Field excursion at Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Located in the foothills of the Himalaya at a distance of 17 kms from Haridwar, the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve is a lacustrine wetland known for important floral and faunal species, specially Swamp deer (Cervus duvuacelli) in the Shiwaliks hills.
As a part of the academic curriculum of FRIDU, the students of M.Sc. Forestry (2017-19) were taken to a field excursion at Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Haridwar and adjoining areas of Rajaji National Park on 3rd February 2018. During this trip, Dr. Ishwari Datt Rai, Wildlife Institute of India and Dr. Amit Kumar, FRIDU guided the forestry enthusiasts and carried out phyto-taxonomical excursion. The exercise also gave an understanding about floristic diversity and plant succession alongwith invasive species assessment in the reserve. Students were given exposure to identify major tree species such as Shorea robusta, Mallotus philipensis, Sterospermum suaveolens, Mitragyna parvifolia, Trewia nudiflora, Acacia catechu, Zizhypus mauritiana. Aditionally, Helictrus isora, Murraya koengii,Clerodendrum viscosum and Wrightia tinctoria were among the prominent shrubs that were observed. Adhatoda vasica, Cassia tora, Cassia occidentalis were also observed among the herbs that indicated human disturbance at the site. The major grasses which were observed were Phragmites karka, Arundo donax and Imperata cylindrica.
In this excursion, the students got an opportunity to observe Swamp deer (Cervus duvuacelli) and Spotted deer (Axis axis) population in their natural habitat from proximity and also learnt to differentiate among elephant dung, scats of carnivores and pellets of ungulates; deer and antelopes; and antlers and horns.