The forests in the district cover an area of 4,732.199 km2 (1,827.188 sq. miles) of which 4,413.423 km2 (1,704.028 sq. miles) and 318.776 km2 (123.080 sq. miles) are under Forest and Revenue departments respectively. Of the total area 3,937.435 km2 (1520.248 sq. miles) constitute reserve forests and 794.764 km2 (306.86 sq. miles) private forests.
Forests in Dhulia comprise two divisions viz., North Dhulia division and West Dhulia division, consisting of five and seven ranges respectively. Whereas the former includes the ranges of Sangvi, Shirpur, Shahada, Taloda and Akrani, the latter those of Dhulia, Sakri, Pimpalner, Chinchpada, Navapur, Nandurbar and Laling. At Laling a fodder bank scheme has been set up.
Two forest research stations and a garden have been established in order to study the silvicultural character of the exotic species and to determine the land suitable for its introduction. Experiments are also carried out to evolve suitable techniques to raise the various
The distribution of forests and the types of vegetation are, mainly governed by the rainfall, climate and the geological formation of the tract. Rainfall over the major forest area of this district ranges from 889 to 1016 nun (35" to 40") which combined with the soil factor is just sufficient to sustain teak, the major produce of the district, and other species to only pole size. However, the rainfall in what are known as Taloda reserves, Devmogra block (Nandurbar
range), Hill block (Navapur, Chinchpada and Nandurbar ranges), and Umarpata block (Chinchpada range) ranges from 1,016 to 1,270 mm (40" to 50") and hence teak in these areas attains much better size.
The forests of this tract are chiefly of tropical dry deciduous type.
Various sub-types chiefly depending upon climatic and edaphic
variations are also met with. The careless and unsystematic cutting
of sleepers, during the making of the Great Indian Peninsula
Railway, now the Central Railway, coupled with the illegal cuttings
by the Bhils, did much to lessen the value of these forests. Still
almost ever)' tree known in Western India is found in Satpuda lulls.
In recent years better means of communications and conservancy
have secured a fresh growth. It is a peculiarity of the Satpudas that
the nature of the forest varies greatly every 30 or 45 kilometres. In
the east, anjan, Hardwickia binata and salai, Boswellia serrata predominate, in Shirpur anjan has almost disappeared, and teak, Tectona
grandis, in good quantity, though of no great size, is found in all the
valleys.' The Shahada forests are chiefly of khair, Acacia catechu,
though other varieties are also found, and lastly in Akrani anjan
reappears on the banks of the Narmada. Elsewhere teak is the leading tree. Though, as has been already stated, Dhulia forests contain
very many different species of trees, the most important from the
point of view of forest economy are teak, sadada, khair and shisam.
The following is a brief description of the forests broadly met with in the
(1) Teak High Forests.―Teak, Tectona grandis, chiefly occurs
in the eastern and western plains felling series of Taloda range and
Devmogra block of Nandurbar range. Taloda though much cut
into by tillage, is a splendid mixed forest with good teak. It is
one of the largest timber marts in the district and ensures
a ready sale for the timber. Devmogra close by the Tapi is a fine
compact block of dense forest. A most valuable and promising
reserve, it has a good stock of teak rafters and saplings. These
correspond to Champion's type 5 AC, b, i.e., dry teak forests and
are some of the most valuable forests of the tract. Teak trees in
these tracts attain heights ranging from 18.29 to 21.34 metres
(60' to 70'). In some cases these trees grow upto 27.43 metres
(90'). Besides teak, these forests also contain many other
valuable hard wood species in high proportions, the prominent
among them being ain (Terminalia tomentosa), dhavda (Anogeissus latifolia), shisam (Dalbergia latifolia), bia or bibla (Pterocarpus marsupium), kalamb (Stephegyne parvifolia) and khair (Acacia catechu). Those occurring in small proportions are kusum (Sehleichera trijuga), tembru (Diospyros melanoxylon), nana (Lagerstroemia lanccolata, shirus (Albizzia lebbeck), palas (Butea monosperma) and aal (Morinda tinctoria).
