Red listed threatened tree species in kerala



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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

 

 

RED LISTED THREATENED TREE SPECIES IN KERALA: 

A REVIEW 

 

N. Sasidharan  



Kerala Forest Research Institute Peechi Kerala 

 

Abstract 

Situated along the west coast of India and bordered by the Lakshadweep, the State of Kerala 

enjoys a tropical Climate. It is estimated that about 27 per cent of the area of the State is under 

forests. The tropical rain forests along the windward side of the Western Ghats are remarkable for 

their species diversity and endemism. The Western Ghats, one of the megadiversity centres in the 

world is also a biodiversity hotspot. The State of Kerala has an area of 38,864 km

2

, which is only 



1.18 per cent of India, yet support about 25 per cent of the flora of the country. Among the 4,050 

indigenous flowering plants recorded from Kerala, 812 are trees. There are 1387 Peninsular Indian 

endemic species and 218 among them are restricted to Kerala. Among the 822 tree species, 327 are 

Peninsular Indian endemics and 26 are so far known only from Kerala. According to the various 

publications on threatened plants, 495 species recorded from Kerala belong to the Rare and 

Threatened (RET) categories, including 151 tree species. The floristic studies carried out during 

the last three decades resulted in relocating several RET species. However, the status of the 

populations of these species has not yet been evaluated. Despite the recent floristic studies as 

many as 23 tree species could not be relocated. As per the IUCN criteria on threatened species

two species are Extinct in the wild (Ilex gardneriana and Syzygium gambleanum), 26 Critically 

Endangered, 63 Endangered, 38 Vulnerable and 22 species are Low Risk/near Threatened. 

 

INTRODUCTION 



 

The Western Ghats, running parallel to the west coast of Peninsular India have a 

series of hill ranges covering a distance of 1600 km from Thapti Valley in Gujarat to 

Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu traversing through the states of Maharastra, Goa, 

Karnataka and Kerala. Though the average height of the hill ranges is 1000 m, the 

highest peaks south of Himalayas - the Anamudi (2695 m) and Dodabattai (2637m)- 

are in the Western Ghats. The western side of the Western Ghats facing the Arabian 

Sea receives maximum rainfall and the annual precipitation varies from 2000 mm to 

7450 mm. The eastern side of the Western Ghats is in the rain shadow region, 

therefore receives relatively less rainfall. The mean temperature is between 24°C and 

20°C however, the temperature will be zero to subzero in the mountain peaks during 

winter. The major soil types are laterite, red loam, medium black, alluvial, red 

gravelly and hill soils. 

 

Depending on the amount of rainfall, soil type and altitude, different vegetation 



types are formed in the Western Ghats. The dominant vegetation types are west 

coast tropical evergreen forests, west coast semievergreen forests, southern moist 

mixed deciduous forests, southern dry mixed deciduous forests and scrub jungles 

(Champion and Seth, 1968). At higher elevations the vegetation becomes southern 

montane wet temperate forests (sholas) and southern montane wet grasslands 

Government of Kerala 

FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

(grasslands). Certain edaphic types such as Myristica swamp forests, bamboo breaks, 

reed breaks, etc. are restricted to some eco-physical regions. 

 

The tropical rain forests, particularly the evergreen, semi-evergreen and shola 



forests, due to the luxuriant growth of plants of all life forms have the richest 

biodiversity. The Western Ghats, one of the megadiversity centres in the world is 

also a biodiversity hotspot. The principal plant communities in the Western Ghats 

are the Angiosperms. In the Western Ghats, the southern Western Ghats consisting 

southern parts of Karnataka, Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu are the richest in 

terms of diversity. Out of the 4000 species of flowering plants estimated, 3,900 occur 

in the southern Western Ghats and 3,800 in Kerala (Nayar, 1997). The Western Ghat 

is considered as one of the 18 centres in the world where mega diversity exists. The 

distribution pattern of the major families in the Westem Ghats and Kerala is almost 

the same. The State of Kerala with an area of 38,863 km

2

, is only 1.18 per cent of the 



whole of India, yet it supports about 25 per cent of the flora of the country. 

