Ecology of the Swampy Relic Forests of Kathalekan from Central Western Ghats, India

M. D. Subash Chandran, G. R. Rao, Gururaja K V, RAMACHANDRA T V

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction of agriculture three millennia ago in Peninsular India’s Western Ghats altered substantially ancient tropical forests. Early agricultural communities, nevertheless, strived to attain symbiotic harmony with nature as evident from prevalence of numerous sacred groves, patches of primeval forests sheltering biodiversity and hydrology. Groves enhanced heterogeneity of landscapes involving elements of successional forests and savannas favouring rich wildlife. A 2.25 km2 area of relic forest was studied at Kathalekan in Central Western Ghats. Interspersed with streams studded with Myristica swamps and blended sparingly with shifting cultivation fallows, Kathalekan is a prominent northernmost relic of southern Western Ghat vegetation. Trees like Syzygium travancoricum (Critically Endangered), Myristica magnifica (Endangered) and Gymnacranthera canarica (Vulnerable) and recently reported Semecarpus kathalekanensis, are exclusive to stream/swamp forest (SSF). SSF and non-stream/swamp forest (NSSF) were studied using 18 transects covering 3.6 ha. Dipterocarpaceae, its members seldom transgressing tropical rain forests, dominate SSF (21% of trees) and NSSF (27%). The ancient Myristicaceae ranks high in tree population (19% in SSF and 8% in NSSF). Shannon-Weiner diversity for trees is higher (>3) in six NSSF transects compared to SSF (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalBioremediation, Biodiversity and Bioavailability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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