The Shola (Tropical Montane Forest)-Grassland Ecosystem Mosaic of Peninsular India: A Review

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2012.311198    8,656 Downloads   17,331 Views  Citations

ABSTRACT

Tropical montane forests (alternatively called tropical montane cloud forests or simply cloud forests) represent some of the most threatened ecosystems globally. Tropical montane forests (TMF) are characterized and defined by the presence of persistent cloud cover. A significant amount of moisture may be captured through the condensation of cloud-borne moisture on vegetation distinguishing TMF from other forest types. This review examines the structural, functional and distributional aspects of the tropical montane forests of peninsular India, locally known as shola, and the associated grasslands. Our review reveals that small fragments may be dominated by edge effect and lack an “interior” or “core”, making them susceptible to complete collapse. In addition to their critical role in hydrology and biogeochemistry, the shola-grassland ecosystem harbor many faunal species of conservation concern. Along with intense anthropogenic pressure, climate change is also expected to alter the dynamic equilibrium between the forest and grassland, raising concerns about the long-term sustainability of these ecosystems.

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M. Bunyan, S. Bardhan and S. Jose, "The Shola (Tropical Montane Forest)-Grassland Ecosystem Mosaic of Peninsular India: A Review," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 11, 2012, pp. 1632-1639. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.311198.

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