A Land Of Mist And Shadow

A Land Of Mist And Shadow
Photo: Shutterstock

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is a thickly-forested ecoregion set amidst perennial rivers and towering peaks in the southernmost part of the Western Ghats. The sacred Mount Agasthyakoodam, the second-highest peak in Kerala, towers dramatically over the dense tropical landscape at 6,129 ft.

Straddling Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it is listed under the UN’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The reserve was in the news recently after researchers identified a new species of an evergreen tree belonging to the genus Miliusa. What makes the discovery exciting is that only two mature trees of Miliusa agasthyamalana have been spotted in their natural habitat. One of 18 biosphere reserves in India, Agasthyamala has around 2,250 species of higher plants, 400 of which are indigenous.

The biosphere boasts three wildlife reserves within its precincts—Shendurney, Peppara, Nayar, and the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.

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