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:


  • Forests towards carbon mitigation: Carbon sequestration in any given forest is related to forest biomass. Basal area/ha is an index of the forest biomass. Higher carbon sequestration in stream course/swamp forests was a significant find of this study.In Kathalekan forests 9 forest samples along the water course-swamp parts had average carbon storage of 211.87 t/ha. In the nine samples from forest away from water course areas, carbon sequestration was lesse at 165.54 t/ha. On a hilltop savannized part, obviously due to shifting cultivation practice in the past, the carbon sequestration was very poor at 5.03 t/ha only. Numerous hill tops and wind exposed slopes of the district are in savannized state with poor biomass, demonstrating the fact clear felling of a rain forest can bring in desertified conditions.  Nevertheless, these grassy patches  Considering forest as a place of tree growth, often also with undergrowth, the savannised forests and several secondary forest samples subjected to ongoing human impacts, or sytems recovering from past human impacts,  had some of the least basal areas, irrespective of whether they fall in high, moderate or low rainfall areas. All the taluks have such forests, which are low in biomass. Altogether 3 out of 116 samples, as studied by transect cum quadrat method, had basal areas of < 10 sq.m, 10 transects had basal areas between 10-20 sq.m/ha and 17 had between 20-30 sq.m. To such degraded forest areas also belongs bulk of the Soppinbetta or leaf manure forests allotted to arecanut garden owners of mainly the malnadu areas, for exercising the traditional privileges, importantly leaf manure collection. Thus a betta inTalekere of Siddapur had only 10.12 sq.m basal area ha and Hartebailu betta in same taluk had only 17.80 sq.m/ha basal area.  Gondsur-Sampekattu betta in Sirsi taluk had just 3.74 sq.m as the basal area.  Hiresara bettaland in Yellapur was exceptional in having 41.73 sw.m basal area.
  • Riparian forest protection: River and stream bank forests, including inland swamp area forests are to be considered as endangered ecosystems for various reasons, including for their high accumulation of biomass and higher levels of carbon sequestration. Forest rangewise river-stream-swamp protection action plans, incorporating adequate amount of inviolate vegetation growth for protection of ecology of these vital water courses along with their rare and endemic species is critical. The maps and action plans prepared for special protection of such areas should be included in the forest working plans of every forest division. If such working plans are already prepared these should be still prepared as supplements. Timber extraction, conversion into monoculture plantations, or encroachments or any developmental activities should not be allowed affecting these inviolate forests.
  • Protection of Myristica swamps: These are remnants of the original primeval forests of the Western Ghats. The lineage of such forests could be traced to the supercontinent of Gondwanaland. The swamps, repositories of ancient and highly threatened rare biodiversity, are under various kinds of threats. They would have perished in large scale in early agricultural  history of Western Ghats, being reclaimed for rice fields and betelnut gardens. Many of the last remaining fragments of swamps are also under threat from agricultural expansion. The swmaps should be demarcated in the forest working plans for the relevant areas and recommended for protection through preferably co-mamagement with the VFCs. The catchment areas for the swamps are to be protected from any kind of human disturbances being very important sources of hydrology. Kathalekan swamps in Siddapur taluk, being the most precious genepool of threatened plants and amphibains, among others,  beng situated alongside the Honavar-Bangalore highway might get wiped out in case of road widening. The widening should not be permitted through any of the Myristica swamps or primary forest remnants.
