|Written by Mohan Raj K.|
India has a unique combination of living species, habitats and ecosystems, which together makes it a diversity rich country in the world. The Indian region with varied bio-climatic zones, altitudinal zones, edaphic condition and other accompanying micro-climatic conditions nurture rich and diverse flora which in turn have bestowed upon it the distinction of being the sixth among the 12-mega biodiversity zones of the world. India is recognized as a country rich in all aspects of biodiversity, ecosystem, species and genetics. India harbours two mega-biodiversity regions the North Eastern hill regions and the Western Ghats. India, while following the path of development, has been sensitive to the needs of conservation. India’s strategies for conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity in the past have comprised of providing special status and protection to biodiversity rich areas by declaring them as national parks, biosphere reserves, sanctuaries, ecological fragile and sensitive areas. One such area is the Western Ghats, which runs parallel to the west coast of India.
The Western Ghats (மேற்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலை), the mountain range that runs along with the west coast of India, from the Vindhya-Satpura ranges in the north to the Kanyakumari, the southern tip of peninsular India. The Western Ghats covers in six states namely Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu. Biogeographically, the hill chain of the Western Ghats constitutes the Malabar province of the Oriental realm, running parallel to the west coast of India from 8° N to 21° N latitudes, 73° E to 77° E longitudes for around 1600 km. Rising up from a relatively narrow strip of coast at its western border, the hills reach up to a height of 2800 m before they merge to the east with the Deccan plateau at an altitude of 500-600 m. The average width of this mountain range is about 100 km. Anamudi is the highest peak in South India at 2,695 metres (8,842 ft).
The Western Ghats (known as Sahyadri ranges in Sanskrit) has to its credit a wide range of species diversity, 4500 plant species out of which 35 percent are endemic. Levels of endemism in this area are high – nearly 2000 species of higher plants, 84 species of fishes, 87 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles, 15 species of birds and 12 species of mammals are endemic to the Western Ghats (Daniel, 1997). This bioregion is highly species rich and under constant threat due to human pressure and has within it many hotspot (region recognised to hold diverse life forms which requires conservation) regions like the forests of Mahabaleshwar, hills of Coimbatore, Palanis, Tirunelveli, Nilgiris, places like Nagarahole, Silent Valley, Agastiyar hills etc. These are some of the places that harbour rich diversity of endangered species both in the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Many of the plant and animal species known to be from the Western Ghats that are categorized by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources) as endangered and vulnerable. Hence, we are in an urgent need for the conservation of these species before they vanish.
Western Ghats has a wide range of vegetation and topographical features. The ecosystems of the Western Ghats vary from the tropical wet evergreen forests, the montane evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, the scrub forests, montane grassland, and high-elevation Shola forests. The western ghats is also known as water tank of Southern India. Many south indian rivers originate from western ghats and irrigate the deccan plateau and provide drinking water for people of the plains. There are also as many as 50 major dams are there in western ghats providing water for hydro power stations, agricultural and drinking water needs. Notable among them are the Kundah and Pykara power projects in Nilgiris.
List of Major Protected Wildlife Areas in Western Ghats
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
Leopard (Panthera pardus) is the most adaptable big cat of the Indian subcontinent.
இயற்கை காக்கும் எமது பணிகளில் நீங்களும் பங்கேற்கலாம்