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Location India, Maharashtra
Central coordinates 74o 30.00' East  21o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 26,000 ha
Altitude 350 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Toranmal Reserve Forest is located in Shahada tehsil of Nandurbar district, Maharashtra. Situated south of the Narmada river, c. 100 km from the Gujarat border, this area is located on the Deccan pleateau of Central India. The general topography of the area is undulating hills with open as well as dense patches of forests, which are Dry Deciduous type. There are 46 villages in and around the Reserve Forest, and the local population depends entirely on the forest for livelihood. Nine different tribal communities reside in and around the Reserve Forest. The Pawara, Bheel, Nahal, and Rathod tribals are the dominant tribal communities who have been living in these forests for hundreds of years. This Reserve Forest has two water reservoirs which support the surrounding villages and wildlife. However, the area experiences acute water shortage during the hot dry summer months. This IBA has Tropical Dry Deciduous type of forest. About 225 species of plants are reported from the Reserve Forest (Forest Department checklist). The dominant species are Teak Tectona grandis, Salai Boswellia serrata, Kadam Mitragyna parvifolia, Mahua Madhuca indica, and Red Silk Cotton Bombax ceiba.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: Davidson (1881) mentioned the rich bird diversity of this region. He had recorded around 294 species of birds from Western Khandesh. He also recorded the Green Munia Amandava formosa, Syke’s Nightjar Caprimulgus mahrattensis, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis, Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius, Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica, Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps and the Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti. Due to the increasing human population, these birds were slowly eliminated from Western Khandesh. Toranmal Reserve Forest is considered to be one of the last refuges of the Critically Endangered, endemic Forest Owlet. This species was considered extinct until 1997, when it was rediscovered by Ben King and Pamela Rasmussen (King and Rasmussen 1998). Since 1999, the BNHS is carrying out ecological studies on this bird (Ishtiaq and Rahmani 2000, Jathar and Rahmani 2002). The presence of the Critically Endangered Forest owlet is reason enough to designate this area as an IBA. Along with Taloda, Toranmal is one of the few sites in India that come under Secondary Area category of BirdLife International (undated) and Stattersfield et al. (1998). Secondary area is an area which supports one or more restricted range species, but does not qualify as an Endemic Bird Area because fewer that two species are entirely confined to it. The remnant forest of Western Khandesh is representative of the type of forest that was present a hundred years ago. Most of the rare species mentioned by Davidson (1881) are no longer found here, but even so birds of tropical dry deciduous forest are found. According to studies conducted by the BNHS, there are 233 species of birds (G. Jathar, unpublished checklist.). Of the 59 Biome-11 species identified by BirdLife International (undated), 27 have already been seen here. Therefore, this site qualifies in A3 criteria also.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Studies conducted by the BNHS have revealed eight species of rodents, three species of shrews, five species of lizards and skinks, four species of geckos and five species of amphibians. Large mammals include Leopard Panthera pardus, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Four-horned Antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, and Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena.Rufous-tailed Hare Lepus nigricollis ruficaudatus is quite common. Forty species of butterflies have been recorded (G. Jathar pers. comm. 2003).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2004  present  A1  Least Concern 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti resident  2004  present  A1, A2  Critically Endangered 
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - small-holder plantations happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture; Small irrigation projects
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Girish A. Jathar.


BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Davidson, J. (1881) Rough list of birds of Khandesh. Stray Feathers 10: 279-327.

Ishtiaq, F. and A. R. Rahmani (2000) Further information on status and distribution of Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti). Forktail 16: 125- 130.

Jathar, G. A. and A. R. Rahmani (2002) Ecological studies on the Forest Spotted Owlet Athene (Heteroglaux) blewitti. Annual Report. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

King, B. F. and P. C. Rasmussen (1998) The rediscovery of the Forest Owlet Athene (Heteroglaux) blewitti. Forktail 14: 51-53.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Toranmal Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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