Banni Grassland

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The Gujarat government recently said that the central government has approved setting up a cheetah breeding and conservation centre in Banni Grassland.

About Banni Grassland

  • It is located along the northern border of Kachchh district in the state of Gujarat.
  • It is one of the largest grasslands in the Indian subcontinent with an area of over 2500
  • Many factors have served to shape Banni over time, including the damming of rivers, the introduction and spread of the invasive Prosopis juliflora tree, and the continually varying composition and density of livestock that have grazed these grasslands for many centuries.
  • The Banni is also home to 22 ethnic groups, the majority of whom are pastoralists, spread across 48 settlements in 19 Panchayats, with a population of close to 40,000 people.
  • It is home to great biological diversity, having 37 grass species, 275 bird species, and domesticated animals like Buffalo, Sheep, Goat, Horses and Camel, as well as wildlife. 
  • The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary which spans over an area of 380 Sq. km and the recently notified 227 Sq. km Chhari Dhand Conservation Reserve are part of the Banni Grasslands.
  • Flora: The vegetation here mainly comprises Prosopis Juliflora, Cressa critica, Cyperus spp, Sporobolus, Dichanthium, and Aristida.
  • Fauna:
    • It is home to mammals such as the Nilgai, Chinkara, Blackbuck, Wild boar, Golden Jackal, Indian Hare, Indian Wolf, Caracal, Asiatic Wildcat and Desert Fox etc. 
    • The region also serves as a breeding ground for the Banni buffalo and the Kankrej cow.

Q1) What is an invasive species?

An invasive species, also known as an invasive alien species or invasive exotic species, refers to a non-native organism (plant, animal, or microbe) that has been introduced to a new environment, whether intentionally or accidentally, and has the potential to cause harm to the local ecosystem, economy, or human health. Invasive species are characterized by their ability to thrive and reproduce rapidly in their new habitat, often outcompeting native species and disrupting the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Source: Centre approves setting up cheetah breeding centre in Banni Grassland in Kutch