Context: Scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology have come up with plant data of the Northern Western Ghats.
Findings of Study:
- The plateaus, in addition to the forests, should be prioritized for conservation of the Northern Western Ghats.
- A notable geographical feature of the Northern Western Ghats is the presence of plateaus and cliffs that display maximum endemic species, unlike forests.
- Forests of the Northern Western Ghats harbour many species which are not endemic.
- They updated the checklist of 181 local endemic plant species, including four monospecific genera.
- They have found that a majority of the endemic species are therophytes, which complete their life cycle in a short period during monsoon.
- The Northern Western Ghats is the region of rapid diversification of specific herbaceous endemic genera like Ceropegia, Glyphochloa, Dipcadi, and Eriocaulon.
The team firmly believes that the published data can be used as a proxy for conservation planning and effective protection measures of the Northern Western Ghats.
- Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere.
- A particular type of animal or plant may be endemic to a zone, a state or a country. The extreme opposite of endemism is cosmopolitan distribution.
- The Western Ghats, also known as Sahyadri (Benevolent Mountains), are a mountain range that covers an area of 140,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula.
- It traverses the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world.
- It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India.
- Escarpment is a long, steep slope, especially one at the edge of a plateau or separating areas of land at different heights.
- The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea.
- It contains a large proportion of the country's flora and fauna, many of which are only found in India and nowhere else in the world.
- According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas.
- They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.
- The range starts near the Songadh town of Gujarat, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) and ends at Marunthuvazh Malai, at Swamithope, near the southern tip of India.
- Highest Peak - Anamudi in Kerala and average elevation of ghats is around 1200m.
- They are continuous in nature unlike Eastren Ghats.
- The northern part of this biodiversity hotspot, along with the Konkan region, is considerably different from its southern and central counterparts on account of lesser precipitation and extended dry season.
Image Source:Worldwide Fund nature