(2) Teak Coppice Forests.―This type is chiefly noticed in Sangvi, Shahada and Shirpur ranges. Shahada is a fine, compact block of forest, yielding much khair mixed with teak and the
commoner woods. Shirpur, a continuation of Shahada reserve has plenty of nature anjan and khair in parts. The easiest to get at and the simplest to work of the Satpuda reserves, it has suffered greatly from former years' careless cutting. The south-east is watered by the Aner and its tributaries and the west by the numerous streams that unite to form the Arunavati. Both the Aner and the Arunavati can in flood float timber. However, the species found in these ranges are of an inferior quality than those noticed above and teak here grows only upto 12.19 to 15.24 metres (40' to 50'). These forests correspond to 5 AC, a, and 5 AC, b, sub-types of Champion's classification. The other associates of teak are: dhavda, khair, modal (Lannea carmandelica), kakad (Garuga pinnata), ain, anjan, etc. Bia, shisam, bondara (Lagerstroemia parvifloria), kalamb, rohin (Soymida fabrifuga), palas, ghat
bor (Zizyphus Xlopyra), tembru etc., are other associates occurring in comparatively smaller proportions. Salai (Boswellia serrata) also occurs in fairly high proportion in murum soil on small hillocks and plateaus.
(3) Hill Forests.―These forests are chiefly found in the hilly areas of Akrani, north of Taloda and Sangvi ranges and hilly areas of Navapur, Nandurbar and Chinchpada ranges. In the mountainous territory of Akrani and Toranmal is one of the finest forests in Dhulia. Within its boundaries tillage is carried on a limited extent. Its very lonely position saved it from destruction when the railway-was being laid. The Narmada on the north offers such a cheap water carriage, that even the poorer woods can be exported at a profit. The experiment of floating rafters was first tried in 1877 and has since been repeated time without number with fairly successful financial results. The Navapur hills are fairly wooded chiefly with khair, the finest in Dhulia, mixed with teak and a sprinkling of black wood, shisam. The forests found under this head correspond to Champion's 5 AC, b, and 5 AC, 3 i.e., dry teak forests and dry deciduous forests. The topography is mountainous, interspersed by numerous nalas. Except along nala banks and in patches in depressions the soil is poor and shallow. Its composition varies with the elevation. On the lower slopes of all these hilly regions the soil is fertile and hence the main species are teak, dhavda, kakad, bia, ain, bondara, rohin, kadhai (Sterculia
ureus), moha (Madhuca latifolia) etc. In the northern parts of Akrani range anjan is found fairly in large proportions. Bamboos (Dendrocalamus strictus) practically occur over the entire area. In these ranges the proportion of teak and such other important species like ain, khair, kalamb etc., rapidly decreases as we descend the slopes. Teak is practically absent at elevations of over 609.60 metres (2000'), but dhavda and salai predominate. On Toranmal plateau tivas (Ougenia dalbergioides) occurs in abundance with a mixture of kakad, modal, avla or awla (Phyllanthus emblica),
rohin and many other varieties in open patches. Bushes of karvand (Carrisa carandus) and toran (Carrisa spinarium) are also not uncommon.
