Grasslands of Indian sub-continent are once widely distributed across northern India and southern Nepal in the valleys of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries. But due to rapid conversion of grassland to agricultural field and grazing pressure from domestic stock during the last two decades these grasslands are now restricted only to some protected areas of Nepal, northern and northeastern India and its adjoining parts. Under the present situation also, these grasslands still support a wide range of biodiversity and are a subsistence source of resource for local people. Anthropogenic disturbance from cultivation and grazing of stock was mostly considered causes for formation of grasslands for some instances. But for other cases the origin of the grasslands is still unclear.
In Assam most of the grassland areas are now under protected areas network. The major among them are – Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaziranga, Orang and Manas National Park. Dolphin Foundation has been working for the conservation of these grasslands for last five years with special focus on Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Extensive field researches have been carried out for last 5 years to study the affects of various factors responsible for deterioration of grasslands of the sanctuary.
The Grassland conservation activities carryout by Dolphin Foundation are –
- Taxonomic studies on the grasslands of Assam with reference to Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Studies on various mode of utilization of grasslands by the surrounding communities of Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Study and identification of the grass species occurring in Assam with special reference to Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Profiling of assemblage pattern of different grass species and their trend analysis in Pabitora for last 5 years.
- Preparation of a checklist of all the grass species present in Pabitora with their percentage composition and economic value.
- Effects of over utilization of grasslands and its affects on the ecology of the grasslands in Pabitora.
- Study and profiling of the socio-economic status of all the fringe villages of Pabitora and their dependence on Pabitora grasslands.
- Assessment of the effects of livestock grazing on grasslands of Pabitora.
- Effects of weed invasion on the grassland ecosystems of Pabitora.