- July 16, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Eco-Development Committees in Nilgiris biosphere reserve are restoring native Shola habitats in places overrun with invasive species.
- Cestrum nocturnum plants have encroached on native Shola habitats and do not allow any native flora to thrive.
- The Cestrum plants, unless completely removed with their roots, will keep sprouting and keep taking over Shola and native grasslands.
- The Toda tribes are also growing their own saplings and have set up a nursery which will have more than 7,000 saplings of native Shola trees ready to be planted in the landscape in the coming years.
- The Shola forests of South India derive their name from the Tamil word solai, which means a ‘tropical rain forest’.
- Classified as ‘Southern Montane Wet Temperate Forest’ by experts Harry George Champion and SK Seth, the Sholas are found in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, Anamalais, Palni hills, Kalakadu, Mundanthurai and Kanyakumari in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- These forests are found sheltered in valleys with sufficient moisture and proper drainage, at an altitude of more than 1,500 metres. The upper reaches are covered with grasslands, known as Shola grasslands.
- The vegetation that grows in Shola forests is evergreen. The trees are stunted and have many branches. Their rounded and dense canopies appear in different colours.
- Generally, the leaves are small in size and leathery.
- Red-coloured young leaves turning into different colours on maturity is a prominent characteristic of the Shola forests.
- Epiphytes like lichens, ferns and bryophytes usually grow on the trees.
- Sholas play a major role in conserving water supply of the Nilgiris’ streams. Sholas thus act as ‘overhead water tanks’.