The Western Ghats – Some Facts – Dr. K. Parameswaran

The Western Ghats, is a mountain range that runs along the western side of India.

  • It runs, about 1600 kms, North to South, along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau.
  • It is one of the eight hottest hotspots of biological diversity in the world.
  • It originates near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, finally ending at Kanyakumari.
  • These hills cover a total area of 160,000 square kms.
  • The average elevation is about 1,200 m (3,900 ft).
  • The region is home to over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species.
  • It is also reported that the Western Ghats is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.
  • There are numerous protected areas designated by the Government of India in the Western Ghats. They include two bio reserves and thirteen National Parks.
  • The Nilagiri Biosphere Reserve that comprises 5500 square kms of evergreen and deciduous forests forms an important part of the Western Ghats.
  • The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, which forms part of the Western Ghats, is one among the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
  • In August, 2011, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) designated the entire Western Ghats as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA). The panel also assigned three levels of ecological sensitivity to its different regions.
  • In 2012, thirty nine places in the Western Ghats region have been declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

(PIB Features.)

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