Nature conservation status of Nashik district

PC: Nature Conservation Society of Nashik
PC: Nature Conservation Society of Nashik

NASHIK: Nashik is an ancient holy city in Maharashtra, a state in western India. Nashik situated on the banks of the Godavari the Ganges of the south and home to Sri Rama during his exile is one of the holiest places of India with mythological, cultural and historical importance. Nashik is best known for being a Hindu pilgrimage site, which is also one of the four cities that hosts the massive Simhastha Kumbh Mela once every twelve years.

Historical evidences from Ramyana, Pandavas and Marathas makes Nashik a historical treasure. Any town or city is essentially termed as agriculture driven or industry driven and Nashik happens to be a wonderful mix of both and much more phenomenal agricultural growth has been observed in the last few decades. Nashik enjoys or rather is blessed with a great topography climate and abundance of water the perfect catalysts for exponential growth Nashik is the largest exporter of onions, grapes and pomegranates.

Agricultural produce of Nashik has now reached the markets of Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia and we are now known across the globe as the wine capital of India. We have more than 20 wineries mark the map of Nashik district producing world-class wines. We are third most industrialized city of Maharashtra after Mumbai and Pune and one of the fastest growing cities of India with total population of the district 6,107,187 as per the census of 2011 identified as a Tier 2 Metro and now a smart city.

However, not many of us know that Nashik is also a Biodiversity Hotspot. Nashik lies in the northern part of Maharashtra state at 700 m (2,300 ft) from the sea level surrounded by lush mountainous terrain. The giant Brahmagiri Mountain is the origin of the river Godavari. The primarily black soil in the region is favourable for agriculture. The area is blessed with a pleasant climate for most time of the year.

The period from June to September is the (South West) Monsoon Season. Nashik lies in the northern most part of the world famous Western Ghats. The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Hills, are well known for their rich and unique assemblage of flora and fauna. Owing to their high level of endemism in vertebrate and plant species, Western Ghats of India is considered as one of the 36 hotspots of biodiversity recognized globally. Nashik District is a noted for the mountains and hills occupying the north and north-east of its territory.

The Western Ghats in Nashik stretches from north to south across the western portion of the district which is hilly and the slope of the Ghats is drained by several rivers including the Daman Ganga, Vaitarana, Bhima, Girana, Kashyapi and Darana, which drains westwards to the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats in Maharashtra starts from Baglaan range which is situated to the north of Nashik district which borders with Dang district in Gujarat. The larger eastern portion of the district, which lies on the Deccan Plateau, is open, fertile, and well cultivated.

The Satmala-Chandwad Range, which runs east and west, forms the chief divide of the plateau region. Nashik has been blessed with immense biodiversity with variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level. We have several different habitats like forests, grasslands, wetlands around the city where different life forms exists.

Nashik district in Maharashtra, India, has been blessed with more than 340 species of birds found in all habitats, out of which 27 birds are listed as threatened bird species (Birdlife International). Biodiversity monitoring of Nashik has led to the few protected areas which protect our precious wildlife around Nashik. We have one Wildlife Sanctuary - Nandur Madhmeshwar located in Niphad, Borgad, Anjaneri and Rajapur & Mamdapur are our Conservation Reserves and we have two Important Bird Areas (IBA) – Gangapur Dam and adjoining grasslands and Ojhar.

"The region is succumbed to anthropogenic pressures such as urbanization, industrialization, vast agriculture. In this connection it is very important to create awareness amongst people about our very own nature. We need to identify areas for conservation and underline the need for environmental impact assessments for developmental projects. The several other threats to wildlife are hunting, over-grazing, deforestation, forest fires, water pollution, illegal and haphazard mining. The first and foremost step to contribute a little to save wildlife surrounding Nashik is appreciation, as appreciation leads to knowledge and knowledge leads to conservation. Awareness is the key to conservation, one must be aware of their surroundings." - Pratiksha Kothule, Nature Conservation Society Of Nashik

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