The present study deals with the diversity of pteridophytes in the wet evergreen forests of Sakleshpur taluk of Hassan district in central Western Ghats. A significant portion of the study area comprises of the Gundia river catchment region which is considered to be the ‘hottest hotspot of biodiversity’ as it shelters numerous endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna. Survey of various macro and micro habitats was carried out in this region, also a haven for pteridophytes. A total of 45 species of pteridophytes from 19 families were recorded in the study. The presence of South Indian endemics like Cyathea nilgirensis, Bolbitis subcrenatoides, B. semicordata and Osmunda huegeliana signifies the importance of this region as a crucial centre of pteridophytes. Similar regions in the Western Ghats, rich in network of perennial streams have been targeted widely for irrigation and power projects. With regard to an impending danger in the form a proposed hydro-electric project in the Gundia River, threatening the rich biodiversity, an overall ecological evaluation was carried out in the entire river basin. Special attention was paid to inventorisation of the pteridophytes, seldom ever attempted in such cases. The overall efforts succeeded in thwarting off the imminent project, thereby underscoring the necessity of making such studies as a prerequisite for any development programmes in biodiversity hotspots.

Keywords: Pteridophytes, Sakleshpur, Western Ghats, Biodiversity hotspots