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Thano Reserve Forest - A Dehradun Gem Facing Challenges

Thano Reserve Forest – A Dehradun Gem Facing Challenges

Nestled amidst the verdant embrace of the lower Himalayas, the Thano Reserve Forest serves as the vital green lung of Dehradun, Uttarakhand. This haven of Sal (Shorea robusta) trees boasts a rich tapestry of flora and fauna, offering a haven for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and anyone seeking a respite from the urban bustle. However, beneath its idyllic facade lies a story of resilience in the face of potential threats.

A Paradise for Nature Lovers

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

Thano’s undulating landscape paints a picture of serenity. Dense Sal forests give way to open expanses dotted with farmlands, creating a unique ecological mosaic. The birdlife here is a symphony of colors and calls. From the vibrant Black-Headed Oriole and Maroon Oriole to the elusive Indian Pitta and Red-Collared Dove, birdwatchers can rejoice in the sheer diversity. The gentle murmur of the Ganges River adds another layer of tranquility to the atmosphere.

Beyond the Airstrip: Exploring Thano’s Biodiversity

Thano’s charm extends beyond its scenic beauty. The forest acts as a crucial habitat for a variety of mammals, reptiles, and insects. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of shy creatures like barking deer, jackals, and even the occasional leopard. The undergrowth teems with insect life, a testament to the forest’s healthy ecosystem.

Thano’s Role in Dehradun’s Ecosystem

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

The significance of Thano Reserve Forest goes far beyond its recreational value. The forest acts as a natural filter, purifying Dehradun’s air and mitigating the effects of pollution. It regulates the local climate, preventing extreme weather events. Additionally, the forest helps to control soil erosion and maintain the water table, ensuring a steady supply of fresh water for the city.

A Fight for Survival: The Thano Reserve Forest Controversy

Unfortunately, Thano’s future is not without its challenges. In 2020, there were proposals to divert a portion of the forest land for the expansion of Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport. This sparked widespread public outcry, with environmentalists and residents highlighting the detrimental impact such a move would have on the city’s ecological balance. The campaign, under the banner #SaveThano, gained significant momentum, raising awareness about the importance of preserving this natural treasure.

The Road Ahead: Balancing Development and Conservation

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

The Thano controversy underlines the delicate balance between development and conservation. While infrastructure projects are essential for progress, they cannot come at the expense of our vital ecosystems. Sustainable development plans that prioritize both economic growth and environmental protection are the way forward. Initiatives like eco-tourism and responsible forestry practices can contribute to the economic well-being of local communities while safeguarding the forest.

Exploring Thano: A Responsible Tourist’s Guide

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

If you’re planning a visit to Thano, remember to be a responsible tourist. Here are some tips to ensure your visit is enjoyable and sustainable:

  • Leave no trace: Pack out all your trash and avoid littering.
  • Stay on designated trails: Avoid venturing off the beaten path to minimize disturbance to wildlife and vegetation.
  • Respect wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from animals and refrain from feeding them.
  • Minimize noise pollution: Keep your voices low and avoid loud music.
  • Support local communities: Consider staying at eco-friendly accommodations and patronizing local businesses.

Thano Reserve Forest: A Symbol of Hope

Thano stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of nature and the power of community action. The fight to save this precious forest serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility toward preserving our natural heritage. By working together, we can ensure that Thano continues to thrive, providing a sanctuary for wildlife and a breath of fresh air for generations to come.

A Birdwatcher’s Paradise:

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

Thano’s diverse ecosystem makes it a haven for birdwatchers. With over 150 recorded bird species, the forest boasts a vibrant avian community. Here are some highlights:

  • Early mornings: Target raptors like the Oriental Honey Buzzard soaring through the open forest.
  • Dense Sal groves: Search for elusive skulkers like the Indian Pitta with its vibrant plumage.
  • Open farmlands: Spot common birds like the Red-Collared Dove and the Black Drongo.

