Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is one of the premier Tiger Reserves of India and is endowed by nature in terms of species, habitat and ecosystem diversity, characterized by functional human-ecological affinities. It stood 7th in the country in terms of Management Effectiveness in the 2018 Assessment (among 50 Tiger Reserves in the country).
Parambikulam was declared a Tiger Reserve during 2010 at a total extent of 643.66 sq km, out of which an extent of 390.89 km2 has been declared as the core or critical tiger habitat and 252.77 km2 as the buffer zone of the Tiger Reserve.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is a well-protected ecological part of the Nelliampathy - Anamalai sub unit of the Western Ghats and is buffered by ecologically similar forests of other Forest Divisions and Protected Areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Reserve supports diverse habitat types viz., evergreen forests, moist and dry deciduous forests and grasslands. Other unique habitats like montane grasslands and marshy grasslands (locally known as ‘vayals’) are extensively found in the Tiger Reserve.
Considerable extent of man-made teak plantations and the deep freshwater ecosystem (reservoirs) created by the construction of three dams add to the diversity of the Tiger Reserve. The Reserve supports healthy population of several endangered fauna and the presence of tigers and other co-predators in the landscape emphasizes the ecological importance of this region. Most of the herbivore species of the Western Ghats such as the Asian elephant, Guar, Spotted deer, Sambar and Barking deer (Muntjac) are found here.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve supports one of the highest densities of Gaur population in Southern India. The only South Indian wild goat, the Nilgiri Tahr is also found on the high-altitude rocky hills and grasslands in the Tiger Reserve.
A healthy population of about 250-300 Lion-tailed macaques among other primates and arboreal animals are found here. Rodents like Malabar giant squirrel and Flying squirrel are among the important arboreal animals. Significant population of resident and migratory avifauna of about 273 species makes the Reserve a bird watcher’s paradise. Among the aquatic fauna, crocodiles, otters, freshwater fish especially Mahseer (an endemic game fish) are worth mentioning. The Reserve is also home for several rare small animals like Tarantula (large bodied spiders).
The floral diversity of the Reserve is extraordinary for lack of a better word. As per a recent report of Kerala Forest Research Institute, the Tiger Reserve supports an estimated 1400 species of Angiosperms. So far 1,320 species of flowering plants belonging to 680 genera and 133 families have been identified including about 70 species of orchids. The inventory continues to expand every year. This magnitude of floral richness is due to the mosaic pattern of vegetation in the Reserve.
There are several endemic, rare, endangered and threatened (RET) species of flora and fauna adding to the diversity of the Reserve. To name a few,
The Reserve, being a part of the major ecological continuum from Peechi to Eravikulam through Anamalais, aids the survival of large viable population of wildlife. The Parambikulam valley extends from East to West opening up migratory routes for wild animals from Nelliampathy to Eravikulam National Park. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve along with Anamalai Tiger Reserve form the northern most extension of Anamalai portion of the Western Ghats before being blocked by Palakkad Gap.
Five man-made reservoirs (Parambikulam, Thunakadavu, Peruvaripallam, Poringalkuttu and Sholayar) and natural river systems besides adding to the beauty of the place, support several unique life forms.
The Tiger Reserve is the home of several tribal and non-tribal communities whose livelihood is almost fully dependent on the forests of the Reserve. This Reserve can be treated as a model for peaceful co-existence of tribal people and wildlife. The aesthetic appeal of the Reserve with its lush greenery, magnificent wildlife, inviting peaks, serene valleys, meandering rivers and placid lakes is beyond comparison. The intangible benefits accrued from the Reserve are invaluable and irreplaceable.
The water and clean air produced by Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, among countless other Ecosystem services, sustains the life support system for millions of humans living in the plains of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The value of which cannot be quantified in any economic metric. If not for anything else, for this one single reason, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve deserves and demands the support of all.Our History
Parambikulam is home of four indigenous communities residing in six tribal settlements with 296 families and total population of 1254 individuals. Till 2000, the people in the settlements were solely dependent on the timber operations in the plantations of the reserve. Ban on timber extraction for commercial purpose from the PAs by the order of the Apex Court resulted in large scale unemployment among the local tribal communities which in turn increased overexploitation of natural forests for non-timber forest produces, fishing in the reservoirs, collection of firewood, small scale poaching etc.
Adding to this was the unregulated tourism activities and consequent damages to the natural ecosystem through uncontrolled use of vehicles inside the reserve, large scale dumping of plastic wastes, garbage and mineral water bottles, disturbance to wildlife and destruction of habitat by fire.
Forest Development Agency, Parambikulam is a society constituted for implementing various developmental programs for the inhabitants of Parambikulam. It was registered under the Societies’ Registration Act, 1955, during October 2002. Parambikulam FDA consists of 8 Eco-Development Committees, namely
Of which the first 6 are EDC’s that include all inhabitants of the respective Tribal Hamlet (from which the EDC derives its name). The remaining two are professional EDCs, which is constituted by people who are working in that particular designation for the Tiger Reserve.
All these EDCs together include all the indigenous residents of these Forests. The Tourism activities presently being undertaken here is completely run by the Parambikulam FDA, which in extension means the local communities. In addition to Tourism, the Parambikulam Eco-Village and Eco-shops are also run the EDC members.
When Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in 2013, as per Section 38 X of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the Parambikulam Tiger Conservation Foundation (PaTCoF) was established as a non-profit organization working under Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in 2014. As per the Act, many of the activities which were already being carried out by Parambikulam FDA were amalgamated with PaTCoF and thus receiving statutory support. In the present arrangement Parambikulam Forest Development Agency (FDA) manages the Ecotourism and Eco-Developmental initiatives of Parambikulam Tiger Reserve while PaTCoF is engaged in Wildlife Monitoring, Research, Capacity Development, Species Survey and other scientific/technical aspects related to managing the Tiger Reserve
Kerala Forest Department is a law enforcement agency for the state of Kerala, India and is one of the few oldest and important administrative organs of the State with its Headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram. The department is involved with the protection and conservation of flora and fauna in their natural habitats. It conserves 10,336 km2 (3,991 sq mi) of forests forming 29.101% of the total geographic area of the state.
The forests of Kerala are being managed with the following objectives;
Subjects assigned to the Department
For more information : http://www.forest.kerala.gov.in/index.php/about-us/forest-dept-history