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Deciduous jungle of Sariska

Deciduous jungle of Sariska

Sariska Tiger Reserve is located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan (Latitude & Longitude

27°22'0.33"N, 76°26'20.51"E) completely surrounded by the oldest mountain ranges of Aravalli.

The total area of Sariska is 881 km2and the forest predominantly is of tropical dry deciduous type.In India, 38% of forest is made up of tropical dry deciduous type.

The climate in Sariska is subtropical, and has a distinct summer, winter, monsoon, and post- monsoon seasonswhich suits the tropical deciduous forest. The average annual rainfall is 650 mm during the monsoon season which starts from July and ends in October.

A distinguishing characteristic of deciduous forestis that the leaves change colour (or senesce) in autumn, fall off in the winter, and grow back in the spring; this adaptation allows plants to survive harshcold winters.The terrain of Sariska is undulating consisting ofnumerous narrow valleys, low hills and slopes which have seasonal and perennial streams which flow due to the water obtained from the monsoon.

The flora of Sariska comprises of 36 species of trees, 13 species of grass, 8 species of shrubs, 2 species of herbs and 7 species of weeds.

Out of the different types of trees found in Sariska, the dominant type of trees is of deciduous category which include many trees and shrubs which are mentioned below.

The main reason as to why Sariska is covered by deciduous trees is because of the climate,

topography and the rainfall. The harsh cold winters and even harsher hot summers prove difficult for thevegetation to grow and hence show various adaptions to survive. The leaves of such trees are small, reduced to decreasetranspiration (loss of water)and in some species the leaves are modified into thorns to ward off grazing animals like ungulates (cattle, goat, sheep, and camel).

Anogeissus pendula (Dhok)

Uses: The stem, seeds and fruits, and twigs were used traditionally to treat various ailments such as gastric disorder, healing wounds, skin diseases, diarrhoea, dysentery and to prevent cough and burns.

Boswellia serrata (Salai guggul)

Uses: The extract from bark, sap, and leaves are used by the locals for therapeutic purposes to treat asthma, diabetes, stroke, and to strengthen the bones of a patient suffering from osteoarthritis.

Lannea coromandelica (Indian Ash Tree/ Jhingan)

Uses: The leaves and sprouts are edible and used raw in salads as well as cooked to make sabji. The gum is used in confectionary and the powdered ash is used as flavouring. In traditional medicine the leaves are used to treat ulcers, sprains, leprosy, inflammation and to heal wounds.

Wrightia tinctoria (Pala Indigo plant/ Dhudi)

Uses: The latex of the plant is used in the treatment of various clinical conditions like blisters, mouthulcers, and its topical application is used to accelerate wound healing.

Mitragyna parvifolia (Kadamb)

Uses: The roots and barks of the tree are used to treat fever, muscular pain, poisoning, cough, oedema, gynaecological disorders, and used as aphrodisiac.

Ficus racemose(Cluster fig/ Gular)

Uses: Intraditional medicines, the bark is made into a paste and applied to boils and mosquito bites. Apart from that the fruits and leaves are used to liver disorders, diarrhoea, inflammatory conditions, haemorrhoids, and respiratory diseases.

Phoenix sylvestris (Indian date palm)

Uses: The fruits and its juice are used to treat asthma, cough, toothache, constipation, general weakness, and dysentery. The trunk of the tree is used as supporting beam for building the roof, the plant spines are used in making toothbrushes.

Syzygium cumini (Malabar plum, Java plum)

Uses: The tree bark is used to treat bronchitis, sore throat, dysentery, and ulcers. The fruits can be consumed raw and also used to make jam, jellies, juices, tarts, and puddings.

Mangifera indica (Mango/ Aam)

Uses: The leaves and twigs of the tree are used antiseptic, astringent, laxative, and to treat diarrhoea, anaemia, asthma, bronchitis, and piles, The fruit is consumed raw and acts as a restorative tonic to treat heat strokes. The fumes from the burning leaves are inhaled for relief against hiccups. The bark of the tree contains tannins and used for dyeing purposes

Terminalia bellerica (Behera/ Bedda nut tree)

Uses: The bark of this tree has many medicinal applications like treating digestive disorders, respiratory conditions, protect the liver and the extract is used against eye infections.

