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Forest, Grassland, and Desert

Ecosystems
BBA-ES-I
Western Ghats
• Western Ghats (also known as Sahyadri,
meaning The Benevolent Mountains) is a
mountain range that runs parallel to the
western coast of the Indian peninsula, located
entirely in India.
• It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one
of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological
diversity in the world. It is sometimes called
the Great Escarpment of India.
Escarpment 
• An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that forms as
an effect of faulting or erosion and separates two
relatively level areas of differing elevations.
Usually escarpment is used interchangeably
with scarp (from the Italian scarpa, shoe).
• But some sources differentiate the two terms,
where escarpment refers to the margin between two
landforms, while scarp is synonymous with a cliff or steep
slope. The surface of the steep slope is called a scarp face.
• This (escarpment) is a ridge which has a gentle(dip) slope
on one side and a steep (scarp) slope on the other side.
Tropical Rain Forests
• Tropical rain forests occur in areas of tropical rain forest climate in
which there is no dry season – all months have an average 
precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to
as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest.
• True rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and
south of the equator (see map); they are a sub-set of the 
tropical forest biome that occurs roughly within the 28 degree
latitudes (in the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and 
Tropic of Capricorn).
• Within the World Wildlife Fund's biome classification, tropical
rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest (or tropical
wet forest) that also includes the more extensive 
tropical seasonal forests.[3]
Tropical Rain Forests
• Tropical rainforests can be characterized in two words: hot and wet. Mean monthly
temperatures exceed 18 °C (64 °F) during all months of the year. Average annual
rainfall is no less than 1,680 mm (66 in) and can exceed 10 m (390 in) although it
typically lies between 1,750 mm (69 in) and 3,000 mm (120 in). This high level of
precipitation often results in poor soils due to leaching of soluble nutrients in the
ground.
• Tropical rainforests exhibit high levels of biodiversity. Around 40% to 75% of all biotic 
species are indigenous to the rainforests. Rainforests are home to half of all the living
animal and plant species on the planet. Two-thirds of all flowering plants can be
found in rainforests. A single hectare of rainforest may contain 42,000 different
species of insect, up to 807 trees of 313 species and 1,500 species of higher plants. 
• Tropical rainforests have been called the "world's largest pharmacy", because over
one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered within them. It is likely that
there may be many millions of species of plants, insects and microorganisms still
undiscovered in tropical rainforests.
Tropical Rain Forests
• Tropical rainforests are among the most threatened ecosystems
globally due to large-scale fragmentation as a result of human
activity. Habitat fragmentation caused by geological processes
such as volcanism and climate change occurred in the past, and
have been identified as important drivers of speciation.
•  However, fast human driven habitat destruction is suspected to
be one of the major causes of species extinction. Tropical rain
forests have been subjected to heavy logging and 
agricultural clearance throughout the 20th century, and the
area covered by rainforests around the world is rapidly
shrinking.
Tropical Rain Forests
Amazon river forest in Peru
Western lowland gorilla
Rain forests
• A jungle is a densely overgrown area while a rain forest is a
densely overgrown area with overhead canopies formed by
tall trees that prevent light from entering. A rain forest is a
type of jungle.
• Since rain forests have canopies that limit the amount of
light, there are relatively few plants on the forest floor. If
the rain forest canopy is destroyed, more light reaches the
forest floor, causing increased plant growth.
• Some plants that grow include vines, shrubs and other
plants that require significant light to grow. The increased
plant growth causes the rain forest to turn into a jungle.
Rain forests
• The primary producers of the temperate rain
forest are the plants that use chlorophyll to
create food for their growth and also for
animals, explains World Builders.
•  Green mosses and small plants cover the
ground layer of a rain forest.
Temperate Forests-National Park USA
Temperate Forests-National Park USA
Vermont, New England,USA