  • Conservation of unique forest related cultural identities: The district abounds in forest related unique cultural identities like sacred groves and sacred trees. Sacred groves are known by various names like kans or devarabanas (often the presiding deities’ names are added to respective banas-kans- such as Jatakabana, Choudibana, Kari-kanamman-bana, Hulidevarukan, Naagarabana etc.). Numerous ancient trees, especially of genus Ficus, or several others like Mimusops elengi, Mesua ferrea, Mangifera indica, Mammea suriga, Aegle marmelos etc. are present dotting the landscapes of villages and towns signifying sacred locations of cultural value. Whereas the kans were traditionally large groves, of several hectares or even few in area (Kathalekanfor eg.), the banas are smaller ones, mostly within an acre in area. While the former is associated often with other forests or wilderness the latter is often found closer to or within human settlements. The kans were places where tree cutting was not permitted under traditional management, but NTFPs could be taken care of and harvested (eg. Wild pepper, cinnamon, toddy and starch from Caryota urens etc.). The kans  while protecting wild genepool amidst secondary, human impacted landscapes, also acted as safety  forests, being fireproof systems due to their evergreenness and high humidity, as sources of perennial streams and springs and as sources of NTFP. The smaller groves the banas, were not traditionally violated for any form of bioresources. In short both kans and banas were unique cultural identitites of the region while they preserved the region’s climax vegetation. With the process of forest settlement during the British period, most of the kans lost their original identity as village sacred groves from safety forests, and were treated not much different from other forests. The smaller sacred groves are under shrinkage too due to erosion of conservation ethics due to changing cultural worldviews of the local communities (Chandran, 1998; Chandran and Gadgil, 1993).  A detailed survey of 86 villages gave details about the presence of 241 sacred groves. We strongly recommend that the Government through the Forest Department take immediate steps to revive the system of preservation of these ancient sacred groves however small they are.
  • Identification and recouperation old kan forests: Kan forests were sacred forests of local rural communities of central Western Ghats. They are known as devarakadus in Coorg district. Devarakadus of Coorg have official recognition as sacred forests to this day. The kans of Shimoga district were demarcated in maps and their areas were already listed from early British period. But the British did not recognize the sacredness of the kans. In Uttara Kannada many kans of Sirsi and Siddapur were demarcated villagewise in forest settlement reports. At the same time many other kans got merged with rest of the reserved forests without any special status conferred on them and subsequently it became difficult even to locate their boundaries. Such is the case of Kathalekan in Siddapur, Karikan in Honavar and Halsollikan in Ankola which we studied in detail. All these three kans, despite being reserved forest areas, are associated with sacred locations within them or in their vicinity, where local people continued the worship of deities. Interestingly all these places continued to maintain their distinctness as relics of primary evergreen forests embedded in a vast matrix of secondary forests. All these forests have Dipterocarpus indicus, a primary evergreen forest tree of South Indian Western Ghats. This species, though commoner in more southern forests, have isolated occurrences in Uttara Kannada mostly associated with kan forests. The presence of this Endangered evergreen tree has enhanced the conservation value of all these forests.  Asollikan is a locality where we observed also the Critically Endangered tree Madhuca bourdillonnii.  The discovery of this rarest species in Ankola taluk, once thought to be extinct and rediscovered in southern Kerala Ghats in its original home range, is an instance of traditional, community based conservation practice. Presence of species like Myristica magnifica (Endangered), Syzygium travancoricum (Critically Endangered), Gymnacranthera canarica (Vulnerable) and Semecarpus kathalekanensis (newly described  tree species from the Myristica swamps of Karikan, underscores the importance of surveying, demarcating and protecting  the lost kans (sacred forests) of pre-colonial times, and demarcating them for more careful protection and restoration through natural regeneration. The kan forest areas, were considered during British period as hydrologically important areas, being associated with perennial streams and springs (Chandran and Gadgil, 1993). Even a small kan of just one ha, in the Mattigar village of Siddapur taluk has Syzygium travancoricum  (Critically Endangered)  and Vateria indica (Endangered).  The kans, many of them in ruins, due to various reasons, should be salvaged and brought under a system of co-management involving the local VFCs, if they are closer to villages.
