The characteristics, representativeness, function and conservation importance of tropical dry evergreen forest on India’s Coromandel Coast

Main Article Content

Mark Everard
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0251-8482

Abstract

The central area of the Coromandel Coast, southeastern India, has been subject to a very long history of human habitation and land use change, substantially reducing the coverage of native forest.  There are polarised views about definitive characteristics of native tropical dry evergreen forest (TDEF), albeit agreement that the habitat type is locally characteristic though now severely reduced, fragmented and degraded.  A literature review was undertaken to determine the evolutionary origins of TDEF as well as its characteristics.  A combination of both natural and human factors gives rise to TDEF, explaining the heterogeneity of existing stands even in close proximity to each other.  Religious shrines are often associated with ‘sacred groves’, which are influential in the survival of stands of TDEF.  These remaining stands are highly fragmented across the wider landscape and subject to species invasions from adjacent habitats as well as increasing human pressures.  On the basis of existing evidence, it is not possible to describe TDEF through a definitive community of tree species, though typical constituent species are listed.  TDEF may therefore be representative of a larger biome, as for example ‘tropical rainforest’, rather than a specific vegetation type.  Nevertheless, there is general consensus about the importance of restoring TDEF, including its many associated plant and animal species, many of which have medicinal, spiritual and other uses and meanings.  Regardless of biological definitions of TDEF, the functions it performs and the diversity of ecosystem services that it provides afford it substantial importance and reinforce the case for its protection and restoration.  Successful local restoration activities highlight the feasibility of regeneration of TDEF, even from severely degraded and eroded land, and the associated regeneration of ecological and socio-economic values.

 

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Everard, M. 2018. The characteristics, representativeness, function and conservation importance of tropical dry evergreen forest on India’s Coromandel Coast. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10, 6 (May 2018), 11760–11769. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2807.10.6.11760-11769.
Section
Peer Commentaries
Author Biography

Mark Everard, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Coldharbour Ln, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK

Dr Mark Everard’s research interests include ecosystem services, in particular human-ecosystem interdependences underpinning development challenges.  He works extensively in India, with significant experience in other developing world settings including elsewhere in South Asia and both East and South Africa.  Mark is a communicator in scientific and popular media about the multiple values that ecosystems provide for people.


References

Baithalu, S., M. Anbarashan & N. Parthasarathy (2012). Changes in tree diversity and stand structure of two tropical dry evergreen forests on the Coromandel Coast of peninsular India over a decade (2001-2011). International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 38(2-3): 87–96.

Baithalu, S., M. Anbarashan & N. Parthasarathy (2013). Two-decadal changes in forest structure and tree diversity in a tropical dry evergreen forest on the Coromandel Coast of India. Tropical Ecology 54(3): 395–401.

Balachandran, N., K. Rajendiran & W.F. Gastmans (2015). Occurrence of three Western Ghats elements in dry evergreen forest of Gingee Hills, Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(14): 8177–8181; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2433.7.14.8177-8181

Balasubramanian, P. (1996). Interactions between fruit-eating birds and bird-dispersed plants in the tropical dry evergreen forest in Point Calimere, South India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93(3): 428–441.

Balasubramanian, P. & P.V. Bole (1993). Seed dispersal by mammals at Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 90(1): 33–44.

Begley, V. (1993). New investigations at the port of Arikamedu. Journal of Roman Archaeology 6: 93–108.

Begley, V., P.J. Francis, I. Mahadevan, K.V. Raman, S.E. Sidebotham, K.W. Slane & E.L. Will (1996). The Ancient Port of Arikamedu, École Francaise d’Extrême-Orient, Paris, 433pp.

Bhattacharya, A.K., S. Basak, P. Maity, L.K. Paira, S. Sarkar & S.C. Maji (2005). Hydrogeology of the Bay of Bengal coast of India with special emphasis on saline water intrusion. Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering 0477. [online].

(http://www.ejge.com/2004/Ppr0477/Ppr0477.htm, accessed 5 April 2018.)

Blanchflower, P. (2003). Some notes on the tropical dry evergreen forest of south India. Auroville Botanical Garden, Pondicherry, 33pp.

Blanchflower, P. (2005). Restoration of the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest of Peninsular India. Biodiversity 6(3): 17–24.

