Palamu Tiger Reserve is located in the district of Palamu, situated between latitudes 23 digree25 inch and 23 digree55 inch North and Longitudes 83 digree50 inch and 84 degree 36 inch eastern in the state of Jharkhand.
This forests now forms part of the two Forest Divisions namely project Tiger Division and Daltonganj South Division. Headed by Divisional Forest Officers under the palamau project Tiger Circle. Vide notification No.35/96 dated 15.01.97 by the state Govt. Total area of Palamu Tiger Reserve is 1026.00Sq.Kms.
Initially all the forests of the present Reserve were under the parent Palamu Forest division which was formed in 1875. In 1884, the Chhotanagpur division was constituted comprising as subdivisions the formerly constituted Palamu, Hazaribagh and Singhbhum divisions.in 1890-91 Palamu was again formed into a separate division which remained till the year 1952
Majority of the Reserved Forest were constituted in 1877 under the Indian Forest Act. Of 1863 but they over ratified in 1879 under the Indian Forest Act 1878.
Protected Forest (old) was earlier notified under section 20 of the Indian Forest Act 1878. All these forest were later notified as reserve forest under section 20 of the Indian forests Act 1927 vide notification No. SO.2688 dated 6th month 1978 by the State govt. Khalsa reserve forests were notified as reserve forests vide notification No.6661-111-F339-949 dated 7.11.1949 and SO.100 dated 18.1.1978.
All the Zamindari forests were notified as protected forests under the provision of Indian forest Act 1927 vide various notifications from 1953 to 1966. All these projected forests are right burdened forests.
979.97 Sq. Km.area of the Palamu tiger reserve has been declared as Palamu wildlife Sanctuary under section 18 (1) of the wildlife (protection) Act 1972 vide S.O.No.1224 dated 17.7.1979 an area of 746.36Sq.Km.has been sent to State Govt for final notification under section 26 of the Act. An area of 226.32.Sq.Km. has been notified as Betla National park.
The nearest railhead is Daltonganj which is 25 Km. away from Betla, the centre of the Forest Zone. Berwadih and Chhipadoher are also rail heads inside the reserve.
The nearest airport is Ranchi which is about 180 Km. from Daltonganj and 195 Km. from Betla and Patna airport is about 250Kms. From Betla, tourist head quarter of the Palamu Tiger reserve.
The First enquiry for conservation of forests of Palamu was carried out in 1864 when a series of question sent out by Anderson, Conservator of Forests, Bengal through the Secretary to Government of Bengal to all Commissioners. The Commissioner, Chhotanagpur Division made the following remarks on the report of the Deputy Commissioner, Loherdagga district.
There are doubtless Sal forests in Palamu which are worth preserving and I have given instructions to the Revenue Surveyor to survey such tracts, where extensive and found in estates the property of government in separate blocks with a view to their being excluded from the settlement that they may be made of the cultivated lands and I shall take care that in effecting these settlement provision is made for their preservation, but new roads must be opened before the Palamu timber can be made much use of.
Both the Government and private forests of the Lohardagga District were said to contain valuable timber and the Deputy Commissioner was of opinion that the former might be preserved and managed with advantage and that it was desirable that private forests should also be properly looked after.
First Attempts, at forest conservancy
As a result of the Deputy Commissioners recommendations 178 square miles of forest in Government estates were demarcated in 1854 and set aside for protection In 1871 Captain Losack, Deputy Conservator of Forests made a rapid inspection of the district. In 1873 Dr. Sehlich, as Conservator of forests, Bengal, examined the Palamu forests and drew up a memorandum on forest operations in the district. He reported that steps had been taken and an establishment sanctioned to bring 178 Sq. Miles of forest in the Palamu Sub-district, Chhotanagpur Division under control and management. In 1874-75 Mr. Johnston selected 37 blocks of forests, aggregating 151 Sq. Miles to be gazette as reserves. The Palamu Forest Division was constituted in 1875.
