Description of forest: Tree growth is somewhat better than in Rangapura Forest, Badangod village. A visual estimate shows about 50% of unassigned bettas are encroached and cultivated mainly by cotton. The basal area/ha is around 12-15 sq.m/ha. This needs to enhanced to 30-35 sq.m through consistent programmes. The forest could have been of semi-evergreen nature once; but today there is hardly any evidence that this forest was of such kind as most trees are deciduous, obviously because of desiccation due to large gaps and periodical ground fires in summer. The ponds downside of the forest had very little water in January itself the level of which was below the sluice gate level. The arecanut farmers in the command area seem to be relying on bore wells for irrigation.
Of the tree growth noted were: Anogeissus latifolia (mostly stumps), Bridelia retusa, Butea monosperma, Careya arborea, Cordia wallichi,  Dalbergia latifolia, Ficus spp., Madhuca latifolia, Phyllanthus emblica, Pterocarpus marsupium, Streblus asper, Syzygium cumini, Tectona grandis (mostly reduced to stumps), Terminalia bellirica, Terminalia tomentosa, Vitex altissima, Xantolis tomentosa etc. Bambusa arundinacea is frequent and the forest is densely infested with weeds, prominently Eupatorium. Among the shrubs and climbers noticed were Aristolochia indica, Allophyllus serratus, Embelia pteriam-cottam,  Carissa carandas, Ichnocarpus frutescenc, Moullava spicata, Naravelia zeylanica, Smilax macrophylla, Tarenna asiatica etc.The presence of isolated large trees indicate that once it was a high stature forest.

Threats: Deforestation for cultivation (mainly cotton) has taken a good toll of the betta forests. The other forest patch is also degraded and densely infested with weeds.
Future management suggested

  1. Requirement of cattle-proof trench (CPT): CPT required for 8 km is recommended (see figure). CPT will be the immediate solution for preventing further encroachments
  2. Minimum basal area to be targeted: Under proper protection and management the basal area of trees could easily be increased to the least 35 sq.m/ha through replanting, natural regeneration and proper protection.
  3. Species recommended for planting/natural regeneration: To be chosen from the indicative list
  4. VFC  formation: Co-management is the better solution for isolated patches of forests amidst human habitation. Therefore constitution of VFC is very important.
  5. Awareness programmes: To be conducted periodically in the village
  6. Meeting fuelwood crisis: 25 out of the almost 75 ha to be used for fuelwood species. Native species, as indicated in Table-1  to be preferred for planting purpose. The remaining to be earmarked as conservation area and no biomass/NTFP to be harvested till forest recovery. Fast growing species and wood gasifier recommended. Households with adequate number of cattle should be assisted to install gobar gas (biogas) plants in. Astra stoves and solar devices (particularly for hot water) are recommended to save use of fuel wood from forest.
  7. Redeclaration as sacred grove: The hilltop has newly built temple of mother deity Gutavva. The forest be named as ‘Gutavvakanu’ as it was known in the olden days, in the presence of VFC and village community
  8. NTFP rights: To be given to the VFCs to be formed

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