Very few cities are fortunate enough to have a lushgreen vibrant forest in their close proximity.
Jammu as such is having Manda forest, a short distance towards its north, where one can have a sigh of relief with refreshing air both in the morning and evening.
Not only that the forest refreshes the morning and evening walkers, the fresh breeze also whifs through the entire city of Jammu to keep her ever-refreshing.
Manda is endowed with a rich vibrant and lush green forest of all strata of trees amalgamated with climbers, shrubs and herbs of multhued manifestation.
Apart from being laden with rich flora, Manda is famous for a rich variety of fauna which consitute a kaleadoscopic panorama of wilflife intermingled with rich flora.
Not too distant past, a tiger was sighted on the serpentine Bull cart road(BC road) near Karr Nallaha which drains down into Tawi flowing alongside jammu city.
Though, of course, with the passage of time and other factors, Manda has in many ways lost its prestine grandeur and glory with the result that the richness of both floraand fauna has lost luster.
The Pea-cock, our National bird and the tiger our National animal which once were in abundance have now reduced to a very few numbers.
Similar is the fate of other colourful animals and birds such as Jackals, wolfs, Mongoose, creepers, Jungle fowls and so many of their allieds.
Manda’s entire forest falls within the scrubland which is mostly dry, arid and quite thorny.
The trees are short of stature and crooked in limb and their branches are wavering out.Amidst clumps of these malformed trees are the shrubs which form the undergrowth of these dry and arid lands.
Thick and unyielding, these are armed with interlinking thorns designed by nature to tear flesh off the unsuspecting passerby.
The Plants are waxy, thorny and occasionally hairy and all thesecombined in unison, which don’t conform to the image of the well behaved potted green.
Mighty beasts are seldomfound in the scrubland of Manda to enchant the onlooker and make them fall in love with the habitat which houses them.
The very symbols of nature that endear are absent and instead in the tough and hardy survivors of relentless ecosystem of Manda forest, its flora and fauna.
Over the years, Manda was thickly covered with a rich variety of flora and fauna. But with the human interference ad intrusion has deteriorates its vibrancy to alarger extent.
There is a complete silence of songs which were being echoed by the wild birds both at sunrise and sun-set.
The roaring of majestic tiger are totally absent owning to their absence in itself.
The forest department alongwithits allied wing of wildlife are making all out efforts to restore back the erestwhile grandeur and glory but no fruitful results have been achieved to the extent to which these are expected to be.
It is, therefore, enjoined upon the Government in general and Minister incharge of forests and Environment in particular to invigorate all possible steps to save, protect and propagate the only lastingbeauty and vibracyof Manda forest apart from Mahamaya forests both in terms of their beauty and vibrancy lest our upcoming generations keep on abusing us for the years ahead.
Our forest and the wildlife housingin is our rich heritage, their preservation and protection is not only mandatory but obligatory on our part.
(The author is Dy. Conservator of Forest J&K).


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