Reservation of Forest: The 37 blocks selected by Mr. Johnston were gazette as Government reserved forests by a notification dated the 10th August, 1875. Subsequently inspection by Dr. Sehlich and approved by Government and the new blocks were gazette by a notification dated the 10th May, 1877.
In a notification dated the 23rd January, 1879 these same blocks namely Kechki, Betla, Saidupe, Kumandih, (in Latehar Division) Ramandag, and Baresand were declared reserved forest under section 34 of v11 of 1878.In 1881 Tongaree Block was reserved. In 1920 certain abandoned villages, namely Huluk, Kurumkheta and Kerh-11 were added to the reserved.
The history of the protected forests dates back to 1892 when Government issued a notification declaring all wastelands not used for cultivation or habitation to protected forests. This notification was amended in 1894 to apply only to wastelands over which the Government exercised proprietary rights. In 1898 during the course of settlement operations a report on the protected forests was prepared but the Commissioner raised objection to the principles and these were modified.
The principles eventually adopted was to allow for purposes of cultivation an area equal to that already under the cultivation and to make the protected forest if it exceeded half a square mole in extent. The protected forest constituted under this principle comprising 81 sq. Miles were Gazetted in 1902. The original notification of 1894 cancelled. Dorami, Kuchila, Barichattan, Mundu, Bhawarbandha, Darichapar, Ramseli, Tanwai etc, are some such forests. This principle did not take into consideration whether lands were suitable for cultivation or for protection. In some cases villagers had brought under cultivation level lands at the foot of steep slopes and through the application of mathematical calculations it came about the steep, sometimes precipitous slopes rising up to 1500 feet above the level of the village habitations were left unprotected. The defects of the arrangements seen became apparent and in 1904 and 1905 the boundaries of the blocks were twice revised. The area finally notified as protected forest in 1906 amounting to 71 Sq. Miles. It would appear from the detailed figures of area changes which took place that in no cases were block areas added to, though they were in several cases reduced. The object of the demarcation protected forests was to secure a continuous supply of produce to the tenants of villages holding rights there in. The undemarcated waste lands, described as the Khalsa jungles, were released without restriction for the free use of the raiyats.
Reservation of Certain Protected forests:
Some of the protected forests was subsequently declared reserved forests in 1924 as by 1923 the project for Central Indian Coalfields railway running through the south of Palamu District had taken definite shape.
The Protected Forests falling in the Reserve have recently been constituted as reserved forest in 1978 under section 20 of Indian Forest Act, 1927.
Khalsa means personal property. Government owned village were called Government Khalsa. 117 villages were settled in 1839 by Mr. Davidson. Deputy Commissioner of Lohardaga. In 1862 another 263 villages were settled. In 1949, 83 Khalsa villages were notified under section 20 of India Forest Act, 1927. The remaining Khalsa Forests were constituted as Reserved Forest in 1978.
OLD SYSTEM OF MANAGEMENT AND THEIR RESULTS
In 1874-75 at the time of selecting the 37 blocks Mr. Johnston carried out linear valuation surveys over a total length of 154 miles and equal to an area of 1864 acres
On observation Dr. Schlich prescribed complete rest to enable the forest to recover from past ill-treatment. So far as the records show, management in the initial stages was confined to the protection of the forests. Fallings were limited to the exploitation of unsound timber and over mature trees, and the sale of khair trees bamboos and minor forest products. In 1892 Mr. Dansey, the Conservator of Forests, Bengal prepared a working plan report in the course of which he stated There was and is no sal to cut because almost the entire crop consists of coppice saplings of 18 in girth and under. These do not require to be thinned out, and if they were thinned out, the produce would not meet with a sale, as the local demands of timber of all sorts, besides being small, can all be provided from outside the Reserved Forests. Still less would be the produce command an expert sale, because of its small intrinsic value.
