IN092
Rampura Grassland


Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Rampura grassland is situated near Dahod in Panchmahals district, Gujarat. It lies on the left of the Dahod-Godhra highway, and includes three protected grasslands, namely Kalithalai (859 ha), Muvalia (750 ha) and Rozam (378 ha). It has also been known as Kalithalai-Muvalia-Rozam grasslands (Natarajan and Rahmani 1997). It is protected by the Forest Department for production of hay. The site falls in the Malwa plateau, an undulating region with valleys and seasonal rainwater streams. This complex of grasslands provides ideal habitats for the Endangered Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica, locally known as Turrkukde. Historically, the whole area, except for some rocky plateau, was covered with thick teak forests (Tectona grandis), the remnants of which are still seen in some valleys. The grasslands came up when these forests were cut over years. Important species of the site are Echinochloa colonum, Setaria sp., Digitaria ciliaris, Brachiaria ramosa and Urochloa panicoides which blooms at the onset of the monsoon (Natarajan and Rahmani 1997). These species are succeeded by Themeda quadrivalvis, Heteropogon contortus, Sehima nervosum and Chrysopogon fulvus. Beside grasslands, plantations of Acacia nilotica, A. tortilis, Terminalia crenulata, Tectona grandis, Bauhinia racemosa, Gmelina arborea and Butea monosperma are also present.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: About 140 species of the birds are reported from this site (Natarajan and Rahmani 1997). According to Sankaran (1991), 15-20 male Lesser Floricans are found in Rampura grasslands. Bird community structure in different types of habitat was studied in Rampura (Natarajan and Rahmani 2002). Altogether, 68 species were recorded from the four study sites. The maximum number of species was recorded in plantation (54), followed by grassland (49) and least in grazing land (33). The Lesser Florican was seen only in the grassland. Four species of harriers (Circus spp.) are also found and use the grassland for foraging and roosting. BirdLife International (undated) has listed 59 species in Biome-11. In Rampura grassland, we were able to find 18 of these biome species. Most of the species are widespread and common.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no large wild mammal of conservation concern but the grassland supports significant populations of smaller mammals such as Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Rufous-tailed Hare Lepus nigricollis ruficaudatus and Golden Jackal Canis aureus. Among reptiles, the Fan-throated Lizard Sitana ponticeriana and Shorttailed Agama Laudakia (=Agama) minor are common. Indian Monitor Varanus bengalensis and five or six species of snakes have been identified.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Frequent drought; Plantations.

Rampura grassland shows how hay production could be one of the major land uses of an area where the soil is unfit for other cultivation. There is a full-fledged Range of the State Forest Department in Dahod which protects this grassland and manages harvest of grass at the right time, storage in godowns and finally transport to places where hay is required. The Forest Department strictly protects the grassland during the monsoon when the grass is growing. This is the time when the Lesser Florican breeds, thus it also benefits from the protection. As the grassland is harvested and the Forest Department has commercial interest in the protection of grasses, Rampura is of vital importance for the long-term survival of the Lesser Florican. During the last 18 years monitoring, we have seen neither deterioration of the grassland, nor fall in the number of Lesser Floricans. This is a fine example of the importance of habitat protection for the survival of endangered species. If we want to assure the long-term survival of the Lesser Florican, the Rampura grassland initiative replicated manifold in other areas is the hope.

Acknowledgements
Key contributors: V. Natarajan and Asad R. Rahmani.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rampura Grassland. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2022.