India's Western Ghats rainforest declared UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
July 03, 2012



View from Varandha Pass in the Western Ghats.
View from Varandha Pass in the Western Ghats.

India's Western Ghats, considered one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the world, has been dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In total, 39 different sites in the tropical rainforest—home to Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, lion-tailed macaques, and thousands of other species—have made it under the listing.

"We welcome these sites to the World Heritage List, but note the conservation challenges that they face will need additional monitoring by the World Heritage committee to ensure that these sites meet the requirements that accompany this listing as flagships for global conservation," the director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Tim Badman, said. The IUCN recommended the Western Ghats, but with a word of caution about conservation management issues in the region.

For thousands of years, the Western Ghats has supported a tenuous balance between agriculture and wildlife. The forest, which is heavily fragmented, remains imperiled by mining, industrial agriculture, ongoing deforestation, poaching, human-wildlife conflict, dams, roads, overpopulation, and even tourism.

The Western Ghats is home to more than 5,000 flowering plants, 139 mammals, over 500 birds, 288 freshwater fish, and 179 amphibians. New species continue to be found in the region.

India had been campaigning for six years to have the Western Ghats enshrined as a World Heritage Site.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (July 03, 2012).

India's Western Ghats rainforest declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0703-hance-western-ghats-unesco.html