India welcomes Western Ghat as heritage belt

PTI, NEW DELHI | 03 July 2012 16:56 IST

India welcomed the World Heritage Committee's decision to include the Western Ghats in the list of world heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

"Our team was successful. It is a recognition," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said hailing the decision of the Heritage Committee to include India's 1600-km Western Ghats mountain chain in its list. 


"We welcome the decision. It (Western Ghats) is a unique biodiversity we have in India," she told PTI. 

Jagdish Kishwan, Additional Director General (Wildlife), Vinod B Mathur, Dean of the Wildlife Institute of India, and S K Khanduri, Inspector-General of Forests (Wildlife) represented the country in the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee. 

Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. 

The World Heritage Committee has viewed that the site's forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern. 

"Moderating the tropical climate of the region, it presents one of the best examples of the monsoon system in the planet. The site also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism," it said. 

The forests of the site include some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anywhere and are home to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species. 

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