The Shola Grasslands and forests in the Kudremukh National Park, Western Ghats, India. The Park is about 600 Sq. km in area and is one of the 25 biodiversity hot spots in the world.
Las Ghats occidentales son una cadena montañosa ubicada en la India. Recorren el borde occidental de la meseta del Decán, y las separan del mas Arábigo un estrecho llano costero. La elevación media de esta cadena montañosa es 900 metros. También son conocidas como las montañas Sahyadri en Maharashtra y al norte de Karnataka y la región de Malabar en Kerala. Fue declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco en 2012.1
Las Ghats occidentales (en tulu/en kannada: ಸಹ್ಯಾದ್ರಿ; en marathi/konkani: सह्याद्री; en malayalam: സഹ്യാദ്രി / സഹ്യപര്വതം; y en tamil: மேற்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலைகள்), también son conocidas como las montañas Sahyadri
Las montañas Ghat Occidentales interceptan los vientos monzónicos del oeste cargados de lluvia, y son en consecuencia un área de alta precipitación, sobre todo en su lado occidental. Los bosques densos también contribuyen a la precipitación de la zona actuando como una barrera para la condensación de los vientos húmedos del mar, y además liberan de nuevo gran parte de la humedad que han retenido a través de la transpiración, lo que permite que se condense más tarde y caiga de nuevo en forma de lluvia .
La parte norte de la estrecha llanura costera entre los Ghats occidentales y el Mar Arábigo es conocida como la Costa de Konkan o simplemente Konkan, la parte central se llama Kanara y la parte sur se llama región de Malabar o costa de Malabar. La región piedemonte oriental de las Ghats en Maharashtra se conoce como Desh, mientras que las estribaciones orientales del central Estado de Karnataka se conocen como Malenadu. La ciudad más grande dentro de las montañas es la ciudad de Pune (Poona), en la región Desh en el borde oriental de la cordillera. Las colinas Biligirirangan se encuentran en la confluencia de las Ghats Occidentales y las Ghats Orientales.
The mountains intercept the rain-bearing westerly monsoon winds, and are consequently an area of high rainfall, particularly on their western side. The dense forests also contribute to the precipitation of the area by acting as a substrate for condensation of moist rising orographic winds from the sea, and releasing much of the moisture back into the air via transpiration, allowing it to later condense and fall again as rain.
The northern portion of the narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is known as the Konkan Coast or simply Konkan, the central portion is called Kanara and the southern portion is called Malabar region or the Malabar Coast. The foothill region east of the Ghats in Maharashtra is known as Desh, while the eastern foothills of the central Karnataka state is known as Malenadu. The largest city within the mountains is the city of Pune (Poona), in the Desh region on the eastern edge of the range. The Biligirirangan Hills lie at the confluence of the Western and Eastern Ghats.
Indian tiger at Bhadra wildlife Sanctuary, Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka state, India
Annual rainfall along the Western Ghat region.
Historically the Western Ghats were well-covered in dense forests that provided wild foods and natural habitats for native tribal people. Its inaccessibility made it difficult for people from the plains to cultivate the land and build settlements. After the arrival of the British in the area, large swathes of territory were cleared for agricultural plantations and timber. The forest in the Western Ghats has been severely fragmented due to human activities, especially clear felling for tea, coffee, and teak plantations during 1860 to 1950. Species that are rare, endemic and habitat specialists are more adversely affected and tend to be lost faster than other species. Complex and species rich habitats like the tropical rainforest are much more adversely affected than other habitats. 
The area is ecologically sensitive to development and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers. Though this area covers barely five percent of India's land, 27% of all species of higher plants in India (4,000 of 15,000 species) are found here. Almost 1,800 of these are endemic to the region. The range is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.
The Government of India established many protected areas including 2 biosphere reserves, 13 National parks to restrict human access, several wildlife sanctuaries to protect specific endangered species and many Reserve Forests, which are all managed by the forest departments of their respective state to preserve some of the ecoregions still undeveloped. Many National Parks were initially Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve comprising 5500 km² of the evergreen forests of Nagarahole, deciduous forests of Bandipur National Park and Nugu in Karnataka and adjoining regions of Wayanad, Mudumalai National Park and Mukurthi National Park in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu forms the largest contiguous protected area in the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats is home to numerous serene hill stations like Munnar, Ponmudi and Waynad. The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is among the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
The gray slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is a species of primate in the family Loridae. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is found in India and Sri Lanka. It is threatened by habitat loss.
