Forest evergreenness and tree endemism in the central Western Ghats, southern India

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Divakar K. Mesta
Ganesh R. Hegde


Forests of the Western---- Ghats are well known for their evergreenness and high endemism.  The present study carried out in the Sharavathi River Basin in the central Western Ghats of India is to find the relationship between forest evergreenness and tree endemism.  The study was carried out from 2000 to 2006 and the methodology followed is a combination of transect and quadrat method nested with smaller quadrats for shrub layer and herb layer.  A total of 51 endemic tree species belonging to 20 families were recorded.  The results reveal that the composition of endemic tree population is closely associated with the evergreenness of the forest.  With the increase in evergreenness, endemism also increased and almost all the endemic trees of the region occurred in very high evergreen class.  Many of them were exclusively found in very high evergreen forests and ground layer data support this observation.  Such narrow distribution of endemics makes them most vulnerable to extinction.  The present study will be helpful in understanding the association of endemic trees with evergreenness of forest and will be useful in conservation as well as restoration of these endemic trees in their natural habitats.


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Author Biographies

Divakar K. Mesta, Postgraduate Department of Studies in Botany, Karnatak University, Pavate Nagar, Dharwad, Karnataka 580003, India Present address: Department of Botany, Carmel College of Arts, Science and Commerce for Women, Nuvem, Salcete, Goa 403001, India

Dr. Divakar K. Mesta holds a PhD from Karnatak University, Dharwad and has several years of forest field experience in the central Western Ghats. His major field of interests are field taxonomy, evergreen forest ecology, endemic plants and Myristica swamps and presently works as a Assistant Professor in Botany. 

Ganesh R. Hegde, Postgraduate Department of Studies in Botany, Karnatak University, Pavate Nagar, Dharwad, Karnataka 580003, India

Dr. Ganesh R. Hegde, Professor of Botany Kranatak University, Dharwad is actively engaged with ecology and plant diversity studies. He has guided research works pertaining to taxonomy of angiosperms of Dharwad District, Kumta Taluka of Uttara Kannada District and Hillocks of neighbouring Dharwad District. He has several new records of angiosperm plants from Karnataka to his credit.


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