Mr. Hasletts Plan of operations, 1904-1914:
In 1904 Mr. Mc. Inire, conservator of forest Bengal in a review of the adverse financial result of the Palamu division reported to Govt. that the young croups of Sal making fair progress that the produce of improvement filling might become exportable in 20 years time, by that any large yield of timber suitable for exporting would not obtained less than 40 years unless coal mines opened to the south of Daltonganj and submitted his working plan in 1904 which was approved as plan of operations from 1904-05. Which proposals consisted of (1) selection filling of Sal over five in girth and khair 1-8 in girth, (2) unregulated filling of dead Sal and (3) improvement filling consisting of the removal of the inferior trees interfering with the growth of more promising trees. No sequence of fillings was prescribed by him he prescribed the working of Bamboos on a three years filling cycling in Betla, Saidupe and Kechki forests.
Bamboos filings rules were subsequently amended by the order of Mr. Hart, conservator of forest Bengal that six shoots should be left in each clump of which not less than two must be older than the suits of the years. In 1925, Mr. Hains conservator of forest ordered for the raising of rotation from three years to six years and further ordered to open a filling series in Ramandag.
SUBSIDIARY WORKING SCHEMES FOR BETLA AND KECHKI OF 1908:-
In 1908 subsidiary working scheme were introduced for regulating fillings in Kechki and Betla block. In the former blocks coppice with standards under a thirty years rotation was prescribed in the latter Block incomplete copies fillings partaking more of the nature of an improvement filling were prescribed on a 20 years rotation. It amounted to a thinning out of inferior poles.
REVISED WORKING SCHEME OF 1924:-
In 1923 Mr.Mooney submitted revised working schemes for Kechki and Betla blocks to take effects from 1924 on the ground that fillings has resulted in a dense growth of bushes of no value to the exclusion of all useful species. His proposals maintained the old sequence of fillings but prescribed cleanings. For Betla block he prescribed form of copies with standard under a rotation of 40 years with supplementary selection fillings on an exploitable diameter of 20 in areas due for coppicing in the second half of the rotation. The coppice with standards system was unusual in that it prescribed the retentions of all trees fewer than 8 in diameter as standard and the prohibition of fillings of satinwood which were to be retained to meet special exploitable demand. Mr. Mooney also drew of a working scheme for the Saidup and Ramandag blocks his scheme prescribed to working circle and plans working circle 11171 acres in extant which impress the low-lying area most liable to forest damage and hill working circle. 33512 acres in extent which comprised the rest of the areas. For the plains working circle he prescribed selection cum improvement fillings with a fillings cycle of 30 years and exploitable size of 3'-6'in girth for the Hill working circle coppice with standards was prescribed under a rotation of 60 years, selection of standards being confined to Khair and satin wood. The workings coupes in the Plains workings circle was regular but due to lack of demand no coupes in Hill working circle should be worked till 1930-31.Mr.Mooney also drew up revised scheme for working the bamboo forests of the Division Mr. Mooney expanded the scope of Mr. Haines scheme to embrace part of the Baresand forests and prescribed altogether 9 felling series to be worked under a rotation of the three years leaving uncut in each clump shoots under one year old plus six older green clumps. Since 1923, the bamboos in Kechki and Betla a block have been fairly fully worked and productivity of the bamboo forests had been fully maintained prior to 1920-30 only coupe was sold in Saidup block. In 1930-31 Ramandag bamboo coupes were sold for the first time. The Baresand coupes were never sold.
BETLA PROTECTED FORESTS WORKING SCHEME OF 1927:-
No working scheme of any kind were introduced for any of the protected forests of the division until 1927 when Mr. D. H khan drew up a scheme for the Betla protected forests. He prescribed coppice with standards under a 30 year rotation, the scheme had worked satisfactory. He also drew up a bamboo working scheme for the same forest which involved working on a 5 year rotation on lines similar to these prescribed for the reserved forests.
Irregular felling of other species in addition to khair were carried out from time to time with the object of lessening the gap between receipts and expenditure. Such fellings were carried out in Saidupe, Ramandag, and Baresand blocks and the cream of the forest was taken.