Coniferous forest
• Coniferous forest is generally found in the far north with a vast
area of coniferous forest being found deep within the Arctic
Circle. Coniferous forests are predominantly made up of conifers
which are the toughest and longest living trees in the world.
• Conifers grow relatively close together producing dense and
sheltered forest. There are two real types of coniferous forest,
which are the boreal forests that stretch across the far north, and
more temperate forests which are found in New Zealand, Chile
 and western North America.
• Some of the trees in the temperate coniferous forests of North
America can grow to be 75 metres tall and are more than 500
years old.
Coniferous forest
• The boreal coniferous forests stretch in an almost unbroken band across the far
north from Siberia, throughout Northern Europe, to Alaska. This coniferous
forest covers a distance of 6 million square miles and can be 1,000 miles wide in
places. A large proportion of boreal coniferous forest stands within the Arctic
Circle, meaning that plants and animals that live there have be well adapted to
the bitterly cold winters.
• Although life is not as rich in coniferous forests as it is in temperate forests or 
rainforests, there are a number of species that thrive within them. Coniferous
forests are made up of conifer trees which have needle shaped leaves and grow
very close to one another. Although conifers are excellent at withstanding the
cold, the pine needles are acidic and this is passed into the soil when the pine
needles fall to the ground. This means that only plants that can grow in acidic
conditions will survive in coniferous forests.
Coniferous Forests
Coniferous Forests
• The plants that grow within a habitat affect the herbivores that live there
meaning that only herbivores that can survive on plants that are so acidic,
can inhabit coniferous forests.
• Coniferous forests are mainly home to insects, who build their nests in the
dense trees. Deer and elk can often be found in coniferous forests as they
browse on the berries that grow on the low-laying shrubs. Large predators
 such as bears and wolves can also be found in coniferous forests where
they hunt for prey, such as large herbivores.
• Out of all of the forest types, coniferous forests are thought to have been
the least affected by humans and deforestation. This is thought to be
because the trees that grow within coniferous forests are softwood trees
and so are only really used in the production of paper. However, as demand
for paper increases around the world, larger areas of coniferous forests are
being cut down.
Tundras
• Tundra is a specific type of biome, or world habitat, and it is characterized by freezing
temperatures and treeless landscapes. The arctic tundra is located between the
North Pole and the taiga region, and it remains frozen throughout the entire year.
• Vegetation in the arctic tundra must be able to survive months of continuous darkness
in the winter and grow only for brief periods of time when the sun comes out in the
summer. For this reason, plants in the arctic tundra are generally short. Small shrubs
and grasses are common, as are lichens, mosses and perennial ferns. These have
shallow roots, since they are unable to drive deep roots through the hard, frozen soil.
• The alpine tundra is found throughout the world at high elevations. Examples of alpine
tundra are the tops of the Himalayan Mountains in Southern Asia and the Andes
Mountains in South America.
• Because these areas do not experience the same weeks-long darkness as arctic tundra
regions, vegetation does not have to be quite as hardy. Short shrubs and grasses are
still the main types of vegetation, but a wider variety of species are able to survive
these harsh conditions.
Tundra
Tundra
• Tundra vegetation is the plants that grow in
regions with extremely cold temperatures
year-round. There are two main types of
tundra, the arctic and alpine tundra. These
two tundras are home to similar types of small
shrubs, grasses and mosses
Grasslands
• Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated
by grasses (Poaceae), however sedge (Cyperaceae) and
rush (Juncaceae) families can also be found.
• Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except 
Antarctica. Grasslands are found in most ecoregions of
the Earth. For example, there are five terrestrial
ecoregion classifications (subdivisions) of the 
temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome (
ecosystem), which is one of eight terrestrial ecozones of
the Earth's surface.
Grassland in Magallanes Region, Patagonia,
Chile
A grassland in the Philippines.
An Inner Mongolian grassland in the 
People's Republic of China.
Vegetation

