Floristic Diversity in Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka
Ramachandra T.V, Subash Chandran M.D, Rao G.R, Vishnu Mukri, Joshi N.V

Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore 560 012, URL:

Effects of Mega projrcts on Forest Ecosystem

Eversince the arrival of early agriculturists in Uttara Kannada, over three millennia ago, forest have undergone substantial changes because of shifting cultivation and clearance of valley forests for garden cultivation and rice fields. The savannisation of coastal lateritic hills for shifting cultivation, savannization for cattle grazing had beginnings in the pre-historical Uttara Kannada (Chandran, 1997, 1998). However, the early settlers came into equilibrium with nature and Uttara Kannada remained till modern days as one of the most forested districts in the country. Another wave of serious alterations in forests began with the British arrival when timber became a major commodity for sale. The early depletion of natural teak by the close of 19th century was followed by widespread deforestation for raising teak monoculture plantations, not only in its natural deciduous forest zone but also in the heavy rainfall western parts of the district, upsetting ecological conditions substantially.

The post-independence era saw arrival of forest based megaprojects which due to non-sustainable use of timber and bamboo caused considerable forest impoverishment. These industries were given raw materials at abysmally low rates prompting non-sustainable and exhaustive harvesting of resources. The earliest megaproject, Indian Plywood Company started in 1940’s in Dandeli. When the prime timbers from deciduous forests were exhausted the factory was given leases for timber from evergreen forest zone. The system of selection felling in the climax evergreen forests had devastating effects on the forest ecosystems. The factory was eventually closed when it could not get adequate raw materials. The West Coast Paper Mills set up at Dandeli in 1958 was given bamboo at very low rates. As lakhs of tons of bamboo were harvested bamboo resources got depleted, forcing the factory to get bamboo from elsewhere and later switching onto pulpwood. Matchwood companies and packing case units were also given concessional timber. All this went on until late 1980’s when the Government prohibited all kinds of green fellings in the forests (Gadgil and Chandran, 1989). Considerable areas of land, incuding good share of forests, were released for various developmental projects (Table 1).








Citation : Ramachandra T.V., Subash Chandran M.D., Rao G R, Vishnu D. Mukri and Joshi N.V., 2015. Floristic diversity in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, Chapter 1, In Biodiversity in India-Vol. 8, Pullaiah and Sandhya Rani (Eds), Regency publications, New Delhi, Pp 1-87

Corresponding author:

  Dr. T.V. Ramachandra

Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES TE 15
Centre for Ecological Sciences
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