The Aarey forest is a green stretch of deciduous forest adjacent to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Once a sprawling expanse of greenery, it was divided up into grasslands, scrublands and marshlands when part of the land was given to the Aarey Dairy Co-operative in 1949.
Mumbai’s Green Lung
It is considered the last green lung of the bustling city of Mumbai – which is now overrun with buildings and cars. Aarey Forest is home to a variety of different species of mammals (including the majestic leopard), birds like the Hoopoe, Indian Roller and Grey Hornbill, and snakes which include the checkered keelback watersnake which is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act as a Schedule II creature.
Species and Habitats
The forest boasts an amazing variety of flora as well, with an impressive 0.4 million trees. This figure doesn’t include the many different varieties of shrubs, wildflowers and grasslands. Species which were previously considered extinct have been rediscovered in the Aarey Forest including the Trapdoor Spider and Tarantula.
A hub of diverse micro-habitats, this green expanse plays a large role in maintaining the ecologic balance of Mumbai.