• Grassland vegetation can vary in height from very short, as in 


chalk grassland, to quite tall, as in the case of North American 
tallgrass prairie, South American grasslands and African savanna.
• The Konza tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas
.
• Woody plants, shrubs or trees, may occur on some grasslands –
forming savannas, scrubby grassland or semi-wooded grassland,
such as the African savannas or the Iberiandehesa.[1]
• As flowering plants and trees, grasses grow in great
concentrations in climates where annual rainfall ranges between
500 and 900 mm (20 and 35 in).[2] The root systems of perennial
grasses and forbs form complex mats that hold the soil in place.
Evolution

• Graminoids are among the most versatile life forms. They became


widespread toward the end of the Cretaceous period, and
fossilized dinosaur feces (coprolites) have been found containing 
phytoliths of a variety of grasses that include grasses that are
related to modern rice and bamboo.[3]
• The appearance of mountains in the western United States during
the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, a period of some 25 million
years, created a continental climate favorable to the evolution of
grasslands. Existing forest biomes declined, and grasslands became
much more widespread. Following the Pleistocene ice ages,
grasslands expanded in range in the hotter, drier climates, and
began to become the dominant land feature worldwide. [1]
Climates

• Grasslands often occur in areas with annual precipitation


between 600 mm (24 in) and 1,500 mm (59 in) and average
mean annual temperatures ranges from −5 and 20 °C
(Woodward et al. 2004). However, some grasslands occur in
colder (−20 °C) and hotter (30 °C) climatic conditions. 
• Grassland can exist in habitats that are frequently disturbed by
grazing or fire, as such disturbance prevents the encroachment
of woody species. Species richness is particularly high in
grasslands of low soil fertility such as serpentine barrens and 
calcareous grasslands, where woody encroachment is
prevented as low nutrient levels in the soil may inhibit the
growth of forest and shrub species.
Biodiversity and conservation

• Grasslands dominated by unsown wild-plant communities ("unimproved grasslands") can be called either
natural or "semi-natural" habitats. The majority of grasslands in temperate climates are "semi-natural".
Although their plant communities are natural, their maintenance depends upon anthropogenic activities
such as low-intensity farming, which maintains these grasslands through grazing and cutting regimes.
• These grasslands contain many species of wild plants, including grasses, sedges, rushes and herbs; 25 or
more species per square meter is not unusual.[citation needed] Chalk downlands in England can support over 40
species per square meter. In many parts of the world, few examples have escaped agricultural
improvement (fertilising, weed killing, ploughing or re-seeding). For example, original North American
prairie grasslands or lowland wildflower meadows in the UK are now rare and their associated wild flora
equally threatened. Associated with the wild-plant diversity of the "unimproved" grasslands is usually a
rich invertebrate fauna; there are also many species of birds that are grassland "specialists", such as the 
snipe and the great bustard.
• Agriculturally improved grasslands, which dominate modern intensive agricultural landscapes, are usually
poor in wild plant species due to the original diversity of plants having been destroyed by cultivation, the
original wild-plant communities having been replaced by sown monocultures of cultivated varieties of
grasses and clovers, such as perennial ryegrass and white clover. In many parts of the world "unimproved"
grasslands are one of the most threatened types of habitat, and a target for acquisition by wildlife
conservation groups or for special grants to landowners who are encouraged to manage them
appropriately.
Human impact and economic importance

