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Monday, August 30, 2021

Western Ghats: A World Heritage Site: Geography- JPSC/ JSSC

Western Ghats: A World Heritage Site

The Coorg or Kodagu is a part of the Western Ghats that has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the meeting of the World Heritage Committee held at St. Petersburg's (Russia) on 1st July 2012.

Western Ghats: A World Heritage Site: Geography- JPSC/ JSSC

The Westen Ghat has outstanding examples of representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals. It is also the most significant natural habitat for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science and conservation. Apart from the World Heritage Site, it is one of the most eight (8) hottest hotspots of biological diversity in the world. The Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) in 56,825 Km2 (2014).

The Western Ghat or the Sahyadri is a mountain range of Peninsular India. It separates the Deccan Plateau from the narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea.

The Western Ghats starts south of the Tapi river in Gujarat and runs about 1600 km through the six (6) states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala ending at the Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India.


The main peaks of the Western Ghats are:

  • Anaimudi (2695 m)
  • Doddabetta (2636 m)
  • Mukurthi (2554 m)
  • Kodaikanal (2133 m)
  • Bababudangiri (1895 m)
  • Kudremukh (1894 m)
  • Agasthymalai (1866 m)
  • Pushpagiri (1712 m)
  • Kalsubai (1646 m)
  • Salher (1567 m)

The important hill stations are located in the Western Ghats:

  • Ooty (2500 m)
  • Kodaikanal (2285 m)

The area has 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, and 179 amphibian species. According to one estimate 325, globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.

The Western Ghats are covered with tropical and subtropical forests that provide food and natural habitats for the native tribal people. The area is ecologically sensitive to development.

The Government of India has established many protected areas including 2 biosphere reserves (BRs), 13 National Parks, and several wildlife sanctuaries to protect specific endangered species. 

  • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserves (5500 Km2) of the evergreen forests of Nagarhole.
  • Bandipur National Parks are covered with deciduous forest.
  • Mukurthi National Parks in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the protected areas.

Moreover, there are Mudumalai (Coimbatore), Anamalai (Nilgiri District), and Munda Thurai (Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari districts) tiger reserves in the southern parts of the Western Ghats.

Judicious use of resources and conservation practices can improve the resilience characteristics of the ecosystems of this important world heritage site.

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