  • Conservation and promotion of forest endemism: High rainfall areas have high biodiversity values and higher conservation values. High rainfall areas of malnadu and coastal taluks are major seats of endmic biodiversity of both palnts and animals. Kathalekan studies in Siddapur taluk (by various investigators) reveal how the high endemism is associated with Myristica swamps, at least 35 species of amphibians, endemic hornbills and Imperial pigeon, Endangered primate Lion –tailed macaque etc. The very distribution of fresh water fishes is highly correlated to terrestrial landscape elements, of which quantity and quality of evergreen forests are more important. Of the 64 species of fresh water fishes reported from Sharavathi River, including in its catchment areas of Shimoga, 18 species were endemics to Western Ghats, including three new species Batasio sharavathiensis, Schistura nagodiensis and S. sharavathiensis  and 24 species confined to Peninsular India (Bhat and Jayaram, 2004; Sreekantha et al, 2007).
  • Upgrading biomass in deciduous forests and secondary deciduous forests: The quality and quantity of a deciduous forest stand is very much reflected in its total biomass of which basal area is an index. Eleven forests surveyed in the deciduous forest zone of Haliyal and Mundgod taluks reveal unsatisfactory biomass, estimated basal areas/ha being in ranges of 10-20 sq.m for three samples, 20-30 sq.m for five samples, 30-40 sq.m for just two samples and only one falls in 40-50 sq.m category (43.09 sq.m at Godnol in Mundgod). Forest fragmentation of high order, shifting cultivation practices in the past, massive conversions into monoculture plantations, clear felling and selection felling rampantly practiced in the past are some of the major causes for low basal areas. Compact stretches of forests especially in areas thinly populated by humans may be prioritised for developing ideal forests of high stuature through special protection and periodical monitoring of the progress of natural succession and tree growth. The forest management should aim at developing in the deciduous forest zone of Mundgod, Haliyal, in the drier eastern parts  of especially Joida, Yellapur and Sirsi compact stands with basal areas exceeding 35 sq.m/ha.
  • Increasing biomass and diversity in secondary deciduous forests of coastal taluks: The secondary moist deciduous forests along the coastal taluks have been in impoverished state due to high density human impacts. Bulk of such forests constituted the ‘minor forests’ meant for meeting the biomass needs of coastal people, including cattle grazing. Through special protection of promising forest patches using barbed wire fencing, and closing any kind of exploitation in such protected areas, natural regeneration can be promoted, for at least five year period. Thereafter these forests can be open for free movement of wildlife and more such selected blocks can be protected, using the mode of forest working plans.
  1. Demarcation of potential areas for conservation of congregation of endemic trees: Our survey reveals there are special areas in the forests where species like Myristica fatua, Dipterocarpus indicus, Syzygium travancoricum etc. congregate. More such areas should be traced out through the involvement of forest guards and village people and earmarked for special conservation efforts.
  2. Importance of conservation of the native flora of coastal laterite hills and plateaus: From ancient times the coastal hills and plateaus of Uttara Kannada, from Ankola to Bhatkal, presented a picture of a barren and desolate terrain with sparse growth of woody vegetation. As such these were demarcated as minor forests for meeting the biomass needs of the local population and for cattle grazing. Many have been used in the recent decades for raising monocultures of Acacia auriculiformis. Our studies reveal that during the rainy season, open lateritic areas get carpeted with tiny herbs, where billions of flowers bloom providing crucial off-season nectar resources for honey bees, which, especaially the domesticated ones, are otherwise to be fed artificially using sugar/jiggery solutions.
