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Discovery of Two Critically Endangered Tree Species and Issues Related to Relic Forests of the Western Ghats

Mesta, DK and Ramachandra, TV and Chandran, Subash MD and Rao, GR and Ali, Sameer and Gururaja, KV (2008) Discovery of Two Critically Endangered Tree Species and Issues Related to Relic Forests of the Western Ghats. In: The Open Conservation Biology Journal, 2 . pp. 1-8.


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Madhuca bourdillonii (Gamble) Lam. and Syzygium travancoricum Gamble, considered almost extinct but later found to be occurring in small numbers in their home range in Western Ghats, south of Palghat Gap, have been now discovered in some of the relic primeval evergreen forests of Uttara Kannada, over 700 km north. These relic forests also shelter scores of other rare endemic elements of flora and fauna. These findings highlight the need for making intensive efforts for locating more of such relic forests and documenting their biota. Also, biologists need to restrain from the tendencies of considering any novel occurrences of species away from their home ranges as new species, before ruling out the possibilities that these could be the relics of ancient populations or their morphological variants. Presence of relic forests does reveal the legacy of erstwhile contiguous forests, which is now fragmented due to rapid land use changes. Conservationists handling biodiversity hotspots should be able to distinguish between relics of primeval forests and advanced stages of secondary successions. Lack of such understanding will result in imperceptible extinctions of many endemic species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: The Open Conservation Biology Journal
Publisher: Bentham Open
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Bentham Open.
Keywords: Madhuca bourdillonii; Syzygium travancoricum; critically endangered; relic forests; Myristica swamps; local extinction; Uttara Kannada; Western Ghats.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:43
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/13301

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