Using environmental niche modeling to find suitable habitats for the Hard-ground Barasingha in Madhya Pradesh, India

Main Article Content

C. P. Singh
J. S. Chauhan
J. S. Parihar
R. P. Singh
R. Shukla


The subspecies of Swamp Deer, the Hard-ground Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii branderi Pocock), is presently found only in Kanha Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Madhya Pradesh, India. This subspecies is highly vulnerable to extinction, and reintroduction in suitable sites is the need of the hour.  Environmental niche models (GARP, SVM, ED, CSM) aimed at providing a detailed prediction of species distribution by relating presence of species to 19 bioclimatic indices were developed, using swamp deer occurrence records in KTR. The predictions were appropriately weighted with the prevailing LU/LC classes to identify suitable habitats in Madhya Pradesh, India. The result shows that the southern region of Madhya Pradesh is suitable for the sustenance of Barasingha with varying degrees of habitability. Vicarious validation shows that most of these forest areas were the same as that of historical records dating back to 50 years. However, land use maps can help identify areas where this subspecies can be reintroduced.


Article Details

Author Biographies

C. P. Singh, EPSA, Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380015, India

C.P. Singh is a Scientist in Environment and Hydrology Division of Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad, India and he has more than a decade of experience on environmental research using satellite inputs and modeling. Apart from wildlife management, ecosystem modeling his research interests also includes climate change impact on alpine ecosystem and forest fire detection using remote sensing technologies. He is an active member of various professional societies in the field of GIS, remote sensing and modeling. 


J. S. Chauhan, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Mandla, Madhya Pradesh 481661, India

J.S. Chauhan, Field Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve, India and an officer of the 1987 batch of the Indian Forest Service. Besides being an able administrator and managing several technical forestry entities, he has shown commendable foresight in the conservation of the endangered Hard-ground Barasingha at Kanha by taking special conservation initiatives. His efforts have resulted in positive trends in the tiger population in KTR. He has supervised the Asiatic Lion Re-introduction Project in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary and also provided support for conservation of aquatic ecosystem and Great Indian Bustard. He has been honoured with the “Wildlife Service Award†by the ABN AMRO, Sanctuary Asia for his services to wildlife conservation.


J. S. Parihar, EPSA, Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380015, India

J.S. Parihar, retired on superannuation as Deputy Director and Outstanding Scientist from Space Applications Centre, ISRO and is currently Prof. Satish Dhawan Professor at SAC, ISRO, Ahmedabad, India. He is working with ISRO since 1974. He has contributed significantly in the development of remote sensing applications in the field of agriculture which led to formation of Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC), New Delhi, India. He has been instrumental in setting up satellite based Agro-meteorological System (AMS) networks in India for monitoring energy and mass exchange in vegetative systems. He has been recipient of many awards including ISRO outstanding performance award, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award from ICAR and Bhaskara award from ISRS. His interest in wildlife conservation has brought some of the early applications of remote sensing in the field of wildlife and corridor modeling.

R. P. Singh, EPSA, Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380015, India

R.P. Singh is Head of EHD at SAC, ISRO, Ahmedabad, India and leading the team of specialists in the field of environmental modeling. He has been actively involved in various segments of environmental, agriculture and planetary applications being carried by ISRO using Indian earth observation systems since 1991. His contributions are notable in the field of biophysical parameter retrieval of vegetative systems. He is associate fellow of the Gujarat Science Academy and recipients of awards from Indian Society of Remote Sensing.


R. Shukla, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Mandla, Madhya Pradesh 481661, India

Rakesh Shukla is Research Officer of the KTR, India. He is a professional forester and wildlife manager of the State Forest Service.  He is PhD in wildlife ecology and involved in full time research, monitoring and management planning at KTR. He has over 25 years’ experience of service in wildlife protected areas. He has co-authored the previous as well as the current decadal Tiger Conservation Plans for the protected area. He has authored decadal Tiger Conservation Plans, technical documents, research papers on wildlife ecology and articles on wildlife conservation in magazines.



Asdell, S.A. (1964). Pattern of mammalian reproduction. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, USA.

Brander, D.A.A. (1923). Wild Animals in Central India. Edward Arnold & Co., London,UK, xv+296pp.

Burnett, J. (1959). Increase of Swamp Deer (Cervus duvauceli Cuv.) in the Kaziranga Sanctuary, Assam. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 56(2): 318–319.

Burton, R. (1952). A History of Shikar in India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 50(4): 845–869.

Champion, F.W. (1927). With a Camera in Tigerland. Chatto and Windus, London,UK, xviii+228pp.

Champion, H.G. & S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. Manager of Publications, Government of India, Delhi, India, xxviii+404pp.

Cicero, C. (2004). Barriers to sympatry between avian sibling species (Paridae: Beolophus) in local secondary contact. Evolution 58(7): 1573–1587;

Duckworth, J.W., N.S. Kumar, C.P. Pokheral, H.S. Baral & R.J. Timmins (2013). Rucervus duvaucelli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.Version 2015.2 .downloaded on 10 August 2015.