  3. Forest resources for improving economic conditions of local citizens: Regarding scope for forestry based alternative development plan for enhancing the economic productivity of the region we wish to state that since bulk of the lands in the district (over 70% area) being under the control of the Forest Department there is very little scope for economic advancement of bulk of the local population beyond subsistence level unless suitable small scale enterprenureship complementary to forests and nature are nurtured in the district. This recommendation is made considering the least scope in the district  for major developmental interventions due to the fragility of the terrain and the ecosystems. As economic growth gets stunted people, especially younger generation tend to migrate into the cities for better prospects. Such mass migrations from rural areas will be too exacting on the carrying capacities of cities- Bangalore, for instance is burgeoning with population and developmental activities with heavy toll on ecology the impacts far reaching even on ecology of Western Ghats. To reverse the trend as far as Uttara Kannada is concerned the following recommendations are made for creation of more of forestry based livelihoods without any major interventions into the ecosystems as such: 
    • Sustainable use of soppinbettas: Soppinbettas are forests allotted to arecanut garden owners of mainly the malnadu areas, for exercising the traditional privileges, importantly leaf manure collection. The farmers do not have tree rights in these bettas although in most bettas we observed trees are constantly lopped for leaf manure collection, apart from collection of leaf litter from the ground. Bettas sampled were understocked in tree biomass ( a betta in Talekere of Siddapur had only 10.12 sq.m basal area ha,  in Hartebailu of same taluk a betta had only 17.80 sq.m/ha basal area and in  Gondsur-Sampekattu betta in Sirsi taluk it was abysmally low 3.72 sq. m) Some farmers maintain bettalands in better conditions eg. Hiresara bettaland in Yellapur (basal area 41.73 sq.m/ha). One of the reasons for understocking and low biomass is that many farmers also use the bettas as tree savannas interspersed with grassy areas; as a result they are able to maintain improved cattle unlike the coastal farmers who are hard pressed for fodder grasses even to feed their diminutive indigenous cattle.  The laxity in betta management is partly due to the general fear among the farmers that any improvement in the betta forests at their expenses will not be repaying for them as they do not enjoy absolute ownership over the betta lands or the trees.  It is recommended here that the farmers be allowed to have rights on the trees (for timber and fuel) in the betta if they upgrade the tree biomass from present basal area indicator of less than <20 sq.m/ha to minimum of 30-35 sq.m/ha, which minimum limit the Forest Department may fix after examination of the condition of the betta on a case to case basis.
    • Promotion of bee keeping:  Uttara Kannada has ideal district for promotion of bee keeping. Bee keeping is complementary to forestry and farming because of pollination benefits. Uttara Kannada can reap enormous benefits through especially production of forest and farming based organic honey. Even roadsides and wastelands can be planted with nectar producing plant species. Although about 7000 area is under forest cover the district has achieved only very little progress in bee keeping. One of the key reasons is the inadequacy of bee forage plant species in the village peripheral forests which are often in degraded state, with scanty attention paid to enriching them with bee forage plants. Particularly nectar producing species, groups of them flowering in different times of the year, composed of a community of site specific flowering herbs, shrubs, climbers and trees are to be promoted to support apiculture in villages. Even the landless and marginal farmers can involve in bee keeping depending on bee forage plants in forests, roadsides, mangroves and beaches. Through proper planning and implementation of ‘forests for bee keeping’ project, hypothetically, at the density of two bee colonies per ha of forest (not necessarily by placing bee boxes in every ha of forest, as the bees travel few km in search of forage plants; for eg. Apis dorsata has a foraging range of 3 km radius -Batra, 2001), at a modest estimate honey production based on 700,000 ha of forests at 40 kg/ha using native bees Apis cerana, and Rs.200/- kg rate at prevailing minimum rate, can yield 28,000 tons of honey worth Rs.560 crore. Honey is a good health food in demand nationally and internationally. Proper marketing as organic forest honey can fetch much more income (for eg. Soapnut tree based honey fetches upwards of Rs.700/- kg). Surplus honey can be used in the mid-day meal programmes for school students. To achieve such ambitious target we recommend that even a wing of Forest Department be made to promote apiculture related activities.

     The bettaland farmers should be assisted in bee keeping activities aiming at a minimum of one bee box for every acre of betta. They are to be guided in enriching the bettalands with bee forage plants so that the vegetation of impoverished bettas are also improved. Improved vegetation and better ground cover can also improve local hydrological conditions.  A single bee colony (in a bee box) can earn for the farmer Rs.4000/- extra money, through better management and vegetational enrichment. The farmers also stand to gain from increased farm productivity due to the pollination services from bees, and NTFPs from bee forage plants.  The farmers need training in bee keeping related activities. Sirsi-Siddapur taluks, which have some of the highest forest fragmentation in the district, can also substantially improve the forest wealth through betta rehabilitation.