Blasco, F. & P. Legris (1973). Dry evergreen forest of Calimere and Marakanam. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 70(2): 279–294.

Briggs, J.C. (2003). The biogeographic and tectonic history of India. Journal of Biogeography 30(3): 381–388.

Bunyavejchewin, S. (1999). Structure and dynamics in seasonal dry evergreen forest in northeastern Thailand. Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 787–792.

Champion, H.G. (1936). A preliminary survey of the forest types of India and Burma. India Forest Records 1: 1–286.

Champion, H.G. & S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. Government of India Press, Delhi, 404pp.

Chandra, M. (2011). Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India. Abhinav Publications, Buldana, Maharashtra. 274pp.

Chandrakanth, M.G., J.K. Gilless, V. Gowramma & M.G. Nagaraja (1990). Temple forests in India’s forest development. Agroforestry Systems 11: 199–211.

Dabholkar, M.V. (1962). The mapping of the natural vegetation of South Arcot District and Pondicherry at 1: 253440 scale according to the method of Gaussen. Journal of Biological Sciences 5: 40–50.

Daniels, R.J.R., V.S. Ramachandran, J. Vencatesan, V. Ramakantha & J.P. Puyravaud (2007). Dispelling the myth of tropical dry evergreen forests of India. Current Science 92(5): 586–588.

Everard, M. (2014). Nature’s marketplace. The Environmentalist March: 21–23.

Everard, M., J.W.S. Longhurst, J. Pontin, W. Stephenson & J. Brooks (2017). Developed-developing world partnerships for sustainable development (2): an ecosystem services perspective. Ecosystem Services 24: 241–252.

Folke, C., C. Fabricius, G. Cundill, L. Schultz, C. Queiroz, Y. Gokhale, A. Marín, E. Camac-Ramirez, S. Chandola, M.T. Ahmed, B. Talukdar, A. Argumedo & F.C. Torres (2005). Chapter 11: Communities, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods. In: Capistrano, D., C. Samper, M.J. Lee & C. Raudsepp-Hearne (eds.). Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Findings of the Sub-Global Assessments Working Group v.4: Multiscale Assessments (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). Island Press, Washington D.C.

Gadgil, M. & V.M. Meher-Homji (1986). Localities of great significance to conservation of India’s biological diversity. Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Science (Animal Science/Plant Science) Supplement 1986: 165–180.

Gamble, J.S. (1967). Flora of the Presidency of Madras, 2nd Edition, Vol. 1-3. Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata. 1,389pp.

Hunneyball, G. (2003). A literature review of the tropical dry evergreen forests. Pitchandikulam Bio Resources Centre. (http://research.auroville.org/system/papers/attachments/000/000/154/original/A_Literature_Review_of_the_Tropical_Dry_Evergreen.._Forest_Gemma_Hunneyball_2010.pdf, accessed 5 April 2018.)

Indiaonline (Undated). Population of Tamil Nadu. Indiaonline. (http://www.indiaonlinepages.com/population/tamil-nadu-population.html, accessed 5 April 2018.)

Kinhal, V. & N. Parthasarathy (2008). Secondary succession and resource use in tropical fallows: A case study from the Coromandel Coast of South India. Land Degradation and Development 19(6): 649–662.

Laurance, W.F. (1997). Hyper-disturbed parks: edge effects and the ecology of isolated rainforest reserves in tropical Australia, pp. 71–83. In: Laurance, W.F. & R.O. Bierregaard (eds.). Tropical forest remnants: ecology, management and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Mani, S. & N. Parthasarathy (2009). Tree population and above-ground biomass changes in two disturbed tropical dry evergreen forests of peninsular India. Tropical Ecology 50(2): 249–258.

Meher-Homji, V.M. (1974). On the origin of the tropical dry evergreen forest of south India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1: 19–39.

Meher-Homji, V.M. (1992). A document to help formulate a conservation strategy for peninsular India in relation to vegetation status and bioclimatic conditions. Final Technical Report Pitambar Pant National Environment Fellowship.

Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier,C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca & J. Kent (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403: 853–858.

Parthasarathy, N. & R. Karthikeyan (1997). Plant biodiversity and conservation of two tropical dry evergreen forests on the Coromandel Coast, south India. Biodiversity and Conservation 6: 1063–1083.

