Melghat was declared a Tiger Reserve and was among the first nine Tiger Reserves notified in 1973-74 under the Project Tiger. It is located at 21°26′45″N 77°11′50″ECoordinates: 21°26′45″N 77°11′50″E in northern part of Amravati District of Maharashtra State in India. The Tapti Riverand the Gawilgadh ridge of the Satpura Range form the boundaries of the Reserve. In 1985 Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary was created The Tapi river flows through the northern end of the Melghat Tiger Reserve, through a forest which lies within the catchment area of the river system. Many different kinds of wildlife, both flora and fauna, are found here.
Gugamal National Park, which forms the core area of the Reserve, has an area of 361.28 km2. carved out in 1987.
There are passes in Melghat that invaders from the north traversed to reach Berar, where the Imad Shahi dynasty had been founded in 1484. The historic forts, Narnala andGawilgarh, guarded the main east-west ridge. In 1803, in the Second Maratha War, Colonel Arthur Wellesley, who later became the Duke of Wellington, captured the Gawilgarh fort from the Marathas.
There are 61 villages in the Reserve, all outside the core area. 22 are in the buffer zone and 39 in the Multiple Use Area (MUA). Human population in the buffer zone and MUA is 11024 and 15642, respectively, as per 1994 census.
The inhabitants are mainly tribal, largely of the Korku tribe (80 per cent) and others like Gond, Nihal, Balai, Gaolan, Gawali, Halbi, Wanjari, etc. All inhabitants depend on the forest for bonafide domestic needs of firewood, timber, fodder, medicinal plants, and non-timber forest products like fruit, flowers, gum and medicinal plants. Their main source of income is from labor and rainy season agriculture. They augment their income by collecting non-timber forest products like Mahuali, flowers, seeds, charoli, gumcula, dhawada, tendu-leaves, and Musali (a medicinal plant).