Gujarat - Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna

Main article: List of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Gujarat, India

As per the India State Of Forest Report 2009, Gujarat has 7.46% of its total geographical area under forest cover. As per the districts, The Dangs has the largest area under forest cover. Gujarat has four national parks and 21 sanctuaries. Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic lions and outside Africa, Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in the southwest part of the state covers part of the lions' habitat. Apart from lions, leopards are also found in state. They are spread across the large plains of Saurashtra and the mountains of South Gujarat.

Other National parks include Vansda National Park, Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch. Wildlife sanctuaries include: Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Khavda, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.

Gujarat has some of major mountain ranges of India, including Aravalli, Sahyadri (Western Ghats), Vindhya and Saputara. Apart from this Gir hills, Barda, Jessore, Chotila, etc. are situated in different parts of Gujarat. Girnar is the tallest peak and Saputara is the only hill-station in the state.

Gujarat is the main producer of tobacco, cotton, and groundnuts in India. Other major food crops produced are rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, tur, and gram. The state has an agricultural economy; the total crop area amounts to more than one-half of the total land area.

Animal husbandry and dairying have played vital roles in the rural economy of Gujarat. Dairy farming, primarily concerned with milk production, functions on a co-operative basis and has more than a million members. Gujarat is the largest producer of milk in India. The Amul milk co-operative federation is well known all over India, and it is Asia's biggest dairy. Among livestock raised are buffalo and other cattle, sheep, and goats. As per the results of livestock census 1997, there were 20.97 million head of livestock in Gujarat State. In the estimates of the survey of major livestock products, during the year 2002–03, the Gujarat produced 6.09 million tonnes of milk, 385 million eggs and 2.71 million kg of wool. Gujarat also contributes inputs to the textiles, oil, and soap industries, among others.

As in much of India, since the 1960s farmers in Gujarat have increasingly relied on extensive groundwater irrigation to maintain production. In recent years, however, experts have become increasingly alarmed at the rate of water depletion in the state. The water table in Gujarat has been falling steadily for the last 15–20 years, leading to a risk of catastrophic, irreversible saltwater intrusion into the groundwater. The problem is exacerbated because electricity for farmers is subsidized, leaving little incentive to conserve water. To address this issue, the government of Gujarat has begun working with NGOs and universities to create new incentives for water conservation and to promote the adoption of water-saving technologies.

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