Finn, F. (1929). Sterndale’s Mammalia of Central India. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, India, vii+347pp.

Forsyth, J. (1889). The Highlands of Central India: Notes on Their Forests and Wild Tribes, Natural History, and Sports. Chapman and Hall, London, xi+475pp.

Gopal, R. (1995). The Biology and Ecology of Hard Ground Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi Pocock, 1943) in Kanha National Park.Kanha National Park, Mandla, India.

Gopal, R. & R. Shukla (2001). Management Plan for Kanha Tiger Reserve (for the period 2001–02 to 2010–11). Office of the Conservator and Field Director, Kanha National Park, Mandla, India, 401pp.

Hijmans, R.J., S.E. Cameron, J.L. Parra, P.G. Jones & A. Jarvis (2005). Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25(15): 1965–1978;

Inglis, J. (1892). Tent Life in Tigerland and Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier. Sampson Low, Marston & Co., London, xxiv+690pp.

IUCN (2014). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013. Accessed on 10 May 2014.

Kotwal, P.C. & A.S. Parihar (1992). Management of hard ground Barasingha in Kanha National Park. Journal of Tropical Forestry 8(2): 160–172.

Low, C.E. (1907). Central Provinces District Gazetteers-Balaghat District. Pioneer Press, Allahabad, India, xx+334pp.

Mac Nally, R. & E. Fleishman (2004). A successful predictive model of species richness based on indicator species. Conservation Biology 18: 646–654;

Martin, C. (1977). Status and ecology of the Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi) in Kanha National Park (India). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 74(1): 60–131.

Nayak, K. (2007). Evaluation of habitat for conserving the hard ground barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi Pocock, 1943) in Kanha National Park. PhD Thesis. Dr. Harisingh Gour Vishwavidhyalay, Sagar University, (M.P.), India.

Negi, H.S. & R. Shukla (2011). Tiger Conservation Plan for the Kanha Tiger Reserve: Sub-Plan - Core Zone (for the period 2011–12 to 2021–22). Kanha National Park, Mandla, India, 376pp.

NRDB (2012). 2012 Natural Resource Database (NRDB) available at Accessed on 09January 2013.

Panwar, H.S. (1977). Decline and restoration success of the central Indian Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi). Proceedings of a working meeting of the Deer Specialist Group of the Survival Service Commission on the IUCN threatened deer programme and a dossier on the planning of restoration programmes for threatened mammals with special reference to deer held at Longview, Washington,USA, 434pp.

Peterson, A.T. (2003). Predicting the geography of species invasions via ecological niche modeling. The Quarterly Review of Biology 78(4): 419–433;

Peterson, A.T., E. Martinez-Meyer & C. Gonzalez-Salazar (2004). Reconstructing the pleistocene geography of the Aphelocoma jays (Corvidae). Diversity and Distributions 10(4): 237–246;

Pocock, R.I. (1939). The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia - Vol. I. Primates and Carnivora (in part), Families Felidae and Viverridae. Taylor & Francis, London, xxxi+463pp.

Prakash, R., K. Nayak, R.K. Pandey, R. Shukla, U. Homkar, S.K. Saini, R. Jain, V. Haldkar, S. Nema, S. Deshmukh, R. Thakre & A.

Koshta (2012). Habitat Viability Analysis for the Proposed Reintroduction Site for the Hard-ground Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi) in the Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, Satpura Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh). Report by State Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur (M.P.), India, vi+146pp.

Qureshi, Q., V.B. Sawarkar, A.R. Rahmani & P.K. Mathur (2004). Swamp Deer or Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli Cuvier, 1823). ENVIS Bulletin 7: 181–192.

Schaaf, C.D. (1978). Population size andstructure and habitat relations of the Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli duvauceli) in Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. PhD Thesis. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich, USA, 123pp.

Schaller, G.B. (1967).The Deer and The Tiger. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, London, xvi+370pp.

Scotts, D., G.R. Fulton & M. Drielsma (2002). Developing landscape frameworks for regional conservation planning: an approach integrating fauna spatial distributions and ecological principles. Pacific Conservation Biology 8(4): 235–254;

Singh, V.P. (1982). Bioecological studies on Cervus duvauceli duvauceli, Swamp Deer Barasingha in Dudwaforest near Indo-Nepal border. PhD Thesis. D.A.V. College, Kanpur University, India, 182pp.

Skov, F. & J.C. Svenning (2004). Potential impact of climatic change on the distribution of forest herbs in Europe. Ecography 27(3): 366–380;

Sterndale, R.A. (1884). Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon. Thacker, Spink& Co., Calcutta, xxxii+540pp.

Stockwell, D. & D. Peters (1999). The GARP modelling system: problems and solutions to automated spatial prediction. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 13(2): 143–158;