Host Institution: Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Broad latitudinal and elevation expanse enable the Western Ghats to support high species diversity and endemism, and it is recognized as a global hotspot. Large meta-populations of elephants and tigers occupy this landscape. However, one of the major threats is increasing fragmentation, with consequences for both wildlife and humans, with many forms of conflict scenarios. Like the Eastern Himalays, species previously unknown to science, have recently been recently discovered in the Western Ghats: particularly reptiles and amphibians. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, located centrally in the Western Ghats, includes an elevational gradient and a matrix of land use types and forest types (including tropical dry thorn forest, dry deciduous forest, moist deciduous forest, semi-evergreen and evergreen forest, montane grassland and stunted montane evergreen forest) within a good network of protected areas. This site has been the location of at least 30 years of previous long-term research on numerous taxa, including vegetation monitoring plots. Alongside the existing long-term site in the Mudumalai forests, adjacent sites will be incorporated to cover additional representative forest types of the Nilgiri eco-region.