The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is working out a plan to set up a unique botanical garden to showcase the flora and fauna found abundantly in the Kerala sector of the Western Ghats.
The plan of the botanical garden comes at a time when the World Heritage Committee (WHC), meeting in St. Petersburg in Russia, has decided to inscribe 39 serial sites of the Western Ghats on the World Heritage List, KSBB member secretary K.P. Laladhas told IANS.
The Western Ghats cover 795,315 hectares of area, of which about 46 percent (366,346 hectares) falls in Kerala.
"Of the 39 serial sites in the Western Ghats, 19 are in Kerala. These are home to nearly 4,000 species of flowering plants. We will have these species transplanted in a rare botanical garden planned in Idukki district which will be open for the general public," said Laladhas.
Idukki has been chosen for setting up the garden owing to its Western Ghats like climate.
Western Ghats constitute a mountain range or escarpment running roughly in a north-south direction for about 1,490 km parallel to the Arabian sea coast, from the Tapi river down to just short of Kanyakumari.
"This unique garden will be a rare visual treat, especially for the tourists. Not many would have got an opportunity to see the rare fauna found in the Kerala sector of the Western Ghats area," Laladhas added.
"The plan will be first submitted to the state government and we will also seek the support and guidance of the National Biodiversity Authority in this regard."
"We hope the recent approval of the WHC will give an impetus to the idea, as this proposed garden will be a treasure for the students of botany not only in the country but also across the globe," Laladhas added.