Dindigul Forest Department was formed in the year 1982, bifurcating Madurai North Division. This Forest Division Contains 84564.87 Ha. of Reserved Forests and 19730.40 Ha. of Reserved Lands along with 44,000 Ha. of Hill Preservation Areas. Located in Dindigul Revenue District the Forest Division is surrounded by Erode District in the North, Trichy District in the East, Madurai District in the South and Coimbatore District in the West.
Importance of Dindigul Forest Division
Dindigul Forest Division is one of the most ecologically important parts of South India. The forests of Dindigul are the part of the bio-diverse Western Ghats. This area is ecologically very sensitive and economically important for agricultural production and food supply of India. Endangered flora like Silavagai, Sandana Vembu, and Mahagani can be found in this Division. Apart from these Dindigul Forest Division also contains many endangered and threatened species of plants. Different rare species of fauna like Grizzled squirrel and Slender loris are found in this Division. The Grizzled squirrel is mostly seen in (Siruvattukadu) Northern Slope Reserved Forests of Oddanchatram Range near Siruvattukadu and Pachalur villages. Slender Loris, another rare species can be seen in places like Ayyalur, Natham and Sirumalai Ranges.
Dindigul Division is very important from the perspective of water supply. The forests form the catchment areas of several important rivers of South India, like Palar, Kodaganaru, Kuthiraiyar, Porandalar, Manjalar, Varadhamanathi, and Maruthanathi, which drains into Vaigai and Cauveri rivers. The nine dams that are seen in the region are Kamarajar Dam, Dharmathupatti Dam,Varadamanadhi Dam, Manjalar Dam, Marudhanadhi, Parapalar Dam, Pannapatti, Palar- Porandalar Dam, Kuthiraiyar Dam. Irrigation is the most important function of these dams. Apart from irrigation Kamarajar Dam and Palar- Porandalar Dam supply water to Dindigul and Palani respectively.
These dams have played important role in the growth of agriculture in Dindigul district and in the way, helped the national agriculture. The Government has taken different steps to conserve and protect these watersheds so that the people of the area get enough water for them. A number of watershed development projects like Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project, Western Ghat Development Project etc., are being completed in the Division. With the help of these projects the Government hopes for continuous forestation and creation of more water harvesting projects in the area.
Joint Forest Management
The forests are managed for the environment and well as for the welfare of the people. The people who are living closer to the forests mainly depends on these forests to meet their day to day needs, and as these efforts are mostly unplanned, causes harm to the forests. The Tamil Nadu Government has always tried to involve the local people in the management of the forests, and this has paved the way for Joint Forest Management Approach, which was started in the year 1997. Still now, 109 Village Forest Councils have been formed and around 30,000 Ha of forest area has been brought under the management. The Forest Management process is done under the Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project.
Medicinal Plants Conservation Area of Dindigul Forests
The forest of Dindigul contains many medicinal plants. These medicinal plants play important roles in the local and Siddha health care system. The Government has encouraged these medical practices and to provide better healthcare to these people. The Medicinal Plants Conservation Area is established in Alagar Malai R.F. of ALagar Kovil Range of Dindigul Forest Division in the year 1994. The medicinal plant wealth of the Forests is protected and large number of medicinal plants are raised and supplied to the people through Self Help Groups. The Self Help Groups also produce many medicinal plant products and sell to the people.
Alagar kovil Mooligai Vana kulu was formed in the year 1999-2000 and it had the support of 6 Self Help Groups. These groups are formed of people living in ten neighboring villages of the area. These people are completely involved in different Nursery Outreach Activities and they are the direct sellers of the medicinal plants to people. One of the biggest accomplishments of these groups is they sell and distributed seedlings of medicinal plants and other plants to general public to create awareness. This effort has gone a long way in the marketing process of medicinal plants which are raised in the nurseries and home gardens, even in cities like Chennai and Bangalore.
Alagar Kovil Mooligai Tea
The extracts of the traditionally used plants, along with several herbal drinks are readily made available for the intake of general people is medicinal purposes. These self help groups are involved in this process.
Territorial Ranges of Dindigul Forest Division: The Division is headed by the District Forest Officer. The District Forest Officer is assisted by one Assistant Conservator of Forests. The Territorial ranges of the division are Palani Range, Oddanchatram Range, Kannivadi Range,Batlagundu Range, Sirumalai Range, Natham Range, Alagar kovil Range and Ayyalur Range . The Special Ranges are Joint Forest Management Range, Forest Protection Range, Thandikudi H.P. Range, Kannivadi H.P. Range and Periyur H.P. Range. All the ranges are headed by a Forest Ranger.
Important address for Contact: District Forest Officer, Dindigul Division, Palani Road, Dindigul. Phone : 91-451-2432 032. Email: email@example.com