 

There are 4,465 taxa of flowering plants in Kerala belonging to 1,315 genera in 192 



families of which, 33 families and 68 genera are represented by one species of each 

(Sasidharan, personal observation). Among the 4,465 species recorded, 4050 are 

indigenous and the rest exotics. There are 812 species of trees in Kerala. The families 

dominated by tree species are Euphorbiaceae, with 67 species under 31 genera, 

followed by Leguminosae (65 species/35 genera), Lauraceae (55 species /l 0 genera), 

Rubiaceae (47 species/26 genera), Annonaceae (32 species/11 genera), Ebenaceae (25 

species/one genus), Anacardiaceae (24 species/11 genera) and Clusiaceae (21 

species/4 genera). 

 

The endemic species in the flora of a geographical region are noteworthy. Among 



the 812 tree species in Kerala, 327 are endemic to Peninsular India and 26 are 

restricted to Kerala. Genera such as Poeciloneuron, Blepharistemma and Otonephelium 

are endemic to the Western Ghats. Among the families with arborescent endemic 

taxa, Lauraceae rank first with 44 endemics (out of the 55 species) followed by 

Euphorbiaceae (25/67), Rubiaceae (22/47), Myrtaceae (21/41), Annonaceae (17/32), 

Leguminosae (14/65), Anacardiaceae (13/24), Dipterocarpaceae (11/13), Ebenaceae 

(10/25) and Clusiaceae (10/21). 

 

The rare and threatened plants of southern India have been documented by Joseph 



(1977), Henry et al. (1979), Jain and Sastry (1984), Ahmedullah and Nayar (1987) and 

Nayar and Sastry (1987, 1988, 1990). Nayar (1997) listed 1,272 Western Ghats taxa 

endemic to Kerala, 483 among them were placed under threatened categories. Based 

on published literature, there are 497 species recorded from Kerala that belong to the 

Red Listed categories, including 151 tree species (Table 1). As per the IUCN (1994) 

criteria the Red Listed tree species are assigned to the following categories: Extinct (2 

Government of Kerala 

FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

species), Low Risk/near threatened (22 species) Critically Endangered (26 species), 

Vulnerable (38 species) and 



Table 1. Red Listed threatened tree species recorded in some Protected Areas of 

Kerala 

Protected Area 

Total number 

of angiosperm 

species 

recorded 

No. of tree sps. 

No. of Red 

Listed tree 

species 


Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary 

965 


238 (24.7) 

Eravikulam National Park 



326 

69 (21.2) 

11 

Peechi- Vazhani Wildlife 



Sanctuary 

829 240 


(28.9) 18 

Silent Valley National Park 

966 

198 (20.5) 



20 

Parambikulam Wildlife 

Sanctuarv 

1432 359 

(25.0) 36 

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary 

1080 

298 (27.5) 



53 

Periyar Tiger Reserve 

1978 

434 (22.0) 



59 

Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary 

951 

327 (34.4) 



65 

Note: The figures in parentheses indicate the percentage of trees out of the total. 



 

Table 2. Red List of threatened tree species recorded in Kerala 

Family 


Tree species 

Red List 

Category 

Buchanania barberi Gamble 

CR 


Gluta travancorica Bedd. 

LR/nt 


Holigarna beddomei Hook. f. 

VU 


Holigarna grahamii (Wight) Kurz 

LR/ nt 


Nothopegia aureo-flllva Bedd. ex Hook. f. 

CR 


Nothopegia beddomei Gamble  

var. wlfnaedica Ellis & Chandra. 

CR 

Nothopegia heyneana (Hook. f.) Gamble 

LR/ nt 


Semecarpus auriculata Bedd. 

LR/nt 


Semecarpus travancorica Bedd. 

LR/nt 


ANACARDIACEAE 

Solenocarpus indicus Wight & Arn. 