The Western Ghats are home to thousands of animal species including at least 325 globally threatened species. Many are endemic species, especially in the amphibian, reptilian and fish classes. Thirty two threatened species of mammals live in the Western Ghats. Of the 16 endemic mammals, 13 are threatened.
- Mammals – There are at least 139 mammal species. A critically endangered mammal of the Western Ghats is the nocturnal Malabar large-spotted civet. The arboreal Lion-tailed macaque is endangered. Only 2500 of this species are remaining. The largest population of Lion tailed macaque is in Silent Valley National Park. Kudremukh National Park also protects a viable population.
- These hill ranges serve as important wildlife corridors, allowing seasonal migration of endangered Asian elephants. The Nilgiri Bio-sphere is home to the largest population of Asian Elephants and forms an important Project Elephant and Project Tiger reserve. Brahmagiri and Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuaries are important elephant habitats. Karnataka's Ghat areas hold over six thousand elephants (as of 2004) and ten percent of India's critically endangered tiger population.
- The largest population of India's tigers outside the Sundarbans is in the forests where the boundaries of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala meet. The largest numbers and herds of vulnerable gaur are found here with the Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole together holding over five thousand Gaur. To the west the forests of Kodagu hold sizeable populations of the endangered Nilgiri langur.
- Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and project tiger reserve in Lakkavalli of Chikmagalur has large populations of Indian muntjac. Many Asian elephant, gaur, sambar, vulnerable sloth bears, leopard, tiger and wild boars are found in the forests of Karnataka.
- Bannerghatta National Park and Annekal reserve forest is an important elephant corridor connecting the forests of Tamil Nadu with those of Karnataka. Dandeli and Anshi national parks in Uttara Kannada district are home to the normal variety of leopards and significant populations of Great Indian Hornbill. Bhimgad in Belgaum district is a proposed wildlife sanctuary and is home to the endemic critically endangered Wroughton's freetailed bat. the Krishnapur caves close by are one of only three places in the country where the little-known Theobald's tomb bat is found. Large Lesser False Vampire bats are found in the Talevadi caves.
- Great horbill in Mesua tree in Valparai, South India
- Birds – There are at least 508 bird species. Most of Karnataka's five hundred species of birds are from the Western Ghats region. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the northern end of the Malabar ranges and the southern tip of the Sahyadri ranges and bird species from both ranges can be seen here.
- There are at least 16 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats including the endangered Rufous-breasted Laughingthrush, the vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, White-bellied Shortwing and Broad-tailed Grassbird, the near threatened Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, Black-and-rufous Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, and Nilgiri Pipit, and the least concern Malabar (Blue-winged) Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, Grey-headed Bulbul, Rufous Babbler, Wynaad Laughingthrush, White-bellied Blue-flycatcher and the Crimson-backed Sunbird.
Invertebrate diversity and conservation in the Western Ghats
SCB Update: Book release
Editors: Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Soubadra Devy, Aravind Madhyastha, Subramanian, K.A., and Seena Narayanan
Foreword by: Michael Samways
The Western Ghats is one of the two mainland biological diversity hotspots in India. However, very little is known about the diversity and distribution of invertebrates from the Western Ghats. This poor understanding of our invertebrate diversity is amply reflected in our national and regional conservation policies and goals, which are essentially formulated for around large and charismatic vertebrates.
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, along with the Western Ghats Invertebrate Research and Conservation Group—a network of researchers studying invertebrates of the region—has published an edited volume titled ‘Invertebrate diversity and conservation in the Western Ghats’. This volume provides an overview of on going studies on the diversity, ecology, biogeography, behaviour and conservation of invertebrates of the Western Ghats.
The book was released at the inaugural function of Biodiversity Asia 2012 on 7 August 2012 by Prof David Orr, noted environmentalist and professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College, USA; Dr. Raman Sukumar, Director, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science; Dr. Simon C. Nemtzov, President of the Asia Section of the Society for Conservation Biology; Dr. Eleanor Sterling, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, and SCB Co-Chair; and Prof Kamal Bawa, founder president of ATREE.