Banni Grasslands Reserve
Banni Grasslands Reserve or Banni grasslands form a belt of arid grassland ecosystem on the outer southern edge of the desert of the marshy salt flats of Rann of Kutch in Kutch District, Gujarat State, India. They are known for rich wildlife and biodiversity and are spread across an area of 3,847 square kilometres. They are currently legally protected under the status as a protected or reserve forest in India. Though declared a protected forest more than half a century ago Gujarat state’s forest department has recently proposed a special plan to restore and manage this ecosystem in the most efficient way. Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India and a possible reintroduction site for the species.
The Gujarat State government is developing Chari-Dhand Wetland Conservation Reserve, along with the surrounding areas in and around the Banni grasslands in the district of Kutch, for ecotourism.
To boost tourism in the area a few of the local villages in Banni are being developed as village resorts, showcasing local arts, crafts, ancient architecture of Kutch and traditional Kutchi cuisine; these mini resorts are being run by the villagers themselves in collaboration with the formal tourism infrastructure. A 270 km stretch has also been specially created in the grasslands of the Banni for the Adani Desert Car Rally organised by Kutch Infrastructure Development Society.