    • Promotion of marketable medicinal plants: The farmers require a helping hand in growing and marketing of medicinal plants and their products. The farmers would look forward to the Government/Forest Department, for acting as a purchasing agency for medicinal plants or their products. In this regard by undertaking the role of a facilitator between the producer and the purchaser (pharmaceutical companies) the Government/Forest Department would play a vital role in biodiversity conservation and enhancing the value of bettalands, minor forests, and even those who grow medicinal plants in their household gardens or private lands. The role of Forest Department as a purchasing agency while bettering local livelihoods  can also stop smuggling of medicinal plants from the forests and other unauthorized exploitation by outside agencies
    • Biopesticides  from forest plants: Various plant species of the district viz. neem, Pongamia, Vitex negundo etc. are sources of biopesticides. Promotion of such plants in VFC managed forests and bettalands can further the cause of organic farming in the district while also earning extra income to the locals from production of marketable, homemade biopesticide formulations, under an assited programme from the Government. Neem based pesticide formulations are widely popular in the world. Azadirachtin, the main active principle of neem is also found in Melia azedarach (Hebbevu)of same family. However, use of such pesticides in India is making tardy progress, despite the fact that knowledge base for neem pesticidal properties is from India. Bark extract of Acacia nilotica has been found to provide complete protection to oranges from the blue mold fungus (Varma and Dubey, 1999). Leaf extract of Clerodendron inerme, a hedge plant and coastal shrub, is found effective against red spider mite. Use of Lantana camara extract to control cotton pests is a good example of agrass root level practice (Varshney, 2006). Strychnine from Strychnos nux-vomica is used as a rat poison. Pongamia leaves and bark are sources of traditional biopesticides, especially having insect deterrant properties (Kiruba et al., 2006). Seeds of the giant forest liana Entada pursaetha are used to control rats in the Garo Hills of North-East India.
    • Vegetable dyes from forest plants: World over, especially from developed countries, there is growing demand for textiles dyed using vegetable dyes. Total market for herbal dyes was estimated to be worth US$ one billion and growing annually at the rate of 12% (Gokhale et al., 2004). India has a wealth of traditional knowledge on production of plant based textile (for cotton, wool and silk) and leather dyes. The market demand for such dyes is yet unrealized in the absence of surveys. It is right time for Uttara Kannada district to capture this market using the enormous potential for growing plant sources of vegetable dyes in the VFC managed areas, including sea beaches and mangroves, under a sustained programme including training programmes for transfer of appropriate technology. Numerous plant species can be promoted for dye production in cottage industry level:
      • Acacia catechu (Khair): Catechin red from wood for dyeing silk, cotton and calico printing
      • Acacia nilotica (Jali): Catechin from wood for dyeing light yellow, dark grey, reddish brown
      • Aegle marmelos (Bilpatri): Marmalosin from fruit rind for yellow and gray
      • Bauhinia purpurea (Mandara): Chalcone and butein for dyeing and tanning purple
      • Butea monosperma (Muttaga): Dried flowers with several components for dyeing of silk brilliant yellow
      • Caesalpinia sappan: Brazilin from wood and pods for red and black
      • Cassia fistula (Kakkemara): Bark and sapwood for red
      • Cassia tora (Tagati): Rubrofusarin from seeds for tannin and dyeing blue
      • Chukrasia tabularis (Gnadhagarige): Leaves for red
      • Dipterocarpus spp. : Bark for brown and gray
      • Madhuca indica (Mahua): Bark for reddish yellow
      • Mallotus phillippensis (Kumkum): Fruits for dyeing silk red
      • Mangifera indica (Mango): Bark and leaves for dyeing silk yellow
      • Morinda citrifolia (Noni): Morindin from root and bark for dyeing silk dull red
      • Pterocarpus marsupium (Bet-honne): Epicatechin from bark for dyeing silk brownish red
      • Rubia cordifolia (Manishta): Manjistin and purpurin from stem and bark for reddish brown, light pink, light brown, gray
      • Terminalia arjuna (Holematti): Arjunic acid from bark for light brown
      • Terminalia chebula (Haritagi): Chebulinic acid from fruits for yellow and dark gray
      • Tectona grandis (Teak): For dyeing silk yellow
      • Ventilago maderaspatana: Ventilagin from root and bark for colouring cotton and tassar silk chocolate