LR/nt 


Goniothalamus rhynchantherus Dunn 

EN 


Goniothalamus. wynaadensis (Bedd.) Bedd. 

LR/nt 


Mitrephora grandiflora Bedd. 

VU 


Orophea uniflora Hook. f. & Thoms. 

VU 


Polyalthia rufescens Hook.f. & Thom. 

CR 


Polyalthia shendurunii Basha & Sasi. 

EN 


Sageraea grandiflora Dunn 

EN 


ANNONACEAE 

Sageraea laurifolia (Graham) Blatter 

LR/ nt 


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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

APOCYNACEAE 

Tabernaemontana heyneana Wall. 

LR/nt 


AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex gardneriana Wight 

EX 


ARALIACEAE 

Schefflera bourdillonii Gamble 

EN 


BONNETIACEAE 

Poeciloneuron pauciflorum Bedd. 

CR 


BORAGINACEAE 

Cordia octandra DC. 

CR 


Cynometra beddomei Prain 

EN 


Cynometra travancorica Bedd. 

EN 


Dialium travancoricum Bourd. 

CR 


Humboldtia bourdillonii Prain. 

EN 


Humboldtia decurrens Bedd. Ex Oliver 

LR/ nt 


Humboldtia trijuga (Joseph & Chandras.) 

Mohanan 

CR 

Humboldtia unijuga Bedd. 

EN 


Humboldtia vahliana Wight 

LR/ nt 


CAESALPINIACEAE 

Kingiodendron pinnatum (Roxb. ex DC.) 

Harms 

EN 

CAPPARACEAE 



Capparis rheedei DC. 

LR/nt 


CELASTRACEAE 

Ellonymus paniculatus Wight ex Lawson 

EN 


Atuna indica (Bedd.) Kosterm. 

EN 


CHRYSOBALANACEAE 

Atuna travancorica (Bedd.) Kosterm. 

EN 


Garcinia imberti Bourd. 

EN 


Garcinia rubro-echinata Kosterm. 

EN 


Garcin ia travancorica Bedd. 

VU 


Garcinia wightii T. Anders. 

VU 


CLUSIACEAE 

Mesua ferrea L. var. coromandeliana  

(Wight) Singh 

CR 

Dipterocarpus bourdillonii Brandis 

CR 


Dipterocarpus indicus Bedd. 

LR/nt 


Hopea erosa (Bedd.) van Sloot. 

CR 


Hopea glabra Wight & Arn. 

EN 


Hopea jacobii Fischer 

CR 


Hopea parviflora Bedd. 

LR/ nt 


Hopea ponga (Dennst.) Mabber. 

EN 


Hopea racophloea Dyer 

EN 


Hopea utilis (Bedd.) Bole 

EN 


Vateria indica L. 

VU 


DIPTEROCARPACEAE 

Vateria macrocarpa Gupta 

CR 


Diospyros barberi Ramas. 

VU 


EBENACEAE 

Diospyros humilis Bourd. 

CR 


Elaeocarpus munronii (Wight) Mast. 

LR/nt 


Elaeocarpus recurvatus Corner 

VU 


ELAEOCARPACEAE 

Elaeocarpus venustlls Bedd. 

EN 


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ERICACEAE 

Rhododendron arboreum J. E. Smith ssp. 

nilagiricum (Zenk.) Tagg. 

LR/ nt 


Aporusa bourdillonii Stapf 

EN 


Cleistanthus malabaricus Muell.-Arg. 

VU 


Cleistanthus travancorensis Jablonszky 

EN 


Dimorphocalyx beddomei (Benth.)  Airy 

Shaw 

EN 

Drypetes confertiflora (Hook.f.) Pax & 

Hoffm. 

EN 

Orypetes malabarica (Bedd.) Airy Shaw 

EN 


Orypetes wightii (Hook. f.) Pax & Hoffm. 

