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Introductions
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The State of Maharashtra with geographical area of 3,07,713 sq km is having 61,939 sq km as forest area. The State's forest cover is estimated to be over 20 per cent. The area of dense forest tract span in parts of Western Ghats, Amravati and Nagpur administrative regions.Maharashtra is India's third largest State with 9.36 per cent of India's total geographical area which harbor largest biodiversity amongst any of our States.    

 Each of 6 regions and 35 districts of the State are geologically, geographically and biographically different from the other and form its own identity. The Konkan is manifested with a 720-km coastline. Western Maharashtra, known as the Ghat, covers the hill range of Sahyadris.

           The major geological feature of the State is the basaltic plateau of the Deccan trap composed of iron ore, limestone, dolomite, bauxite, manganese, chromites, clay, copper. Silica, sand, limonite and other minerals. The Western Ghats Zone (12.2% of the State area) comprises of Malabar Plains and Western Ghats mountains, The Deccan Plateau Zone 86.7% of the State area) has central highlands, central plateau and southern plateau.

 The State has 6 National Parks and 36 Wildlife Sanctuaries with a total of 15,732 sq km area, amounting to 5.02% of the State’s geographical area. Maharashtra has four major Tiger Reserves: Melghat Tiger Reserve (Amravati District); Pench Tiger Reserve (Nagpur District), Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Chandrapur District) and Radhanagari- Koyna Tiger Reserve (Sahyadri Tiger Reserve).  

   The Western Ghats including those in Maharashtra are under consideration for inclusion as a World Heritage Site. These biological treasures represent diverse vegetation types and the forests in their climax conditions form a unique Biological Heritage. There are 386 sacred groves in Maharashtra under different agencies, such as Forest Department, Revenue Department, Temple Trust, and in villages under private property.

           Small patches of mangrove forests are found on the west coast of Maharashtra and they occupy about 330 sq km area. They are noted in estuarine parts of all the coastal districts of the State.

 The flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. The Deccan traps continue into Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat through Khandesh. The flora of regions such as Nag region formed by Nagpur, Bhandara, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts, the plateau of Vidarbha composed by Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola an d Buldhana districts and the ten districts of Maharashtra such as Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Nashik, Pune, Satara and Sangali, Some part of Shyadris and long narrow coastal strip of Konkan running through the districts of Mumbai, Thane. Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg differs because their physiography, climate and soil conditions are different. The Flora akin to Malbar region is met with in coastal Konkan. The plants from the Vindhyas and Indo-Gangatic plains meet those in Khandesh and in Narmada basins. There is also a similarity between the plants of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and south Gujarat.  

               The Jungadh hill; Girnar parvat and Barda – dongar have a species akin to those in dry parts of Deccan of Maharashtra.The flora of Saurashtra resembles the flora in the forests of and that in drier parts of Konkan.The flora of Khandesh in comparable of South Gurajat and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra State boundary extends from Mumbai to Gadchiroli and Dhule to Sindhudurg and Kolhapur districts. It is about 800 km east-west and 700 north – south having an areas of 3,07690 sq km making it the third largest State of Indian union. It touches the Arabian Sea on the west whose coast line extends up to 720 km Goa and Karnataka in the south, Andhra Pradesh in the north and Gujarat in the north-west. The State has been divided into 35 districts. 

 There are 3 main Public Forestry Institutions (PFIs) in the Maharashtra state viz. the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD), the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and the Directorate of Social Forestry (SFD).

             Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD) is entrusted with the role of conservation and development of the State's forests spread over about 20 percent of its geographical area. Forests play an important role in the economy at local, regional and national levels, by contributing to the basic needs of the poor forest dwellers including tribals, meeting requirements of forest-based industries and most importantly in maintaining the ecological balance..
 

  Maharashtra forestry sector is the second largest land use after agriculture.  The forests have a rich variety of flora and fauna.Forest performs protective, productive, social and bioaesthetic functions and is of diverse utility to mankind.

TheForest :-
* afford a renewable source of timber, firewood, pasturage and items of minor forest Produce.
* provide shelter and means of livelihood and welfare to adivasis, other inhabitants,Including lower strata of the population and numerous animate beings.
* provide a source of recreation and medium for seeking harmony with nature,
* exercise ameliorative influence on the microclimate in moderation of extremes,
* control severity of floods and check soil erosion,
* ensure moisture conservation and regulation of stream flows.

     
Forestry is, thus, beneficial to agriculture and plays an important role of foster mother in promoting agro industrial economy. Forests make significant contribution to the state exchequer and to the State’s domestic production.