Why are the Western Ghats important?

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Importance of Western Ghats

Western Ghats are locally known by different names such as Sahyadri in Maharashtra,Nilgiri hills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Anaimalai hills in Cardamom hills in Kerala.

  1. Western Ghats are an important geological landform of peninsular India. It is the origin of Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and a myriad of rivers which are life line for the people ofsouthern India.
  2. On its ecological health depends livelihoods of millions of people belonging to the six Western Ghats states of Gujarat, Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  3. Western Ghats have many unique habitats which are home to a variety of endemic species of flora and fauna. The lower elevations of the southern Western Ghats harbour remarkable relic habitat termed as Myristica swamps. Myristica swamps are the only remaining habitat for Myristicaceae which is one of the most primitive plant family among the flowering plants.
  4. It is also notable center of evolution of economically important domesticated plant species such as pepper, cardamom, cinnamom, mango and jackfruit. The forests harboured by the Western Ghats play a significant and important ecological function in sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and hence have an important role in climate change.
  5. Western Ghats is one of the identified hotspots of biological diversity globally and is a treasure trove of biological diversity. Western Ghats harbour many endemic species of flowering plants, endemic fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.
  6. Western Ghats are a Centre of origin of many species and hence a cradle for biological  evolution, the UNESCO included parts of Western Ghats in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.
  7. The Western Ghats have complex interstate character and the recommendations of WGEEP involve demarcation of Ecologically sensitive zones and zonal regulation of important sectors of activity such as agriculture, land use, mining, industry, tourism,
    water resources, power, roads and railways.

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