      • Woodfordia fruticosa: Lawsone from leaves and flower for dyeing pink or red
      • Zizyphus jujube (Bora): Fruit as modant in dyeing silk

There are many more such plant sources of dyes. The important needs before implementation are:

  • Documentation of traditional practices, study of local and global demands
  • Improvisation of traditional techniques
  • Commercial cultivation of wild sources
  • Standardisation in dyeing practices
    • Cosmetics and nutraceuticals from the wild:  As such lot of authorised and unauthorised extraction of NTFP used for cosmetics and nutraceuticals are happening in the district, for instance from plants like Garcinia spp. Kokam fat from Garcinia seeds has global demand as is most sought after for preparing skin creams. Following in importance is seed fat from Madhuca indica (mahua tree). Garcinia cambogea and Phyllanthus emblica are few among several nutraceutical plants, the multiplication and sustainable harvests of which can generate considerable rural employment. The traditional  Indian cosmetic products of India came from a variety of plants like Amla, Shikakai (Acacia concinna), neem, soapnut (Sapindus laurifolius),
    • VFC managed sandal farms: Sandalwood (Santalum album) is perhaps the costliest of tree species in the world, Karnataka being its greatet production centre. The high cost of the wood has become baneful to the species, as the tree faces highest smuggling risks. Individual householders and farmers seldom dare to grow this valuable species due to their inability to safeguard it. Collective responsibility by village community seems to be the only course for the future of sandal. We therefore recommend the adoption of the species by VFCs in their respective jurisdiction especially in the taluks of Mundgod and Haliyal and eastern parts of Sirsi, Yellapur and Siddapur.
    • VFC managed medicinal plant areas: Medicinal plant gardens of fast depleting and highly traded species may be promoted through VFCs for growing Salacia chinensis, Nothopodytes foetida, Embelia spp., Coscinium fenestratum, Costus speciosus, Rauwolfia serpentine, Asparagus racemosus etc. Many highly degraded forests, scrubs and thickets contain numerous medicinal plants particularly near coastal areas. These are to be mapped and brought under strict in situ conservation measures, so as to preserve the native medicinal gene pool.
    • Forests for ecotourism: Natural and cultural heritage are primary attractants for tourism world over. Uttara Kannada is an idyllic district of valley villages of lush greenery merging with wooded hillsides and grasslands offering tremendous scope for development of eco-tourism and study tourism. Tourism flourishes especially in areas with more than two landscape elements meet – such as sandy seashore and beach forest (eg. Kasarkod), sea shore and hillscape (eg. Apsarakonda), waterfall and forest (eg. Jog, Unchalli and Magod waterfalls), pilgrimage and picnic trail through forest to cathedral rocks (eg. Yana, or to hilltop shrine of Karikanamma in the vicinity of Dipterocarpus sacred grove) and so on. In all these places and in many more areas, apart from National  park and sanctuary, the Forest Department has demonstrated that tourism can be conducted successfully to benefit the local communities organized into VFCs. This facet of development with the vision of upgrading livelihoods of grass root level people while also enriching forests, mangroves, sea beaches and coastal laterite plateaus has been successfully worked out by the Honavar Forest Division, at Apsarakonda, Om Beach (Gokarna), Kasarkod, Bellangi etc. The potential should be developed so as to generate income to the locals through preservation of their local environment and local cultures without the need for migration into cities in search of employment. Key elements for successful development of eco-tourism are limiting growth within sustainable limits (Jog Falls, unfortunately, is a location where ecological norms are not adhered to creating considerable negative impact on environment), generating benefits to the local community (and not to major enterprises from outside), monitoring and mitigating ecological impacts (mostly not happening in our ecotourism areas, except in PAs). Partnership with local community/VFC is of great importance of success of ecotourism. We recommend that in all areas with ongoing, potential ecotourism training be imparted to especially local youth in successful management of tourism, in running forest trails, in bird watching, familiarisation with local flora and fauna etc. Liberal issuance of licenses for home stays and community/VFC managed cottages is necessary for ecotourism to benefit grassroot level people and environment.
