It is considered the heart of India’s wildlife habitats, sprawling over 152,000 km2. The landscape encompasses 14 protected areas including 11 tiger reserves in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chattisgarh.
Local communities here have been living alongside its rich wildlife since time immemorial. The mainstay of the local communities living near these forests is subsistence agriculture and cattle rearing besides collection of non-timber forest produce. The forests of central India have inspired classic compositions like Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book which is woven around Seonee (Seoni) and Pench Tiger Reserve.
The conservation challenges in the landscape include poaching of tigers and their prey, human-wildlife conflict, development of linear infrastructure (particularly roads & canals), unregulated cattle grazing, unsustainable harvesting of forest resources, encroachment, mining, and industrial development.
Despite these challenges Central India landscape is recognised by the Government of India as a region with one of the best potential for wild tiger recovery in the long run. It has some of the largest contiguous forested tracks, connected through wildlife corridors.
WWF has been working to reduce threats in Central India since 2003 with an aim of ensuring free movement of tigers and wildlife through landscape connectivity while reducing conflict between them and people. Our goal is to have a fully connected landscape via functional corridors.