The woody flora of Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India - A checklist

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Naveen Babu Kanda
Kurian Ayushi
Vincy K. Wilson
Narayanan Ayyappan
Narayanaswamy Parthasarathy


Documenting the biodiversity of protected areas and reserve forests is important to researchers, academicians and forest departments in their efforts to establish policies to protect regional biodiversity. Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) is an important protected area located in the central Western Ghats of Karnataka state known for its diverse flora and fauna with distinct ecological features. For the last four decades the sanctuary has witnessed the loss of forest cover, yet the vegetation in few locations is relatively undisturbed. The current inventory was undertaken during 2019–2020 to provide a checklist of woody species from SWS under-researched earlier. The list comprises 269 species of trees, lianas and shrubs distributed in 207 genera and 68 families. The most diverse families are Fabaceae, Moraceae, Rubiaceae, Rutaceae, Lauraceae, Apocynaceae, Meliaceae, Malvaceae, Phyllanthaceae, and Anacardiaceae, representing 48% of total woody flora. The sanctuary shelters 263 native and six exotic plant species. Thirty-nine species were endemic to the Western Ghats, five species to peninsular India and one species to the Western Ghats and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Four forest types, i.e., dry deciduous, moist deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen forests, are represented in the sanctuary. Of the total species, only seven occurred in all forest types, while 111 species are exclusive to a single forest type. One-hundred-and-four taxa were assessed for the International Union for Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List. Ten species that fall under Near Threatened, Vulnerable, and Endangered categories were encountered occasionally. The baseline data generated on plant diversity will be useful in highlighting the importance of these forests for species conservation and forest management. Such data form a cornerstone for further research. For instance, to understand the effect of invasive species and human impacts on the diversity of the region. 

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