VU 


Glochidion bourdillonii Gamble 

VU 


Glochidion hohenackeri (Muell.-Arg.) Bedd. 

var. johnstonei (Hook. f.) Chakrab.& 

Gangop. 

VU 


EUPHORBIACEAE 

Glochidion zeylanicum (Gaertn.) A. Juss. 

var. tomentosum (Dalz.) Chakrab. & 

Gangop. 

EN 


 

Casearia rubescens Dalz. var. gamblei Mukh.  CR 

Casearia wynadensis Bedd. 

VU 


Homalium jaillii Henry & Swaminathan 

EN 


Homalium travancoricum Bedd. 

VU 


Hydnocarpus macrocarpa (Bedd.) Warb. 

VU 


FLACOURTIACEAE 

Xylosma latifolium Hook.f. & Thoms. 

EN 


Actinodaphne campanulata Hook.f. 

var. campanulata 

VU 

Actinodaphne campanulata Hook.f. 

var. obtusa Gamble 

EN 


Actinodaphne lawsonii Gamble 

VU 


Actinodaphne malabarica Balakr. 

LR/nt 


Actinodaphne salicina Meisner 

EN 


Beilschmiedia wightii (Nees)  

Benth. ex Hook. f. 

EN 

Cinnamomum chemungianum  

Mohanan & Henry 

EN 

Cinnamomum filipedicellatum Kosterm. 

EN 


Cinnamomum perrottetii Meisner 

VU 


Cinnamomum riparium Gamble 

VU 


Cinnamomum travancoricum Gamble 

CR 


Cryptocarya anamalayana Gamble 

EN 


Cryptocarya beddomei Gamble 

VU 


LAURACEAE 

Litsra beddomei Hook. f. 

EN 


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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  



Litsea travancorica Gamble 

EN 


Neolitsea fischeri Gamble 

VU 


MALVACEAE 

Julostylis polyandra Ravi et Anil Kumar 

EN 


MELASTOMA T ACEAE 

Memecylon sisparense Gamble 

CR 


Aglaia barberi Gamble 

EN 


Aglaia bourdillonii Gamble 

VU 


Aglaia lawii (Wight) Saldanha 

LR/ nt 


Aglaia malabarica Sasi. 

CR 


Aglaia simplicifolia (Bedd.) Harms 

LR/nt 


Dysoxylum beddomei Hiern 

EN 


Dysoxylum ficiforme (Wight) Gamble 

VU 


Albizia lathamii Hole 

CR 


MELIACEAEMIMOSACEAE 

Inga cynometroides (Bedd.) Bedd. ex Baker  CR 

Myristica fatua Houtt. 

var. magnifica (Bedd.) Sinclair 

EN 

MYRISTICACEAE 



Myristica malabarica Lam. 

VU 


MYRSINACEAE 

Rapanea thwaitesii Mez 

LR/nt 


Eugenia argentea Bedd. 

CR 


Eugenia calcadensis Bedd. 

VU 


Eugenia discifera Gamble 

EN 


Eugenia indica (Wight) Chithra 

EN 


Eugenia rottleriana Wight & Arn. 

VU 


Eugenia singampattiana Bedd. 

CR 


Metcoromyrtus wynaadensis (Bedd.) 

Gamble 


CR 

Syzygium benthamianum (Wight ex 

Duthie) 


Gamble 

VU 


Syzygium bourdillonii (Gamble) 

 

Rathkr. & Nair 



EN 

Syzygium chavaran (Bourd.) Gamble 

EN 


Syzygium courtallensis (Gamble) Alston 

CR 


Syzygium densiflorum Wall. ex Wight & 

Arn. 


VU 

Syzygium gambleanum Rathakr. & Chitra. 