• Grassland vegetation often remains dominant in a particular area usually due to grazing, cutting, or
natural or manmade fires, all discouraging colonisation by and survival of tree and shrub seedlings.
Some of the world's largest expanses of grassland are found in African savanna, and these are
maintained by wild herbivores as well as by nomadic pastoralists and their cattle, sheep or goats.
• Grasslands may occur naturally or as the result of human activity. Grasslands created and maintained
by human activity are called anthropogenic grasslands. Hunting peoples around the world often set
regular fires to maintain and extend grasslands, and prevent fire-intolerant trees and shrubs from
taking hold.
• The tallgrass prairies in the U.S. Midwest may have been extended eastward into Illinois, Indiana, and 
Ohio by human agency. Much grassland in northwest Europe developed after the Neolithic Period,
when people gradually cleared the forest to create areas for raising their livestock.
• The professional study of grasslands falls under the category of rangeland management, which
focuses on ecosystem services associated with the grass-dominated arid and semi-arid rangelands of
the world. Rangelands account for an estimated 70% of the earth's landmass; thus, many cultures
including those of the United States are indebted to the economics that the world's grasslands have
to offer, from producing grazing animals, tourism, ecosystems services such as clean water and air,
and energy extraction.
Grassland in the Antelope Valley, California.
• Savanna, steppe, prairie or pampas: They're
all grasslands, the globe's most agriculturally
useful habitats.
Dawn illuminates Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota. As many as 60 million bison once grazed these lands. Today
only about 200,000 remain.
 
GL
• GL go by many names. In the U.S. Midwest, they're known as 
prairies. In South America, they're called pampas. Central Eurasian
grasslands are referred to as steppes, while in Africa they're named 
savannas. What they all have in common is grass as their naturally
dominant vegetation. Grasslands are found where there is not
enough regular rainfall to support the growth of a forest, but not
so little as to form a desert.
• In fact, most grasslands are located between forests and deserts.
About one quarter of the Earth's land is covered with grasslands,
but many of these lands have been turned into farms. Grasslands
are generally open and fairly flat, and they exist on every continent
except Antarctica. Most lie in the drier portions of a continent's
interior.
TYPES OF GRASSLANDS

• There are two different kinds of grasslands: tropical and temperate.


Grasslands in the southern hemisphere tend to get more precipitation
than those in the northern hemisphere. Some grasses grow more than
7 feet (2 meters), and have roots extending several feet into the soil.
• Tropical grasslands are warm year round, but usually have a dry and a
rainy season. One such tropical grassland, the African savanna, is
home to some of the world’s most recognizable species, including
elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, lions, hyenas, and warthogs.
• Temperate grasslands, which average between 10 and 30 inches (25
and 75 centimeters) of rain per year, have shorter grasses, sometimes
just a few millimeters. These areas have two seasons: a growing
season and a dormant season. During the dormant season, no grass
can grow because it is too cold.
ANIMALS OF THE GRASSLANDS

• The animals that live in temperate grasslands


have adapted to the dry, windy conditions.
There are grazing animals like gazelle and deer,
burrowing animals such as mice and
jackrabbits, and predators such as snakes and
coyotes.
• The North American grasslands were once
home to millions of bison before most of them
were slaughtered by humans.
PLANTS OF THE GRASSLANDS

• When rainy season arrives, many grasslands become coated with


flowers, some of which can survive well into winter with the help
of underground storage organs and thick stem bases.
• Grasslands are the most agriculturally useful habitat to humans.
Soils tend to be deep and fertile, perfect for cropland or pastures.
Much of the North American prairielands have been converted
into one of the richest agricultural regions on Earth.
• Fires, both natural and human-caused, are important to maintain
grasslands. Ancient hunting peoples set regular fires to maintain
and extend grasslands, and prevent fire-intolerant trees and
shrubs from taking over. Grasses are able to survive fires because
they grow from the bottom instead of the top.
SAVANNAH PHOTOS
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
• TANZANIA Acacia trees dot the landscape of
Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, Africa.
Contrasting seasons of rain and drought
characterize the savannah climate, typically
with more dry months than wet.
Deserts
• Far from being barren wastelands, deserts are
biologically rich habitats with a vast array of
animals and plants that have adapted to the
harsh conditions there.
• Some deserts are among the planet's last
remaining areas of total wilderness. Yet more
than one billion people, one-sixth of the
Earth's population, actually live in desert
regions.
WHAT IS A DESERT?