    • NTFP species raising and utilisation: For betterment of livelihoods at local level NTFP yielding species should be raised on a larger scale in VFC areas. Auctioning of NTFP to contractors is found to be injurious to forests due to overharvests, unscientific harvesting methods and for the poor returns of revenue to the State. The local VFCs, tribal societies, self-help groups of women etc should be prioritised for NTFP harvests.
    • Decentralised systems of forest nurseries:  For generating women’s employment in village areas and also providing scope for application of indigenous farming techniques for forestry purposes sets of local species may be raised in household nurseries.
  1. Village level biodiversity hotspots: Our studies show that biodiversity conservation values are correlated to forest endemism. Although Western Ghats itself is part of a global biodiversity hotspot, the concept of village level biodiversity hotspots should be promoted through community participation. Such hotspots, which are especially centres of local level biodiversity, should be identified and special attention given to their protection through Biodiversity Management Committees/Village Forest Committees. Eventually these special patches should serve as local climax natural ecosystems also strengthening local hydrology.
  2. Decentralised systems of forest nurseries: Villagers in close vicinity of forest areas may be commissioned to raise small scale nurseries of selected species flowering plants for replanting inn forest areas, roadsides etc. to reduce the load on the understaffed Forest Department which is required to spend considerable time and resources  on large scale nurseries.  This will increase rural employment, especially for women while also giving scope for application of indigenous planting techniques.
  3. Promoting food plants for wild animals: Bulk of Uttara Kannada forests are of secondary nature, either old growth forests or forests, scrub and savannah in different stages of succession. As such these massive vegetational changes that have happened through centuries of human impacts, have adverse consequences on native fauna thinning the populations of many or causing their local extinctions. Leaving aside old growth forests, which should not be subjected to any kinds of tampering, the rest should be enriched with food plants for various faunal elements, particularly birds and frugivorous bats, primates and other mammals. This enrichment is also necessary to reduce crop raiding by wild animals. Care should be take to preserve grassy blanks within forest areas, critical resources necessary for grazing wild animals. Such grassy blanks should not be subjected to afforestation.
  4. VFC based resource monitoring: As villages are dispersed in Uttara Kannada all over forest areas it would make much sense to adopt a system of participatory resource estimation and monitoring within their respective areas- such as estimates of Myristica, cinnamon, gooseberry, Garcinias and other NTFP plants, key medicinal plants like Nothapodytes, Cosicinim, Salacia, Embelia and so on as well as of honey bee colonies within forests. This will strengthen bonds between the Forest Department and village communities while also getting a fair idea of the worth of forests at local level for the provisional goods they contain.
  5. Meeting the fuel needs: Fuel extraction, both legal (especially removal of dead and fallen from interior forests) and illegal by local population is instrumental in degradation of many forests. Energy efficienct stoves, biogas, solar devices, use of agricultural wastes etc. are to be promoted as fuel in rural areas. At the same time adequate fuelwood/or other alternative fuels should be granted to cottage industries run by potters, lime makers etc.
  6. Selecting appropriate areas for tree plantations: Raising monocultural/mixed tree plantations has to be site specific. Planting of Acacia auriculiformis has to be restricted to rocky or otherwise impoverished terrain and not in lands with good soil resources where native species are to be preferred.
  7. Dispensing with the practice of climber cutting: Climber cutting is an archaic practice in forestry to promote tree growth. The Western Ghats harbour good diversity of climbers including endemic ones.  The climber cutting practice has to be disbanded or restricted to tree plantations only as it would otherwise   cause destruction of biodiversity including medicinal plants and entail adverse impacts on wildlife. 

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

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