Parthasarathy, N., M.A. Selwyn & M. Udayakumar (2008). Tropical dry evergreen forests of peninsular India: ecology and conservation significance. Tropical Conservation Science 1(2): 89–110.

Parthasarathy, N. & P. Sethi (1997). Tree and liana species diversity and population structure in a tropical dry evergreen forest in south India. Tropical Ecology 38(1): 19–30.

Pitchandikulam Forest. (undated a). Pitchandikulam Forest. (http://www.pitchandikulamforest.org/cms/, accessed 17 February 2016.)

Pitchandikulam Forest (undated b). Nadukuppam Forest. (http://www.pitchandikulamforest.org/PF/nadukuppam-forest/, accessed 5 April 2018.)

Ponnuchamy, R., A. Pragasam, S. Aravajy, P. Patel, L. Das & K. Anupama (2013). A floristic study on herbs and climbing plants at Puducherry, south India: an approach to biodiversity conservation and regeneration through eco-restoration. Check List 9(3): 555–600; http://doi.org/10.15560/9.3.555

Puri, G.S., R.K. Gupta, V.M. Meher-Homji & S. Puri (1989). Forest Ecology (2nd Edition). Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Ltd., New Delhi, 297–312pp.

Rajan, S.A. (2001). The avifauna of the tropical dry evergreen forests of Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu. Buceros 6(3): 33–35.

Rajendran, S.M. & S.C. Agarwal (2007). Medicinal plants conservation through sacred forests by ethnic tribals of Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 6(2): 328–333.

Ramanujam, M.P. & D. Kadamban (2001). Plant biodiversity of two tropical dry evergreen forests in the Pondicherry region of South India and the role of belief systems in their conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation 10(7): 1203–1217.

Ramanujam, M.P., P. Kumar & K. Cyril (2003). Woody species diversity of four sacred groves in the Pondicherry region of south India. Biodiversity and Conservation 12(2): 289–299.

Reddi, E.U.B. & C.S. Reddi (1984). Pollination ecology of Euphorbia geniculata. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 81: 571–582.

Schaich, H., C. Bieling & T. Plieninger (2010). Linking Ecosystem Services with Cultural Landscape Research. GAIA 19(4): 269–277.

Shvidenko, A., C.V. Barber, R. Persson, P. Gonzalez, R. Hassan, P. Lakyda, I. McCallum, S. Nilsson, J. Pulhin, B. van Rosenburg & R. Scholes (2005). Chapter 21: Forest and Woodland Systems. In: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends. 585–621pp.

(http://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.290.aspx.pdf, accessed 5th April 2018.)

Sprangers, J.T.C.M. & K. Balasubramanian (1978). A phytosociological analysis of the tropical semi-evergreen forest of Marakkanam, south-east India. Tropical Ecology 19: 70–92.

Udayakumar, M. & N. Parthasarathy (2010). Angiosperms, tropical dry evergreen forests of southern Coromandel Coast, India. Check List 6(3): 368–381.

Valdiya, K.S. (2010). The Making of India: Geodynamic Evolution. Macmillian India Ltd., 924pp.

Venkateswaran, R. & N. Parthasarathy (2003). Tropical dry evergreen forests on the Coromandel Coast of India: structure, composition and human disturbance. Ecotropica 9: 45–58.

Venugopal, P.D., S. Ram & M. Anbarashan (2008). Chapter 8: Restoration of tropical dry evergreen forests, pp. 129–158. In: Studies on Vulnerability and Habitat Restoration along the Coromandel Coast. Bhalla, R.S., S. Ram & V. Srinivas (eds.). 1st edition. UNDP/UNTRS & FERAL, Pondicherry, India.

Visalakshi, N. (1995). Vegetation analysis of two tropical dry evergreen forests in southern India. Tropical Ecology 36(1): 117–127.

Wikramanayake, E.D. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington.

WWF (undated). Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests - Southern Asia: Southern India. Worldwide Fund for Nature. (http://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/im0204, accessed 5 April 2018.)

Zhu, B., W.S.F. Kidd, D.B. Rowley, B.S. Currie & N. Shafique (2005). Age of initiation of the India-Asia collision in the east-central Himalaya. The Journal of Geology 113: 265–285.