• Deserts cover more than one fifth of the Earth's land, and they are found on
every continent. A place that receives less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of
rain per year is considered a desert. Deserts are part of a wider classification
of regions called "drylands." These areas exist under a moisture deficit,
which means they can frequently lose more moisture through evaporation
than they receive from annual precipitation.
• And despite the common conceptions of deserts as dry and hot, there are
cold deserts as well. The largest hot desert in the world, northern Africa's
Sahara, reaches temperatures of up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees
Celsius) during the day. But some deserts are always cold, like the Gobi
desert in Asia and the desert on the continent of Antarctica. Others are
mountainous.Only about 10 percent of deserts are covered by sand dunes.
• The driest deserts get less than half an inch (one centimeter) of precipitation
each year, and that is from condensed fog, not rain.
DESERT ANIMALS AND PLANTS

• DESERT ANIMALS have adapted ways to help them keep cool and use less water. Camels, for
example, can go for days without food and water. Many desert animals are nocturnal, coming out
to hunt only when the brutal sun has descended. Some animals, like the desert tortoise in the
southwestern United States, spend much of their time underground. Most desert birds are
nomadic, crisscrossing the skies in search of food. Because of their very special adaptations,
desert animals are extremely vulnerable to introduced predators and changes to their habitat.
• Desert plants may have to go without fresh water for years at a time. Some plants have adapted
to the arid climate by growing long roots that tap water from deep underground. Other plants,
such as cacti, have special means of storing and conserving water. Many desert plants can live to
be hundreds of years old.
• Some of the world's semi-arid regions are turning into desert at an alarming rate. This process,
known as "desertification," is not caused by drought, but usually arises from the demands of
human populations that settle on the semi-arid lands to grow crops and graze animals. The
pounding of the soil by the hooves of livestock may degrade the soil and encourage erosion by
wind and water.
• Global warming also threatens to change the ecology of desert. Higher temperatures may
produce an increasing number of wildfires that alter desert landscapes by eliminating slow-
growing trees and shrubs and replacing them with fast-growing grasses.
Cacti are often thought of as a stereotypical desert plant, but they are rarely the dominant
species in an area of desert. PRICKLY PEAR CACTI The yellow bloom of a
prickly pear cactus brightens this view of a California desert.
SAGUARO CACTUS Because it is so close to the ocean, the Sonoran Desert receives more rain than any other desert, about 10 to 14
inches (25 to 35 cm) a year. This precipitation allows cacti like this saguaro to grow extremely large.
Humus
• A great part of the organic material that reaches the soil is broken
down by the action of microorganisms, resulting in mineral
components that can be taken by the roots of plants. In this way the
nitrogen (nitrogen cycle) and the other nutrients (nutrient cycle) are
recycled. This process is called mineralization.
• Depending on the conditions in which the breakdown is carried out,
a fraction of the organic matter does not continue into mineralization,
but instead goes in the contrary direction, forming new organic
chains (polymers). These organic polymers are stable, that is resistant
to the action of microorganisms, and constitute humus.
• This stability implies that once formed humus integrates the
permanent structure of soil, contributing to its improvement.[7]
HUMUS
Hawk
Snail Kite: A large bird, dark blue black overall with extremely hooked thin black bill with reddish
base. In flight shows a white tail with broad dark distal band and narrow gray terminal band. Long
legs are bright orange or red. Feeds on snails. Flies on slow shallow wing beats followed by glides.
Hook-billed Kite
Tropical rainforests of India

• Tropical Rainforests of India, are found in the 


Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Western Ghats, which
fringe the Arabian Sea, the coastline of peninsular India,
and the greater Assam region in the north-east. Small
remnants of rainforest are found in Odisha state. Semi-
evergreen rainforest is more extensive than the
evergreen formation partly because evergreen forests
tend to degrade to semi-evergreen with human
interference. There are substantial differences in both
the flora and fauna between the three major rainforest
regions.
Tropical rainforests of India

