South Western Ghats montane rain forests

South Western Ghats Montane Rain Forests

South Western Ghats montane rain forests

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Description:
The South Western Ghats montane rain forests are an ecoregion of southern India, covering the southern portion of the Western Ghats range in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, at elevations over 1000 meters. They are cooler and wetter than the lower-elevation South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, which surround the montane rain forests.

Setting

The ecoregion is the most species-rich in peninsular India, and is home to numerous endemic species. It covers an area of 22,600 square kilometers (8,700 square miles). It is estimated that two-thirds of the original forests have been cleared, and only 3,200 square kilometers, or 15% of the intact area, is protected.

The southern portion of the Western Ghats contains the highest peaks in the range, notably Anai Mudi in Kerala, at 2695 meters elevation. The Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea, and the average annual precipitation exceeds 2,800 mm. The northeast monsoon from October to November supplements the June to September southwest monsoon. The South Western Ghats are the wettest portion of peninsular India, and are surrounded by drier ecoregions to the east and north.

Flora

The cool and moist climate, high rainfall, and variety of microclimates brought about by differences in elevation and exposure supports lush and diverse forests; 35% of the plant species are endemic to the ecoregion. Moist evergreen montane forests are the predominant habitat type. The montane evergreen...
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