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Western Ghats


 Source: TH

 Context: Western Ghats has experienced a 5% loss in evergreen forest cover, with an increase in built-up and agriculture areas, according to a spatiotemporal (belonging to both space and time or to space–time) analysis of land use.

Key findings:

  • Only 25% of the forest landmass consists of interior forests, indicating fragmentation pressure and its impact on local ecology.
  • The region witnessed large-scale land cover changes during the past century due to unplanned developmental activities with industrialisation and globalisation.
  • Highlights high ecological fragility in the area.

Significance: The findings emphasize the need for conservation measures and sustainable development policies in the Western Ghats to address the threats to forests and water security in the region.


What is Ecological fragility?

It refers to the vulnerability of an ecosystem to disturbance or damage, often resulting in the loss of biodiversity and disruption of ecological processes. It represents the delicate balance and sensitivity of natural systems to human activities and environmental changes.

For example, deforestation in a rainforest can disrupt the intricate web of species interactions, causing species extinction and the loss of vital ecological functions such as carbon sequestration and water regulation.


About the analysis: 

The Indian Institute of Science’s Energy and Wetlands Research Group launched the Western Ghats Spatial Decision Support System (WGSDSS) to enhance governance transparency and aid in the management of the ecologically vital Sahyadri hill ranges. The system provides comprehensive information on ecological, socio-economic, biodiversity, and environmental aspects, supporting effective decision-making.


About Western Ghats:

The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Hills, is a biodiversity hotspot in India ( it is among 36 global biodiversity hotspots). It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a rich and unique assemblage of flora and fauna.