NICHOLSONS WORKING PLAN OF PALAMAU DIVISION (1932-33 TO 51-52):-
Mr. Nicholson, Deputy Conservator of Forests of Palamu division prepared the 1st regular Working plan for Palamu division which came into operation from the 1st July, 1932. The main idea behind this was that the equal attention should be given to the protected forests.
Under this plan seven working circles were constituted later during the 2nd World war one more Working Circle namely Salai Working Circle was formed to meet the demand for packing cases. (1) Selection Working Circle included – (1) all forests that were beyond 15 miles from the railway and contained marketable timber, (2) other forests which were within 15 miles of railway but for reasons of their composition or their liability to forest damage were considered unsuitable for treatment under coppice.
The areas allotted to this working circle comprised compartment 1(a), 2(a) and 10(a) Oriya, Goindi, Ramselli, Bhawarbandha, Salwe, Siram and all the compartments of Baresand except compartment 23 totaling 66,489 acres. This was the first time that these forests were brought under regular working. Silviculturally most of the prescriptions were excellent, but Mr. Nicholson did not judge the staff properly. Cultural operations were not laid down definitely, which were generally neglected specially so during the war.
BHAGAT'S PLAN (1980-81 TO 1999-2000)
The chief objects of management:-
1. To manage the forests with a view to provide permanent forest cover for affording protection against erosion, conserving water supply in catchment areas and preventing floods down on the plains.
2. To create favourable conditions, as far as Silvi cultural practices and protective measures can provide, for progression of ecological succession in areas where retrogression has set in and, to improve the ecological balance over the rest of the areas.
3. To improve upon the general condition of health, growth and stocking of the principle species for augmenting the supply of timber and other forest produce and to exploit the site potentialities to maximum.
4. To meet the demand of the trade and industries based on forest produce.
5. To cater for the domestic and agricultural requirements of the people.
6. To provide for the development and exploitation of minor forest produce.
7. To manage the wild-life in a manner based suited to the local environments and to initiate bio-eco-studies for evolving a sound and systematic basis for future management.
8. Consistent with the above to get the maximum revenue on a sustained basis.
FIRST MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR WILDLIFE. (first management plan)
Fist Management Plan for the period of five years from 1974-75 to 1978-79 was prepared by Sri Sinha I.F.S. the working Plan officer, Southern Circle. Ranchi. The main thought was development of water-holes stoppage of poaching, restriction of grazing, fire protection and provision of infrastructure such as cheap buildings for the staff of the core area of the Tiger Reserve. Most of the provision of the management plan was followed.
Second Management plan of Palamu Tiger Reserve (1987-88 to 1996-97)
The Second management plan was prepared by Sri Sahay, then Field Director, P.T.R. for the period 1987-88 to 1996-97 and was approved by the state and Central Govt. The objective of the plan was to ensure the maintenance of an optimum population of tiger and other animals and the flora for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values. The prescription given in the plan was for intensive anti-poaching, fire protection, eradication of weeds, infrastructure for staff and provision of the infrastructure for tourists, water source development, relocation of 3 villages, etc. One of the main targets to relocate 3 villages from core could not be achieved as the plan for relocation of the villages could not be approved. There was all round positive result and the area become almost self-sufficient in water holes. Core area was completely free from grazing and fire. Wherever weed was eradicated regeneration of mainly, Khair and Sal etc. got established. Number of wild animals also increased. Emphasis was also laid on vaccination of cattle against cattle against cattle diseases and especially with foot-and mouth disease. Result was spectacular as death of bison (Bos gaurus) was not reported in subsequent years. Previously the population of Gaur was affected by death due to foot-and –mouth disease. Regular census of herbivores and Tiger was conducted. Track census line was laid in Kutku block of forests lying in Garhwa south division and regular census operation was carried out.
Poaching of wild animals by outside was totally contained by providing chained gates on all entrance points in the core and buffer. Villagers were provided with crackers, kerosene oil, mashals and crop-protection watchers to save their crops from depredation by wild elephants. Thus sympathy of villagers was also obtained.