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Published on Oct 21, 2006
The Western Ghats are a mountain range in India, run along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separate the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea.
They contain the largest patches of moist deciduous forest and rain forest in southern India. These forests are home to diverse fauna and flora, many of them showing affinities to the Malayan region, but are increasingly threatened by human activity. Several national parks and other protected areas lie within the range, but it is estimated that only a small fraction of the Western Ghats remains in pristine condition. The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is considered by many to be the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
Biogeographers have long recognized the distinctive plant and animal communities of the Western Ghats. Many of these faunal and floral elements are not found anywhere else in India except in parts of northeastern India. The Western Ghats are also home to many endemic species, and the endemism is especially high in the amphibian and reptilian fauna.