EX 


Syzygium myhendrae (Bedd. ex Brandis) 

Gamble 


EN 

Syzygium occidentalis (Bourd.) Gandhi 

VU 


Syzygium palghatense Gamble 

CR 


Syzygium parmneswarnii 

Mohanan & Henry 

EN 

MYRTACEAE 



Syzygium rama-varmae (Bourd.) Chithra 

VU 


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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  



Syzygium stocksii (Duthie) Gamble 

EN 


Syzygium travancoricum Gamble 

EN 


Anacolosa densiflora Bedd. 

EN 


OLACACEAE 

Chionanthus linocieroides (Wight) 

Bennet & Raizada 

EN 

PITIOSPORACEAE 



Pittosporum dasycaulon Miq. 

LR/nt 


RHIZOPHORACEAE 

Blepharistemma serratum (Dennst.) Suresh 

  VU 


Byrsophyllum tetrandrum (Bedd.) 

Hook. f. ex Bedd. 

EN 

Canthium neilgherrense Wight 

VU 


Canthium pergracile Bourd. 

EN 


Ixora agasthyamayana 

Sivadasan & Mohanan 

EN 

Ochreinauclea missionis (Wall. ex G. Don) 

Ridsd. 


   VU 

Octotropis travancorica Bedd. 

LR/nt 


Psychotria beddomei Deb & Gang. 

EN 


RUBIACEAE 

Psydrax ficiformis (Hook.f.) Bridson 

EN 


RUTACEAE 

Vepris bilocularis (Wight & Arn.) Engl. 

EN 


Isonandra stocksii Clarke 

EN 


Madhuca bourdillonii (Gamble) H.J. Lam 

EN 


Palaquium bourdillonii Brandis 

VU 


SAPOTACEAE 

Palaquium ravii Sasi. & Vink 

EN 


Eriolaena lushingtonii Dunn 

VU 


STERCULIACEAE 

Pterospermum reticulatum Wight & Arn. 

VU 


Symplocos anamallayana Bedd. 

EN 


Symplocos macrocarpa Wight ex Clarke ssp. 

kanarana (Talbot) Nooteb. 

VU 


Symplocos macrocarpa Wight ex Clarke ssp. 

macrocarpa 

EN 


Symplocos mncrophylla Wall ex A. DC. ssp. 

rosea (Bedd.) Nooteb. 

VU 


Symplocos nairii Henry et al. 

EN 


Symplocos oligandra Bedd. 

EN 


SYMPLOCACEAE 

Symplocos pendula Wight, 

EN 


TILIACEAE 

Grewia pandaica Drumm. ex Dunn 

CR 


 

EX=Extinct; CR=Critically Endangered; EN=Endangered; LR/nt=Low Risk/near 

threatened; VU=Vulnerable 

 

(63 species). Among the families, Myrtaceae has 20 Red Listed tree species followed 



by Lauraceae (16 species), Leguminosae and Dipterocarpaceae (11 species), 

Euphorbiaceae and Anacardiaceae (10 species), Annonaceae and Rubiaceae (8 

Government of Kerala 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

species), Symplocaceae and Meliaceae (7 species), Flacourtiaceae (6 species), 

C1usiaceae (5 species) and Sapotaceae (4 species). Recent floristic studies have 

reported the rediscovery of many threatened taxa including a few that were 

presumed to be extinct (Ramachandran, 1982; Mohanan, 1996; Mohanan et al., 1997, 

1999 & 2000; Sasidharan, 1998). However, the effort to relocate species such as 

Actinodaphne lawsonii, Atuna indica, Buchanania barberi, Cinnamomum perrottetii, 

Casearia rubescens var.  gamblei, Cleistanthus malabaricus, Diospyros barberi, Diospyros 

sulcata, Drypetes travancorica, Eugenia argentea, Hopea jacobii, Hopea utilis, Humboldtia 

laurifolia, Litsea mysorensis, Litsea nigrescens, Madhuca diplostemon, Memecylon 

sisparense, Polyalthia rufescens, Psychotria beddomei, Rapanea thwaitesii, Syzygium 

courtallensis, Syzygium gambleanum and  Syzygium stocksii were not successful so far. 