(4) Anjan Forests.―Forests of this type predominate in the
south-eastern parts of Shirpur range and in comparatively flatter areas of Dhulia, Pimpalner and Sakri ranges. They correspond to Champion's subsidiary edaphic type dry deciduous E 4. The trees
seldom attain height of over 15.24 metres (50'). Anjan in these areas occurs gregariously almost to the exclusion of other species, Khair, hivar (Acacia leucophlea), ghat bor, hinganbet (Balanites roxberghi), henkal (Gymnosporia emarginata) are also occasionally
(5) Miscellaneous Forests.―These are chiefly the areas covering southern portions of Shirpur, Shahada and Nandurbar ranges and western parts of Pimpalner and Sakri ranges. The main species occurring in these areas are ain, dhavda, modal, khair, kansar (Albizzia amara), salai, kakad, ghat bor and occasionally teak. These generally correspond to Champion's type 5 AC/3, i.e., dry deciduous forests. The growth in these areas is poor and large areas of understocked and blank patches are not an uncommon sight. In wetter areas tembru, palas, aal etc., occur in association with ain. Being situated adjacent to the highly cultivable areas there is heavy demand for fuel, fodder and grazing. Thus these forests have deteriorated to mere scrublands.
(6) Pasture Lands.―Pasture lands are generally found in the ranges of Dhulia, Sakri and Pimpalner. They correspond to Champion's type 6 AC i.e., southern cutch thorny forests. These ranges have extensive grass-lands dotted at places with stunted and thorny trees and bushes of khair hivar, ghat bor, henkal etc. Scattered here and there are seen dhavda kansar, neem, modal and salai trees. Due to heavy grazing the growth of grass is generally stunted excepting in those pasture lands which are closed for grazing. The common species of grass occurring in the district, are: Aristida puniculota, Polytoca barbata, Andropogon contortus, Ischaemum rugosun, Anthistiria ciliata, Andropogon pumilus and Cymbopogon martini. The last of these locally known as rosha is used in the manufacture of certain medicines and perfumes. It is highly in demand.
Minor Forest Produce.
The most important article is the flower of the moha tree (Madhuca latifolia), which is largely used in the manufacture' of liquor. At present the trees are auctioned to the private persons from whom the flowers are purchased by distillers from other States. Rosha (cymbopogon martini) grass oil is another article of importance. Except these two articles, other minor forest produce of Dhulia forests is of little importance. Gums, myrobalans and charoli are among other minor produce.
The planting of roadside trees during the last three four decades has received the greatest attention. The trees most commonly used are neem (Melia azadirachta), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), and the babhul (Acacia arabica). The most successful plan is to form
nurseries and plant out the seedlings when two years old, cracking
but not removing the pot. Of late in addition to the roadside trees, at intervals of from 10 to 15 kilometres along the chief lines of
traffic, sites for camping grounds have been marked and planted with groves of mango (Mangifera indica) and fig (ficusbengalensis) trees.
The following is a list of the chief Dhulia trees: Apta, Bauhinia racemosa, one of the large class of very various growth, is of little value. It is held sacred at the. time of the Dasara festival (September-October). The leaves are sometimes used for bidis. Avla, Phyllanthus emblica, not very common or of very large growth, is a hard and somewhat brittle, but little used for wood. The fruit is like a large hard gooseberry, very sour and astringent, but eatable when cooked or preserved. It is also used in making ink. The bark is very astringent and used in tanning. Aal, Morinda tinctoria, though, if allowed, it grows into a tree, is chiefly cultivated as a plant for its dye. It is left for three years in the ground, and then dug out at considerable expense. Both the roots and the bark yield an excellent dye. The wood is useful, but cannot easily be found of any size. Anjan, Hardwickia binata, a leguminous tree, with a very rough black bark and small pale green leaves, grows to a great size. It abounds in parts of the Satpudas and in the hills to the south of Dhulia. The timber is excellent, of a dark red colour, and takes a good polish. The bark yields a strong fibre, which, without any preparation, can be