“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness” – John Muir
And still, sadly, it is far easier to create a desert than a forest – as James Lovelock says. We wish this weren’t true. Man is destroying forests every minute in his greed of material pursuits and destroying the ecological balance. Can you imagine what life would be without forests or trees? We get a glimpse of this in the movie series – The Planet of the Apes, and we wouldn’t want that to come true, would we?
In a bid to help us preserve what is left of our forests and take a step to building forests, we celebrate International Forest Day on 21st March.
According to the United Nations, nearly one-third of Earth’s land mass is covered in forests. These biological ecosystems are home to around 1.6 billion people – including a whopping 2,000 + cultures and to 80% of terrestrials including plants, animals and insects, who depend on forests for their daily bread and shelter.
Despite these benefits, deforestation is rampant and destroys 13 million hectares of forest annually. If you still want more of the terrifying statistics, deforestation alone is the reason behind 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Now you know who is contributing to global climate change!
To stop this onslaught, every 21st March is celebrated as the International Day of Forest, to raise awareness about the vitality of forests to people and the pivotal role forests play in eradicating poverty, increasing environmental sustainability and food security. Let’s all join hands in raising the green cover in our forests and make sustainable living a reality. In sync with this mission, this year’s theme is ‘Forests and Sustainable Cities’.
The world over, we have some wonderful forests we would love to explore. This year, we take you to some of the Best Forests in India.
The 7 Best Forests of India
Some of the most beautiful forests in the world are in India, a luxurious abode with pine and deodar trees and elephants and tigers along with other spectacular living species. City-bred people like us should take off into these forests as this is a golden chance to get up, close and personal with Nature and our inner selves.
Sundarbans, West Bengal
The Sunderban’s are the pride of West Bengal and home to the Royal Bengal Tiger (the white tiger variety). The Sundarbans delta is among the largest in the world and covers about 10,000 sq.km. The lush mangrove forest is a tiger and a biosphere reserve. The forest has a liberal spread of Sundari trees and is inhabited by fishing and leopard cats, wild boars, Indian grey mongoose, macaques, foxes, pangolin, and cheetah.
Gir Forest, Gujarat
In the Junagadh district of Gujarat is the famous Gir National Park spread over 1,412 sq.km. Spotting the famous Asiatic Lion is something you can look forward to, in the dry- deciduous forest of Gir. Gir is also home to several leopards, which include jungle cat, desert cat, hyenas, golden jackals, Indian palm civets, ratels, nilgai, sambar, antelopes, sloth bears, Indian cobras and mongoose, and chinkara, among others.
Khasi Hills, Meghalaya
Among the unexplored forests of India are the sprawling green Khasi Hills in the North East. An integral part of the Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion, Khasi Hills has a good quantity of rainfall and is breathtakingly picturesque all year round.
Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
Namdapha is the world’s third biggest national park and is found in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Spanning 1985 sq.km, this lush green beauty is nestled between the Patkai range and Dapha bum range of Mishmi Hills. The Namdapha Flying Squirrel is close to extinction and is a famous resident of the Namdapha National Park. Furthermore, this species is found only here. Other species of animals include snow and clouded leopards, tigers, wolves, Asiatic black bears, red panda, and red fox, Slow Loris, Capped Langurs, Hoolock Gibbons, Assamese and Rhesus Macaques.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park is India’s first national park that was established in 1936. Tourists from around the world plan a vacation at Jim Corbett for its diverse wildlife that includes wild elephants, sloth bears, schools of otters, several types of deer, sambars, peacocks, and more. Jim Corbett is one of India’s best forests for that next vacation you are eyeing.
Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Once a game reserve for the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore, the beautiful Bandipur forest has tigers, Indian elephants, gaurs (bison), and antelopes among other species here. Surrounded by the towering Western Ghats, it is breathtakingly beautiful.
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, this forest stretches between the Nilgiri Hills in South India and the Western Ghats. This international biosphere reserve attracts nature enthusiasts all year round. Native tribes like the Cholanaickens, Todas, Kotas, Irullas, Kurumbas, Allar, Adiyans, Paniyas and Malayan co-exist here with the wildlife. The reserve is home to hundreds of mammals, birds and about a hundred different reptile species. The more popular residents are the Tiger, Asian elephant, Nilgiri Tahr and the Lion-tailed Macaque. Two of the endangered species, the Lion-Tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Tahr have their largest population here.
This International Forest Day, pledge to contribute your mite to save our Forests. And when you do, celebrate it with a nice, peaceful vacation in the wild. For the best vacation experience, choose Sterling. Visit our website for the best deals on hotels and travel packages.