Biodiversity and Conservation of Seshachalam Hills

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S.K.M.BASHA, E.RAJYALAKSHMI, S.K.Khajavalli
NBKR Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Vidyanagar – 524413, SPSR, Nellore (Dt) AP A.P.Forest Department, Nellore Division.
E-Mail : drskmbasha@gmail.com, Swathisayani@yahoo.co.in

ABSTRACT

The Seshachalam Hills are part of Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh and are surrounded by Rayalaseema Uplands in the west and northwest and the Nandyala Valley in the north. They are formed during Precambrian time (i.e. earlier than about 540 million years age) and consists of sandstone, shale along with limestone. It is the richest floristic hot spot harbouring many endemic and rare plants. This area has been famous for its rich biodiversity, elegant environment, beautiful hill ranges and perennial streams and water falls since times immemorial. This area is not properly explored due to prohibition because the holy shrine of Lord Sri Venkateswara or Balaji situated here. Present study aims at the detailed survey of flora and fauna of Seshachalam Hill Range for the assessment of Biodiversity which is important to formulate appropriate conservation strategies.

Key Words - Seshachalam Hill Range – Biodiversity – Conservation

INTRODUCTION

Biodiversity defines the occurrence of living organisms of three kingdoms either primitive or advanced namely Kingdom Monera, Kingdom Plantae and Kingdom Animalia on the Earth in natural way to form communities and ecosystems. Two attributes of biodiversity according to International Conservation Point of view are species richness (The number of species in an area) and Endemism (restricted to a particular region and occur nowhere else). They reflex the complexity and uniqueness of natural ecosystems.(T.R.Sahu, P.Sahu And Arti Gupta). Seshachalam Hills satisfies both the attributes hence it has been declared recently as a “Biosphere Reserve in the country by the Ministry of Environment and Forest” which spread over 4755 sq.km. The Seshachalam BR covers Sri Venketeswara National Park, Sri Venketeswara Wild Life Sanctuary and Idupulapaya Estate of the Late Chief Minister YSR.
Angiospermic diversity on Seshachalam Hill ranges of Eastern Ghats in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh studied by K.Madhava Chetty and etal. Forest fires in Sechalam Hill Ranges studied by T,Sitakumari and mentioned various factors that cause damage to Forests. Traditional Medicinal Plants of Seshachalam Hills studied by C.Sudhakar Reddy, K.N.Reddy and published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants (May, 2009). They mentioned Ethenomedicinal uses of 48 plant species of 44 genera of 30 families used to cure 32 types of ailments. New concepts in conservation methods of Biodiversity are studied by Kumar S.V., Raghavaiah P.S. (2000). Our present study aims at the assessment of Biodiversity of this region in order to formulate appropriate conservation strategies.

STUDY AREA:
Seshachalam hills are a group of 7 hills namely Seshadri, Neeeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri,Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The highest peak is situated at a height of 600m (2000 feet) above mean sea level. Dharmagiri, Gogarbham, Srivarimettu, Microwave situation and adjacent forests like Mamandur, Kukkaladhodi, Nagapatla and Talakonda to mention a few are endowed with a very rich flora and also abound in many medicinal plants of importance. Varied micro-climatological, undurlating topographical conditions prevailing at various water falls (theerthams) situated at different heights, provide a very favourable habit and support the growth of the plant species. It has about 1500 plant species belonging to...
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