twisted into rope. Cattle are very fond of the leaves. Babhul or babhal, Acacia arabica, the commonest and most generally useful tree in Dhulia, is very hardy, and grows rapidly in black soil. As a shrub it used to cover all the waste lands of Dhulia. It grows to a considerable size and has an excellent hard wood; but the timber is generally crooked, and long straight pieces can seldom be obtained. The wood is used for every imaginable house and field purpose, as well as for fuel. The bark is valuable in tanning, and yields a good yellow dye, and its sap is a useful gum. The leaves are the chief food of goats, and the long seed pods are eagerly devoured by sheep, goats, and cattle. Bamboo, Dendrocalamus strictus abounds all over the Satpudas and in the Western forests. It is chiefly used in the manufacture of paper as also of battens and rafters for house-building. Bel, Aegle marmelos, a highly ornamental tree, is found in small number all over the district. It has an excellent hard wood, but is seldom cut by the people, as it is considered to be sacred to Shiv. Its fruit makes a pleasant preserve, and has valuable medicinal properties. Prepared in some ways it acts as an aperient, in others as an astringent, and is useful in cases of dysentery or diarrhoea. The root, bark, and leaves are also used in making cooling remedies. The leaves are used as an offering to Shiv; and the seeds yield a varnish. The Banyan, vat or vad, Ficus bengalensis, one of the commonest of Dhulia trees, grows readily in light soil. It is held sacred by the Hindus and never cut or turned to any
use save for shelter and shade. It grows readily from cuttings, and is well suited for road-sides. Its juice is sometimes used to reduce inflammation. The timber is of little value. The fruit, said
to be poisonous for horses, is much eaten by birds. From the leaves, leaf plates, patravalis, are made. Bawa or Bawla, Cassia fistula, not common in Dhulia, is one of the most ornamental of forest tees, throwing out in the hot weather tassels of beautiful hanging yellow flowers much like laburnum. Its long hanging pods are easily recognised. The wood, though close-grained and hard, is not much used. The bark serves in tanning, the root yields a purge, and the seeds are surrounded by a pulp which is used
in the manufacture of certain drags. Bherda or behda, Terminalia bellerica, a large forest tree, is rare in Dhulia. The wood is soft and sappy, and not of much value, being readily destroyed by insects. Its fruit forms one of the myrobalans, having dyeing and tanning properties. The wood is said to be used in parts of India for house purposes, after having been long soaked in water to season it. Bar, zizyphus jujuba of several varieties, is found everywhere, but in size seldom more than a bush. It is very thorny. The fruit is largely eaten and the bark is used in tanning. It is much liked by the lac insect. The fruit can be greatly improved by grafting. Bakam, Melia sempervirens, a highly ornamental tree, with excellent wood, grows chiefly in the open country. Its pretty lilac-like flowers make it very suitable
for road-sides and gardens. Charoli, Buchanania latifolia, is very common, but seldom of any size. The wood is not much used. The stone of its cherry like fruit, charoli, is eaten roasted or pounded, and used in confectionery and other cooking, especially in making curries. Dudhi, Wrightia tinctoria, is a small, rather rare tree, whose white, soft wood is useful for fancy work. Dhaman, Grewia tiliaefolia, flourishing near the sea, is rare in Dhulia. The wood is tough and elastic, and good for bows and carriage shafts. Dhavda, Anogeissus latifolia, one of the commonest and most useful of timber trees is
found occurring along with teak. It has an excellent tough wood, useful for almost any purposes, and specially valuable for cart axles. Hinganbet, Balanites roxberghi, is a thorny bush of little value. The fruit is eaten and the bark yields a juice with which fish are poisoned. Hivar, Acacia leucophlea, not very common and seldom of any size, has a hard but somewhat brittle wood. It makes good posts but not planks. The bark supplies a tough and very valuable fibre for fishing nets or ropes. Jambul or Jambhal, Eugenia jambolana, is a very common tree, with a much eaten plum-like fruit. The wood, hard and of a reddish colour, is not much used. The Tamarisk or Bastard Cypress, jhau, Tamarix dioica, is common on all river banks or islands. It grows no larger than a bush and is of no value. Katsavar, Eriodendron unfructuosum, sometimes called a bombax and confounded with the simal, has a white soft wood of no use, save for making toys or fancy articles. The down round its seeds is used for stuffing pillows. It is not common anywhere in Dhulia. Kadhai, Sterculia