An analysis of the habitats of Red Listed species reveals that shola forests support 23 

species, one species in the dry deciduous forests and the rest in the evergreen/semi-

evergreen forests. The only Red Listed tree species recorded from dry deciduous 

forests is Albizia lathamii (Sajeev and Sasidharan, 1998). 

 

The State of Kerala has a relatively higher percentage of protected areas. About 24 



per cent of the forests  have been declared as protected areas by establishing 12 

Wildlife Sanctuaries and 2 National Parks. The flora of most of the protected areas 

have been studied recently resulting in the discovery of several new as well as 

threatened species (Manilal, 1988; Mohanan, 1995; Sasidharan, 1997, 1998, 

1999,2002). The Red Listed tree species recorded in the Protected Areas are provided 

in Table 2. 

 

Though, several Red Listed trees were rediscovered recently, quite a few of them are 



reported to be surviving by a few individua1s and their regeneration is extremely 

low (Sasidharan, 1998b). This calls for

 

immediate measures to  enhance their 



population status either through assisted natural regeneration or  through artificial 

means for conservation of  RET tree species. Detailed studies are needed to 

understand the genetical variation in the disjunct small population of  these tree 

species. The Red Listed trees are also to be raised in ex situ centres like arboreta and 

botanic gardens. 

REFERENCES 

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Survey of India, Calcutta. 

Champion, H.G. and Seth, S.K. 1968. A Revised Survey of 



the Forest Types of India.  

Govt. of India Press, Delhi. 

Henry, AN., Vivekanandan, K. & Nair, N.C. 1979. Rare and Threatened Flowering 

Plants of South India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 75: 684-697. 

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Joseph, J. 1977. Floristic studies in India-with special reference to Southern Circle of 

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Government of Kerala 

FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

Mohanan, N. 1995. Flora of Agasthymala. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Calicut, 

Thenhipalam. 

Mohanan, N. 1996. Rediscovery of Syzygium bourdillonii (Gamble) Rathakr. & N.C. 

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Tax.  

Bot. 20(3): 729-731. 



Mohanan, N., Jayakumar, R. and Shaju, T. 2000.  On the Rediscovery of Nothopegia 

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Species of Western Ghats. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 24(1): 78-80. 

Mohanan, N., Shaju, T. and Kiranraj, M. S. 1999. Rediscovery of Poeciloneuron 

paucifiorum Bedd.: An endemic and little known species of W. G., presumed to be 

extinct. Ann. 

 

For. 7(1): 87-89. 



Mohanan, N., Shaju, T. and Rajkumar, G. 1997. Rediscovery of Garcinia imbertii 

(Bourd.) (Clusiaceae): A little known endemic species of Western Ghats. lndian J. 

Forestry 20(4): 383-385. 

Nayar, M. P. 1997. Biodiversity challenges in Kerala and Science of  conservation 

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Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta. 

Ramachandran, V.S., Nair, N.C. and Nair, V.J. 1982. Rediscovery of Meteoromyrtus 



wynnadensis  (Bedd.) Gamble more than a century after its earlier collection. J. 

Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 79: 46-462. 

Sajeev, K.K. and N. Sasidharan, 1998 (1999). Albizia lathamii Hole - a critically 

endangered species from Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 22: 629-

630. 

Sasidharan, N. 1997. Forest Trees of Kerala A Checklist. KFRI Handbook No. 2. Kerala 



Forest Research Institute. 

Sasidharan, N. 1997. Studies on the Flora of Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary with 



Emphasis on Endemics Species. KFRI Research Report No. 128. KFRI, Peechi. 

Sasidharan, N. 1998a. Studies on the Flora of Periyar Tiger Reserve. KFRI Research 

Report No. ISO, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi. 

Government of Kerala 

FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  

Sasidharan, N. 1998b. Rediscovery of four threatened and possibly extinct endemic 

tree Legumes from Kerala. Indian J. For. (Addl. Ser.) 10: 605-613. 

