Dudhwa Terai Ecosystem
The Terai (“moist land”) is a narrow belt of grasslands, savannas, and forests at the base of the Himalaya range in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. The Indian Terai presently has 11 national parks and 47 wildlife sanctuaries covering a 10,659 sq km area. The protected area coverage represents just 2.5% of biogeographic zone areas of the Gangetic Plain.
Dudhwa Terai Eco System consitute Dudhwa National Park and two wildlife sanctuaries, which include Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katernaighat Wildlife Sanctuary. ‘Dudhwa Tiger Reserve’ represents the part of the Dudhwa Terai Ecosystem in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Sal (Shorea robusta) dominated forests interspersed with tall grasslands and dynamic woodland-grassland-wetland, a variety of floral and faunal life including several species.
Till the early 1950s, the Terai region had a negligible human population, except for the local Tharus tribe, who inhabited the area. The landscape witnessed sea change, mainly during the past 150 years, long history of deforestation, settlement of migrants, changes in land use, agriculture expansion, and various developmental activities. Sal sleepers built rail infrastructure within the country. Heavy demands of wood for the World War I and II put extra pressure on the forests of Terai.
Dudhwa is the last remnant of Terai region, one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet.
(Data Source: WII Technical Report)