The area in this district under Forest is 1483.75 Acre. The forest type is mainly Northern tropical Most Mixed Deciduous Forests. The distribution of forests is very erratic and mostly spread in small pockets. There are some pockets of natural forests of 282.11 acre and comprises of coppice sal except a small patch in Rajabhum mouza in Chopra block which appears to be of seed/seedlings origins.

Sunset at River Kulik Raiganj Forest on the bank of River Kulik Kulik_Birds Kulik_Birds

Tourism amidst forest in Uttar Dinajpur
Raiganj Bird Sanctuary - Situated in the district and along the National Highway and by the side of the Kulik river is the Raiganj Bird Sanctuary with an area of 35 acre and buffer area of 286.23 acre. The forest, water bodies and the river attract the migratory birds like Open Bill Strok, Night heron, cormorant, little cormorant & Egrets from South Asian countries and coastal regions. (Source- DFO, Raiganj Division)

Local birds like dove, bulbul, sparrow, king fisher, woodpeckers, owl, duck & cuckoo, can also be seen in large numbers. The migratory birds arrive from end of May to Ist week of July and depart from mid December to end of January. The nesting time is from July to August & egg laying from August to September. The flying training to the young ones is the best time to observe the birds, around October to November.

Legal status of the Forest

Reserved Forest 573.71 Acre
Protected Forest 249.50 Acre
Unclassed Forest 660.54 Acre
Total 1483.75 Acre = 610.71 Ha = 6.01 Sq. Km

Composition of Forests in the District

The most common species found within the forests area are Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo), Simul (Bombex Ceiba) Siris (Albizzia lebbeck) Akashmoni (Acacia auriculiformis), Khair (Acacia catechu), Lali (Amoora wallichii), Khadam (Anthocephalus kadamba), Mingiri (Cassia siamea), Eucalyphus Spp., Sidha (Lagerstroemia perviflora), Jarul (Lagerstroemia speciosa), Sal (Shorea robusta), Sheora(Strebulus asper), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna) etc. Teak (Tectona grandis) is also available sporadically in some patches. The forests in this district are mainly plantation. Sal is mainly of coppice origin. The total Forest area is hardly 0.19 percent of the total Geographical area.

Social Forestry activities in the District

Raiganj Social Forestry Division was created with an object of bringing non-utilizable land outside the Government Forest area under cover of Forest in the Districts of erstwhile West Dinajpur and Malda. With the inception of social Forestry project, the initial task rested with the Foresters to spot out areas where land was remaining fallow. The main attention was given to the linear strip along various roads, Canals, Rivers, railway Embankment etc. under various Government Departments. Besides, some uncultivable waste lands under private individuals were also spotted. The object was to meet the local demand of timber, fire wood, Pole, fodder and other minor Forest produce and for creating employment to the local people through planting. From 1977 to 2002, 1943.60 Ha of area i.e. 19.436 Sq.Km of area has brought under Social Forestry Planting programme in this District.

Forest and employment

Dependence of people of both the District in terms of economy is not remarkable. But due to huge rural population in comparison to urban, there is a considerable dependence of local people on wood products and fire wood. The idea of social Forestry plantation has reduced the burden of natural Forests. It has been estimated that per capita annual consumption of fire wood in rural area is 7,30,000 tonnes in Uttar Dinajpur district keeping in view that per capita consumption per day is 1 Kg.

Forest Based Industry and Market

This district mainly produces Paddy in Kharif and pre-kharif season. The Industrial activities are primarily artisan oriented. They are mostly small and cottage scale. Following are the major forest based industries in the district :

A : Saw Mill Industries
B: Ply Wood and Veneer making Industries

There are 55 Nos. licensed Saw Mills in the District. A few is under consideration. At present process of giving license to wood based industries has been stopped as per direction of Government. A survey conducted by this Division indicates that total annual capacity of the industry is about 80,000 m3. Veneer Mills are using softwood spps. Like Simul, Sissoo, Eucalyptus etc., mostly obtained from private land. The success of Social Forestry lies in this direction.

Future Scope and conclusion

In the context of North Bengal Forests, the Social Forestry Plantations have not yet been able to take pressure off the natural Forests. Government Forest contain a higher proportion of big size timber from valuable species (e.g. Sal, Teak etc), than strip plantation and farm forestry. The strip plantation are also prone to theft, damage, fire, grazing and encroachment and therefore, not much timber and fire wood remains available at the time of harvesting to meet the local demand fully. Due to the increase of population, demand of wood has been increased in a bigger way. The extent of Govt. Forest is fixed to a limit. Hence, the need of increasing productivity is felt for. It can be achieved either by increased productivity in Govt. Forest or by taking major portion of non-Forest land into tree cultivation. As Govt. Forest is controlled by Forest Deptt. there are a continuous effort in research work to increase the productivity in unit area basis. But for the land outside the control of the Government is still lying in unplanned productivity condition in respect of forestry. There is scope of enhancement of production in these lands. As in Uttar Dinajpur district , Forest land is very less, more area outside the Forest land to be brought under Social Forestry activity with enhanced productivity of Forest product, then there will be a further scope of establishing small scale Forest Based Industries in this District.
Possible Developments :

#   Medicinal and Aromatic plants like Ashok, Swarpagandha, Lemon grass, Makna, Kalamegh, Nichinda, Costach, Abir, Isabgol, Ming Oil, Menthanol, Jasmine essence possible export items which are already being planted in some parts of the district.
#   Travel agencies organizing conducted tours connecting routes between Gour- at Malda, Adina Deer Park and Bird Sanctuary at Raiganj & covering other tourist spot circuit at Uttar Dinajpur
#   Tourism industry based on conducted tours from Kolkata covering destinations like Darjeeling, Duars and Sikkim can have Malda (GOUR, Adina and Pandua) and Raiganj (Kulik Bird Sanctuary).
#   A water sport park can be developed along with a hotel/ motel/ restaurant facilities where the people on the long drive can break their journey.
#   Need of Rest Houses/Restaurants/Dhabas along the National highways are much felt and can be very successive also from the point of view and halt for period on long drives from Kolkata to Siliguri

Other Tourist Spots in Uttar Dinajpur

#   Sap nikla forest under Chopra block is 22 km from Islampur and tourists visit the lake and the forest for site seeing. Development of an Eco park is underway.
#   Eco Tourism at Bijolia More is being developed. Here river Sudhani forms an island by dividing into 2 branches and joining again.
#   Temple of Goddess Bhairabi at Bindole.
#   Mosque of Burhana fakirs.
#   Temple of Goddess Kali of Baira.
#   Kunore-famous for terracotta pottery & Malgaon.
#   Museum at Karnajora.
#   Park at Karnajora.
#   Banabithi Resort at Barui, Barduari.
#   Farm-House at Samaspur, Hemtabad

BisnuTemple at Tenahari
BisnuTemple at Tenahari

StoneScripture found in the Mosque
Stone Scripture found in the Mosque

Mosque of Burhana fakirs
Mosque of Burhana Fakirs

Temple of Goddess Bhairabi at Bindole
Raiganj Wild Life Sanctuary

Temple of Goddess Bhairabi at Bindole
Temple of Goddess Bhairabi at Bindole

Raiganj Tourist Lodge
Raiganj Tourist Lodge