Diospyros melanoxylon (East Indian ebony tree/ Tendu)

Uses: The leaves are used in treatment of scabies and old wounds. The tendu fruits helps in treatment stomach disorders and the fruit powder is used as astringent and has carminative properties.

Dendrocalamus strictus (Calcutta bamboo)

Uses: It is extensively used as a raw material in construction, furniture, mats, sticks, farming equipment, baskets, and household utensils. The young shoots are cooked and consumed.

Ziziphus mauritiana (Indian jujube/ Ber)

Uses: The fruit is the main source for eating and used as medicine. It helps to combat various conditions like diabetes, insomnia, high level of cholesterol, liver disease, ulcers and also helps in strengthening the muscles and increasing weight.

Acacia leucophloea (False Babool)

Uses: The bark extract of the tree is used as antipyretic, expectorant, anthelmintic, antidote for snake bites, and also used for treatment of bronchitis, cough, and vomiting. The tannin present in the bark is also used as a dyeing agent in leather industry. This tree helps in reforestation in areas with poor soil and low rainfall areas.

Butea monosperma(Palash)

Uses: Theflower petals have astringent properties and used to treat acne and pimples.The

formulations made of flower petals and leaves are used to treat hypertension, detoxifying kidneys, enhancing the digestive systems, strengthen respiratory system,promotes hair growth by tackling dandruff, and uplifts immunity

Balanites aegyptiaca (Egyptian Balsam/ Hinghot)

Uses: The tree has many medicinal properties and in traditional medicine the bark is used to treat jaundice, parasitic infections, syphilis, stomach-ache, asthma, fever, constipation, fever, epilepsy, haemorrhoid, and treating wounds.

Acacia catechu(Khair)

Uses:The leaves and shoots of this plant is used to make traditional medicines and consumed orally for treating stomach problems like colitis (swelling of colon), indigestion and diarrhoea. The formulation is applied topically to treat wounds, bleeding, and swelling (inflammation).Other than this catechu is used as mouthwash, to gargle, to treat mouth ulcers, sore throat, and gingivitis.

Acacia nilotica (Gum Arabic tree/ Babul)

Uses: In traditional medicines the tree has many properties like antimicrobial, antioxidant, and also used in wound healing, aphrodisiac, astringent, and diarrhoea. The hardwood is used for furnishing, thickening agents in food, and used to make water-soluble gums.

Aegle marmelos(Wood apple/ Indian Bael)

Uses: The bark hasanti-inflammatory propertiesand is applied on skin to provide relief from pain. The leaf juice mixed with honey is used to treat fever and the fruit can be consumed when ripe as it is sweet and refreshing during summers. The seed oil acts as laxative andthe crushed flower are used as expectorant.

Why are Deciduous jungle important?

The importance of deciduous jungle cannot be emphasized enough.

• The deciduous jungle provides habitat and food for many animals and birds, including the migratory birds which visit during different seasons. This habitat helps sustain and maintain biodiversity. • The forest helps in regulating local climate by producing oxygen which helps to stabilize weather patterns and reduce the effects of greenhouse gas which is released into the atmosphere. • The trees of the jungle regulate watershed volume to reduce water loss and seepage and helps in purifying air. This indirectly maintains water flow in rivers, streams and some water channels. • The erosion of soil is reduced drastically due to the presence of trees, the roots which hold on tightly to the soil particles. • The leaves which are shed in winter provide the soil with various minerals which are broken down by decomposers like bacteria, worms, fungi, and insects which provide nutrients for the plants to grow in.

Blog by Mr. Kushagra Gupta & Mr. Aakash Upare, Naturalists at Utsav Camp Sariska.

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