• The Western Ghats monsoon forests occur both on the western


(coastal) margins of the ghats and on the eastern side where there is
less rainfall. These forests contain several tree species of great
commercial significance (e.g. Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia),
Malabar Kino (Pterocarpus marsupium), teak (Tectona grandis) and
Indian laurel (Terminalia crenulata)), but they have now been cleared
from many areas.
• In the rainforests, there is an enormous number of tree species; at
least 60 percent of the trees of the upper canopy are of species which
individually contribute not more than one percent of the total number.
• Clumps of bamboo occur along streams or in poorly drained hollows
throughout the evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of south-west 
India, probably in areas once cleared for transporting agriculture.
Tropical rainforests of India
• The Western Ghats monsoon forests occur both on the western
(coastal) margins of the ghats and on the eastern side where there
is less rainfall. These forests contain several tree species of great
commercial significance (e.g. Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia),
Malabar Kino (Pterocarpus marsupium), teak (Tectona grandis) and
Indian laurel (Terminalia crenulata)), but they have now been
cleared from many areas. In the rainforests, there is an enormous
number of tree species; at least 60 percent of the trees of the upper
canopy are of species which individually contribute not more than
one percent of the total number. Clumps of bamboo occur along
streams or in poorly drained hollows throughout the evergreen and
semi-evergreen forests of south-west India, probably in areas once
cleared for transporting agriculture.
Tropical rainforests of India
• The tropical vegetation of north-east India (which includes the states of 
Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura andMeghalaya as well as the
plain regions of Arunachal Pradesh) typically occurs at elevations up to 900
metres (3,000 ft).
• It embraces evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests, moist deciduous
 monsoon forests, riparian forests, swamps andgrasslands. Evergreen
rainforests are found in the Assam Valley, the foothills of the eastern 
Himalayas and the lower parts of the Naga Hills, Meghalaya, Mizoram and 
Manipur, where the rain fall exceeds 2,300 mm (91 in) per annum.
• In the Assam Valley the giant Hollong (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus) and 
Shorea assamica occur singly, occasionally attaining a girth of up to 7 metres
(23 ft) and a height of up to 50 metres (160 ft).
• The monsoon forests are mainly moist sal (Shorea robusta)forests, which
occur widely in this region.[2]
Tropical rainforests of India
Rainforests of India 
Rainforests of India 

Rainforests of India are located mostly in the north-eastern corner of
the country in the state of Assam.
• It may be mentioned here that Rain forests, as the name suggests, are
those forests, which are characterized by high annual rainfall of
around 1750mm to 2000mm.
• The global distribution of equatorial rainforest is closely tied to the
warm, moist climates that occur near to the Equator. India is located
in Southern Asia between Burma and Pakistan. Here tropical rain
forests are to be seen.
• A tropical rainforest is one which is wet and warm throughout the
year. It is hot and humid here in these regions. Tropical rain forests are
located near the equator and the tropic of cancer. 
Location of Indian Rain Forests 
• The evergreen Rain forests are found in the
Assam Valley, the foothills of the eastern
Himalayas (Tinsukia district and Dibrugarh
districts) and the lower parts of the 
Naga Hills, Meghalaya, Mizoram,and Manipur
 where the rain fall exceeds 2300 mm per
annum. They are also found in the 
Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Western
Ghats. 
Food obtained from Indian Rainforests 