Sasidharan, N. 1999. Study on the Flora of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. KFRI 

Research Report No. 167. KFRI, Peechi. 

Sasidharan, N. 2002. F/oristic Studies in Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. KFRI 

Research Report No. 246. KFRI, Peechi. 



DISCUSSION 

Dr. J.K. Shanua: How much of the forest area do you  think, in Kerala has been 

explored for the RET species?  



N.S.: In Kerala there are 14 protected areas. Only 8 have been explored. Others are 

being explored, but reports

 

are not available. Northern Kerala needs to be 



thoroughly explored. 

Dr. J.K. Shanna: Areawise, how much area has been explored? 

N.S: Districtwise studies are being taken up by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) 

and 12 districts have been already completed. Wayanad and Ernakulam have not 

been completed. Aralam is another important area where there is scope for further 

explorations. 



Dr. A. G. Pandurangan: What is the locality of Hopea jacobii? Does it occur in Silent 

Valley? 


N.S.: I have seen the specimens, but there are no indications on the locality. In BSI 

there are specimens from Karnataka. 



Dr. A.G. Pandurangan: I have collected Buchnania barberi from southern Kerala. Any 

comment? 



N.S.: It could be only B. angustifolia, the type locality of which is Nadayara, Kollam. 

Dr A. G. Panduranagan: But we have verified the identity of the specimens of B. 

baraberi from Mr. Santhosh Kumar. 

Dr. M.P. N ayar: The concept of RET species on the basis of political boundaries 

(District) should be changed. As they occur in the forest areas, they should be 

studied on the natural geographical area basis. GIS data should be also generated. It 

should not be a taxonomist's job alone. KFD should initiate programmes to conserve 

them, otherwise they can become extinct. Trees require more attention. 

N.S.: 1 agree with Or Nayar. As custodians, KFD should take the initiative. 

Handbooks, CDs, and videos can also be brought out, so that untrained people can 

also understand and identify the species. 

Dr.V.M. Chandrashekara: We have established nearly 60 permanent plots for the 

study of biodiversity, distributed throughout Kerala. And we have located the rare 

tree, Actinodaphne lawsonii, in two of plots in the Nilambur area. 

Government of Kerala 

FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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        Ecologically Fragile Lands  



Mr. V.K. Sinha: Do KFRI have programmes for population ecological and 

reproductive biological studies other than just exploration and identification? 



N.S.: Yes. Dr K. Balasubramaniam will review it during his presentation. 

Dr. C. Kunhikannan: Some of the RET plants such Ellipnnthes neglectus have been 

located in sacred groves.  



N.S.: Sacred groves are really interesting and rich in plant diversity. They should be 

protected. 



Mr. Nagesh Prabhu: Are RET species assessed on the basis of IUCN criteria? Are the 

ecologically valuable RET species economically also valuable? Are you going to 

involve forest officials in conserving the RET species?  

N.S.: Yes, the RET species are to be assessed based on the recently revised IUCN 

(1994) criteria. Their website gives the details. Just as the RET species are ecologically 

important, many of them are economically important too. In fact, some of them are 

keystone species. Perhaps Dr M.P. Nayar can further highlight this aspect. We 

would be very happy to involve the forest officials for conservation of the RET 

species. 



Dr.M.P. Nayar: The RET species are dependant on other species for their survival- 

e.g. for pollinators. The relationship is actually mutual. Take the case-of Cullenia 

exarillata - the lion tailed macaques are dependant on it for food. Conservation 

biology is related to the web of life. Any break in the food chain or web will create 

loss of species. Keystone species are important. So a holistic ecosystem study 

approach is required. The recently revised IUCN criteria provide more guidelines 

for defining the different RET categories. 

Dr J.K. Sharma: RET species should be studied in close association with other 

species as they have strong ecological niches. Dr Nair has indeed made some good 

comments on this. Since a holistic approach is required, institutions should come 

together to tackle the problems jointly. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government of Kerala 



FORESTS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 

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