urens, a large soft tree with a very peculiar pink bark, is of no value for timber. The seeds are roasted and eaten, and from its bark the hill people make cups and platters. The tree yields a gum. Khair, Acacia catechu, is plentiful in some parts of Dhulia, but never of any size. It has a dark red wood, somewhat brittle
but of a great strength, and taking a good polish. It is useful for all house and field purposes. The wood, by boiling, yields the astringent juice catechu, kat, so much used with betel leaf and in medicine. The manufacture is the work of a special hill tribe called from their occupation Katkaris or kat makers. Kalamb, Slephegyne parvifolia, yields good timber. It is not plentiful in Dhulia. Kahu, Terminalia arjuna, one of the finest of forest trees, grows to a great size generally on the banks and in the beds of rivers. Its wood is of excellent quality, but from the amount of sap is hard to work. Large trunks are often sawn into single solid cartwheels. The wood grows harder by seasoning. Kusum, Schleichera trijuga, a large forest tree, with an excellent tough wood used for sugar mills and oil presses, is a favourite tree with the lac insect. Mango, amba, Mangifera indica, one of the best known of Indian trees, is excellent, hard, and deep coloured, and as it takes a bright polish, is well suited for furniture and carriage building. The wood yields an excellent charcoal. Mango groves are most freely scattered over some of the northern parts. The soil there is remarkably suited to the growth of the tree. After planting the seed at the beginning of the rainy season no care or trouble is bestowed on it except placing a few thorns round the young plant. Watering in the hot months is unnecessary. Moha, Madhuca latifolia, is found ail over Dhulia. Its chief value lies in the pulpy bell-shaped flower, which, when dried, is eaten by the people, and is distilled into the common spirit of the country. Almost every animal, wild or domestic, eats the fresh flowers. It is an important article of trade, and during the hot months is the chief means of subsistence to Bhils and other hill tribes. The wood is hard and lasting, but the tree is too valuable to be cut for timber. The seed when allowed to form, is enclosed in a thick walnutlike pod. It yields an excellent oil, good for food and burning, and also for skin diseases. The leaves and bark make useful embrocations. Altogether the moha is one of the most valuable of Dhulia trees, but as it grows in the wildest forests, most of the produce is lost or supports wild animals only. In the open country a few good moha trees are a small fortune. Mohan, Odina wodier, is a very common, but according to general opinion, valueless tree. In Burma, it is said to grow to a great size, and yield a close-grained dark red wood useful for cabinet work. In Bombay its timber is utterly despised. The trunk is said to yield a medicinal gum. Moka, Schrebera swietenioides not common in Dhulia has a hard, tough, box-like wood, used by weavers for their looms and beams. Nana, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, a straightgrowing rather rare tree, yields good timber. Neem, Melia azadirachta, the Indian lilac, one of the commonest of garden and road-side trees, is chiefly ornamental and useful for shade. The wood is sometimes used for building. From its boiled leaves and fruit, a cooling drink useful in fevers is made. Pangara, Erythrina indica, is a rather rare leguminous tree of no size and of little value. Pimpal, Ficus religiosa, is held sacred by Hindus, and never cut by them. It readily fastens itself in walls and destroys them in the end, as no one