Beyond Birding: Activities for Nature Enthusiasts

While birding might be the star attraction, Thano offers a range of activities for nature lovers:

  • Nature Walks: Embark on guided walks led by local experts who can share their knowledge about the forest’s flora and fauna.
  • Photography: Capture the stunning scenery, from the majestic Sal trees to the colorful birds.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for mammals like barking deer, wild boars, and even the occasional leopard. Remember, responsible wildlife watching involves maintaining a safe distance and avoiding disturbing animals.
  • Forest Bathing: Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the forest by practicing Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese wellness practice that involves connecting with nature through your senses.

Hidden Gems of Thano Reserve Forest

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

Thano holds more than meets the eye. Here are some hidden gems waiting to be discovered:

  • Eco Park Thano: This park offers a picnic area, nature trails, and a serene environment perfect for families.
  • Thano Jungle Retreat: This eco-friendly accommodation provides a chance to experience Thano from the heart of the forest.
  • Hidden Waterfalls: With some exploration, you might stumble upon hidden waterfalls cascading through the forest, offering a refreshing escape during the hot summer months.

Important Considerations for a Safe and Sustainable Visit

Thano Reserve Forest
Thano Reserve Forest

While enjoying Thano’s beauty, remember to prioritize safety and sustainability:

  • Respect the Wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding them. Animals can be unpredictable, and altering their natural behavior can have negative consequences.
  • Mind the Trails: Stay on designated trails to minimize disturbance to the forest ecosystem and avoid getting lost.
  • Minimize Waste: Pack out all your trash and avoid littering. Leave no trace behind so future visitors can enjoy the pristine beauty of Thano.
  • Responsible Photography: Use eco-friendly practices like avoiding flash photography near nesting birds.
  • Local Guides: Consider hiring local guides who can provide valuable insights into the forest’s ecology and culture.

Nearby Places to Explore from Thano Reserve Forest 

Besides Thano Reserve Forest, here are some other places you can explore near Dehradun:

Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park
  1. Mussoorie: Often referred to as the Queen of Hills, Mussoorie is a hill station located 35 km away from Dehradun. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its scenic beauty, pleasant weather, and colonial architecture.
  2. Rishikesh: “The Yoga Capital of the World,” Rishikesh is 47 km from Dehradun and is famous for its spiritual significance and adventure activities.
  3. Haridwar: A holy town located 55 km from Dehradun, Haridwar is a major Hindu pilgrimage site. Here, you can witness the evening Ganga Aarti, a spectacular display of lights and chants along the Ganges River.
  4. Rajaji National Park: This national park is home to various wildlife species, including elephants, tigers, and leopards. It’s a great place for wildlife enthusiasts and offers activities like elephant rides and jeep safaris in Rajaji National Park.
  5. Robber’s Cave: This natural limestone cave formation is located 8 km from Dehradun. It’s a popular spot for picnics and trekking.


Thano Reserve Forest is not just a beautiful landscape; it’s a vital ecological asset and a symbol of Dehradun’s natural heritage. By understanding its importance, engaging in responsible tourism practices, and advocating for its conservation, we can ensure that Thano continues to thrive for generations to come. Let’s make Thano a shining example of how humans and nature can coexist in harmony.

This concludes our exploration of Thano Reserve Forest. Remember, responsible tourism and active participation in conservation efforts are crucial for safeguarding this precious ecological treasure.

FAQs About Thano Reserve Forest 

What’s Thano Reserve Forest known for?

Thano is a haven for nature lovers, with its dense Sal forests, rich birdlife (over 150 species!), and diverse wildlife. It also acts as Dehradun’s “green lung,” purifying air and regulating climate.

Why is Thano facing challenges?

Proposals to expand Dehradun’s airport on Thano land sparked concerns about environmental damage. The #SaveThano campaign highlights the importance of balancing development with conservation.

What are some activities I can do at Thano?

Thano offers birdwatching, nature walks, wildlife photography, and forest bathing. You can also visit Eco Park Thano for picnics and nature trails.

How can I be a responsible visitor to Thano?

Stay on designated trails, pack out your trash, maintain a safe distance from wildlife, avoid disturbing them, and consider eco-friendly photography practices.

Where can I learn more about Thano?

Check the Uttarakhand Forest Department website, the RoundGlass Sustain – Save Thano Campaign website, or the Eco Park Thano Facebook page for details and resources.

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