Forest at Western Ghats depleting
The mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. It strecthes along 1500 km in length, from river Tapti in the north to river Kanyakumari in South. It covers parts of 6 states, including Karnataka, Gujrat, Maharastra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.It covers to a tune of 33,579 sq. km or 35.3% of the total forest cover over the nine decades. A latest findings by Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) reveals that the present area of the Western Ghat indicates that it represents a vulnerable ecosystem. Among the hotspots under India, the Western Ghats account for 64.95%; Indo-Burma 5.13%, Himalayas 44.37% and Sundaland 1.28%. Mapping of forest cover is a important measure of natural resource inventory and management for any area.
However, there are no comprehensive studies particularly on the biodiversity hotspots of India. So with the objective of this study is to quantify and characterize the long-term forest cover changes in Western Ghats over a period of Nine decades. The study also quantifies the spatial extent of forest types and land use and to estimate the rate of deforestation in Western Ghats. The findings state that the Western Ghats has experienced large scale changes in forest cover. According to research paper published in ‘The Journal of Earth System Science of the Indian
Academy of Sciences’ it has been found that among the six states, the historical loss of forest area was very high in the Western Ghats of Kerala with a forest cover loss of 62.7% of the total area followed by 34.9% in Gujrat, 27.1% in Karnataka, 26.3% in Goa, 21.6% in Maharashtra and 15.2% in Tamil Nadu. However in recent years there is no quantifiable rate of deforestation in recent years. This indicates increases measures of conservation. But still more measures should be taken up to make the good of the loss.