• A wide variety of food items can be obtained


from the Rain forests in India.
• These include coconut, guava, jackfruit, sweet
potato, banana, citrus fruits, mango, papaya,
lychee, pineapple, rice,sugarcane, tamarind,
yam, coffee, black pepper, cardamom, 
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and 
vanilla. 
Animals Found in Indian Rain Forests 
• Various different kinds of animals are found inhabiting the Indian rain
forests. They are Howler monkeys which live in the canopy of the rain
forest, Pythons, Vinesnake, Elephant, Sloth, many different kinds of 
Bats, Jaguars, Tapirs which are rather difficult to spot in the forest,
Chameleon, Crested Guan which live in the lowland rain forest region,
Tiger, King Cobras, Gecko which lives high up in the rain forest,
Bearded Dragon, Slow Loris and Gibbon which live in the canopy.
• There are many more animals that live in India's rain forests. A lot of
the animals are endangered. The clouded leopard, flying squirrel, 
leopard, tiger and Indian bison are just a few. Some birds that are
endangered are pheasants, eagles, owls, wood ducks and hornbills. 
Rainforest
• The equatorial rainforest in India occurs in two separate areas- along
the strip of hills and mountains near to the west coast, the Western
Ghats, and in the north-eastern state of Assam close to the border
with Myanmar (Burma).
• In both these areas, semi-evergreen rainforest is more widespread
than evergreen forest, probably due to a long history of human
influence, which has degraded the structure of the forest and its soils,
and led to a more precarious water balance.
• The Western Ghats are more diverse than those of Assam, with over
4,000 plant species occurring in this relatively small area of hill land.
Of these, 1,800 species are endemic to the Western Ghats, most of
these being confined to the rainforest rather than the other drier
vegetation types that occur mixed in with it.
Rainforest
• The North Western Ghats montane rain forests are a tropical moist
broadleaf forest eco-region of southwestern India. It covers an area
of 30,900 square kilometers (11,900 square miles), extending down
the spine of the Western Ghats range, from Maharashtra state in the
north through Karnataka to Kerala state in the south. The montane
rain forests are predominantly evergreen laurel forest, dominated by
trees of the laurel family (Lauraceae), including Litsea, Phoebe, and
Cinnamomum.
• The South Western Ghats montane rain forests are an eco-region of
southern India, covering the southern portion of the Western Ghats
range in 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. 
rainforest
• Today, the North-eastern states of India have become the only region where
Rainforest wealth of India survives. The state of Arunachal Pardesh is gifted with
enormous wealth of wildlife and forested land. But today the rainforests of the
northeast state of Assam are facing fast depletion. In the recent survey it has
been discovered and that there is a continuous stretch of 800-sq-kms of virgin
rainforests in upper Assam that spills over to Arunachal Pradesh is present in the
North-eastern region of India. The newly discovered Joydihing wildlife sanctuary
comprises the Joypur reserve forest, Dirak reserve forest and Dihing reserve
forest. It houses 32 species of mammals, more than 300 species of birds and
several other rare and endemic wild species. A critical aspect of this forest zone
is that of the 15 species of non-human primates found in India, seven inhabit in
this belt. They include Rhesus Macaque, Assamese Macaque, and slow Loris,
capped Langurs, pig-tailed Macaque, stam-tailed Macaque and Hoolock Gibbons.
This rainforest stretch is also one of the largest elephant zone in India, through
which more than 2,000 elephants migrate to Arunachal Pradesh every year. 
rainforest
• The Rainforests of India are getting depleted at a
rather alarming rate. This destruction of the forests
has been exceptionally rapid during the last 50 years.
• The main reasons why these forests are being
destroyed is increasing human population, negligence
and ignorance on part of the state authorities and the
communities that reside within the forest areas and
poorly controlled logging over the years.
• These can prove extremely hazardous to the future of
mankind and need to be addressed at the earliest. 
Montane ecosystems
• Montane ecosystems refers to any ecosystem
 found in mountains. These ecosystems are
strongly affected by climate, which gets 
colder as elevation increases. They are
stratified according to elevation. Dense forests
 are common at moderate elevations.
However, as the elevation increases, the
climate becomes harsher, and the plant
community transitions to grasslands or tundra.
A subalpine lake in the Gomsdistrict of the 
Swiss Alps
North American beaver (Castor canadensis), one
of two species of beaver that build dams
Beaver dam at Algonquin Park in
Ontario, Canada