Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Ponmudi example

Over the past 45 years, various members of my family have researched into various issues faced by the Ponmudi forests, part of the Western Ghats range of high mountains in India. Ponmudi, at 1100 m elevation, is located 60 kms North-East of Trivandrum city. When my father commenced his fieldtrips in the 1960s, the Ponmudi forests used to start immediately after the Vithura village. Nearly four decades later, Vithura is now a sprawling township and the forests have receded approximately 5 kms, and now commence from Kallar bridge. Ponmudi, from a distance

Although Ponmudi is now incorporated under the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve (so named after the 1868m tall Agastyamalai peak), Kallar is changing with new developments sprouting up and more developments slated to be constructed at the summit, an area with montane grasslands and cloud forests (also known as sholas). Plantations sprung up in these mountains nearly 100-150 years ago (mainly tea), which was later followed by the construction of tourist resorts.

This is just one little example of what’s happening in one little part of the Western Ghats. But it cannot be denied that the pattern can be extrapolated to forests elsewhere around the world.

The afore-mentioned developments at Kallar

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