will remove it. Its leaves are a favourite food for camels and elephants, and are much liked by the lac insect. Growing rapidly, it is suitable for road sides. Except as fuel, the wood is of no value. Rohin, Soymida febrifuga, grows in Satpuda hills; the wood is said to be of excellent quality for all in-door work, but not to stand exposure. The bark yields a cooling drink. Sandalwood, chandan. Santalum aloum, the well known tree yielding the sweet smelling wood and oil, is very scarce in Dhulia and never grows- to any size. Salai, Boswellia serrata, a very common tree on all trap hills, conspicuous by its white and scaly bark, is supposed to have yielded the frankincense of the ancients, but in Dhulia no such substance is now extracted from it. The wood, full of gum, and burning readily, is used for torches. The flowers and seed nut are eaten by the Birds. The gum exudes in abundance, but no use seems to be made of it. Bhokar, Cordia latifolia, is a rare tree in Dhulia. Elsewhere it grows to some size, and has an excellent whitish wood. It bears an edible plum whose soft pulp is a valuable remedy in lung diseases. Shims, Albizza lebbeck, a species of acacia, is very ornamental with large leaves and light-coloured bark. This and other allied varieties are found all over India, but are not common in the Dhulia forests. It is much planted along road-sides and in gardens. The wood, of excellent quality, is used for all purposes. Sadola, saj, or ain, Terminalia tomentosa, is a fine, straight, and high-growing forest tree. Sheltered from the sun, the wood is excellent for house-building, yielding better planks and longer rafters than perhaps any tree but teak, Sawar, Bombax malabaricum, is a large and thorny tree with bright red flowers and a soft clown used for stuffing pillows. The wood though soft is said to make good packing cases. It is also largely used in match-industries. It yields a useful resin, and the roots, when boiled, give a gummy substance used as a tonic in medicine. Wild Date, shindi. Phoenix silvestris, preferring the sea coast is not common anywhere in Dhulia. Neither its fermented nor its distilled juice is much drunk. Mats are made of the leaves and the stem can be used as a water trough. Blackwood, sisu or shisam. Dalbergia latifolia, is very scarce in Dhulia, and grows to no size. Saundad. Prosopis spicigera, a thorny tree, is not common in Dhulia The timber is said to be good for all ordinary purposes. Its pods contain an edible fruit. Tamarind chinch or amli, Tamarindus indica a large slow growing and very handsome tree, is found near all villages in gardens and fields. Its excellent hard wood makes the best crushers for oil or sugar mills, and is useful in a variety of ways. The fruit is sometimes eaten raw but generally cooked. The Palmyra Palm, tad, Borassus flabelliformis, thriving best near the coast is
very rare in Dhulia. Teak, sag or sagvan, Tectona grandis, in large or small quantities covers the entire district forests. It is the chief produce of Dhulia forests. The large leaves of the teak are much used for lining roofs under thatch. It yields excellent timber. The wood also yields a very good oil somewhat similar to that of linseed. Tilavadi, a species of Albizzia, common in some parts of Dhulia has a good wood for ordinary purposes. Tembru, Diospyros melanoxylon, the well-known ebony, is pretty common in Dhulia, but as it grows crooked and hardly ever of any great size, its wood is little used. It bears a large sweetish plum, very pleasant to eat. Its leaves are used in the manufacture of bidis. Tivas, Ougenia dalbergeoides, one of the most generally useful trees, yields a beautiful timber serving for field tools of all kinds. In Dhulia, probably from its having been so much cut before the days of conservancy, it is not very common and seldom grows to any great size. Ubmar, Ficus glomerata, a very common but valueless tree, bears bunches of flavourless figs on its stem and boughs. The wood withstands the action of water, and though, like most of the fig species, generally sacred, it is in some places used for shoring wells. Varul or maharukh, Ailanthus excelsa a tall and showy tree, grows near villages. Its wood is accounted of no value. Palas, Butea monosperma
one of the commonest Dhulia trees, is at the beginning of the hot season., a
mass of bright scarlet flowers. The leaves are much used as plates, and as the
young shoots are eaten by camels and other animals, the tree seldom grows to any
size. In Dhulia though the wood is not much used it is said to be strong and tough. It makes excellent charcoal. From the stem is extracted kino gum; the flowers yield a valuable dye; and the root and bark an excellent tough fibre. The juice is also used medicinally. It is a favourite with the lac insect, and the choicest lac is found upon it. The seed nut is useful as a purgative and as a vermifuge to horses.