Vascular plant assemblage of cliffs in northern Western Ghats, India

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Mandar N. Datar
Aparna V. Watve


Vertical rocky cliffs, which consist of various types of rock, are widespread all over the world.  India’s northern Western Ghats consisting of basaltic rocks form probably the largest cliff ecosystem globally, however, almost no studies are available concerning their floristic richness.  In an attempt to understand the vascular plant assemblage of this habitat, cliffs of the northern Western Ghats were surveyed for their microhabitats, species diversity, distribution of endemics, occurrence of particular adaptive traits and potential threats.  A total of 102 species of vascular plants were documented from the cliff habitats of which 55 are endemic. Flowering of the species on cliffs is triggered by the advent of the south-west monsoon and peak flowering is seen between August and October.  Of the total species, 27 grow exclusively on cliffs. Owing to habitat specificity, cliffs show a greater number of narrow endemic and threatened species when compared with other habitats like deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, which are widespread in the northern Western Ghats.  Unfortunately, this habitat faces threats in the form of landslides, periodic burning and habitat loss due to road-widening.

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Author Biographies

Mandar N. Datar, Biodiversity and Paleobiology Group Agharkar Research Institute, G. G. Agarkar Road, Pune 04 Maharashtra

Biodiversity and Paleobiology Group

Aparna V. Watve, Biome Conservation Foundation, 34/6, Gulawani Maharaj Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411004, India

Apsinga Road, Post Box No. 09, Tal: Tuljapur Dist. Osmanabad-413 601
Maharashtra, India.
Phone :(+91) 9270105222//3/4/5/6  Extension 200(o) 106(r)
Fax : 02471-242061


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