Assessing the Status and Distribution of Endemic and Threatened Trees of the Western Ghats

22 Mar 2012 Western Ghats, India, Indian Sub-continent Forests | Plants

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The aim of the project is to evaluate and assess the status of endemic and threatened tree species of Western Ghats using data generated from comprehensive field surveys. This information will contribute to a database on distribution and status of these species along with a pictorial field guide to some of these poorly known species.

Dysoxylum malabaricum.

Dysoxylum malabaricum.

Out of the 650 species of trees recorded from the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, more than 53% are endemic. Current information available on status and distribution of these species needs to be revised and updated. My study aims at filling some of these gaps in the literature on distribution and status of endemic and threatened tree species of the Western Ghats. This will be achieved using a three step approach namely:

Knema attenuata.

Knema attenuata.

(i) carrying out comprehensive vegetation sampling throughout the wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to understand the status and distribution of endemic and threatened tree species,

(ii) evaluating the status of these species based on the information collected on distribution, abundance and threats to the species,

(iii) identifying key areas and critical habitats within and outside protected areas, based on principles of species complementarity and uniqueness.

The data from this study will be used to review, assign or upgrade the conservation status of these species, such that these species get the due conservation focus in terms of their inclusion in the Wildlife Protection Act of India and priority lists of other international conservation organizations such as the IUCN. The final part of my study will be dissemination of information to key stakeholders and forest department officials. This will be achieved by producing a pictorial field guide including several endemic and threatened tree species of the Western Ghats.