Banni Grasslands

JUN 11

Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Protected Area Networks   >   Protected Area

Why in news?

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered all encroachments to be removed from Gujarat's Banni grasslands within six months and directed a joint committe to prepare an action plan in a month.
  • The region's nomadic pastoralist community, the Maldharis, whose livelihoods are depend on this protected shrub-savanna, welcomed the move.

About Banni Grasslands

  • Banni Grasslands Reserve or Banni grasslands form a belt of arid grassland ecosystem on the outer southern edge of the desert of the marshy salt flats of Rann of Kutch in Kutch District, Gujarat.
  • They are currently legally protected under the status as a protected or reserve forest.
  • Wildlife Institute of India(WII) has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India and a possible reintroduction site for the species.
  • Banni grassland is peculiar to the Rann of Kutch, it has some forty Sindhi speaking Maldhari (cattle breeders) hamlets, home to the Halaypotra, Hingora, Hingorja, Jat and Mutwa tribes .
  • Important wildlife includes; nilgai ,chinkara, blackbuck , wild boar , golden jackal , Indian hare , Indian wolf , caracal, Asiatic wildcat ,desert fox , Indian wild ass etc.

Threats to grassland ecosystem:

  • The Banni grasslands are under pressure due to man-made factors which are  overgrazing, invasion by Prosopis juliflora, an exotic thorny tree, and natural factors which are recurring droughts and salinity ingress.

About Maldharis:

  • Maldharis are a tribal herdsmen community in Gujarat, India.
  • "Maldhari" is an occupational term which refers to people from a variety of castes and communities.
  • They are mainly a pastoral community and their sources of cash income are sale of high-quality ghee, milk, wool, animals and handicrafts.

Prelims Question

Banni Grasslands are located in:
(a)Uttarakhand
(b)Arunachal Pradesh
(c)Gujarat
(d)Andhra Pradesh

Answer to prelims question