Meghalaya subtropical forests
The Meghalaya subtropical forests is a montane subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of eastern India. The ecoregion covers an area of 41,700 square kilometers (16,100 sq mi), encompassing the Khasi Hills, Garo Hills, and Jaintia Hills of India's Meghalaya state, and adjacent portions of Assam state. The ecoregion is one of the most species-rich in India with a rich diversity of birds, mammals, and plants.
The ecoregion covers those portions of the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia hills lying above 1000 meters elevation. The subtropical forests lies between the tropical lowlands of the Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests to the south and west, and the Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests to the north.
It is a center of diversity for the tree genera Magnolia and Michelia, and the families Elaeocarpaceae and Elaeagnaceae. Over 320 species of orchids are native to Meghalaya. The endemic pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana) is now an endangered species. About 3,128 flowering plant species have been reported from the state, of which 1,236 are endemic. Joseph Dalton Hooker, a British botanist and explorer, made a huge taxonomic collection for the Kew Herbarium from Khasi and Jaintia Hills and remarked the place as one of the richest biodiversity spot in India, perhaps in all of Asia as well. The state is rich in medicinal plant species as well, but the natural occurrence of most medicinal plants has decreased due to habitat loss. A total of 131 RET (Rare, Endemic and Threatened) medicinal plant species, including 36 endemic and 113 species under different threat categories, are found within the state.
The ecoregion is home to 110 species of mammals, none of which are endemic. Species include the tiger (Panthera tigris), clouded leopard (Pardofelis nebulosa), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), dhole or Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus), sun bear (Ursus malayanus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Indian civet (Viverra zibetha), Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Assamese macaque (Macaca assamensis), bear macaque (Macaca arctoides), capped leaf monkey (Semnopithecus pileatus), and hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock).
- Wikramanayake, Eric; Eric Dinerstein; Colby J. Loucks; et al. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment, Island Press; Washington, DC.
- Aabid Hussain Mir, Krishna Upadhaya and Hiranjit Choudhury (2014): Diversity of endemic and threatened ethnomedicinal plant species in Meghalaya, North-East India, Int. Res. J. Env. Sc. 3(12): 64-78.
- Hooker, J.D. 1872-1897. The Flora of British India, 7 vols. L. Reeva and Company, London.
- Khan, M.L., Menon, S. and Bawa, K.S. 1997. Effectiveness of the protected area network in biodiversity conservation: A case study of Meghalaya state, Biodiversity and Conservation 6: 853-868.
- Khan et al., 1997
- Hooker, 1872-97
- Mir et al., 2014
- "Meghalaya subtropical forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
- Flora of Meghalaya (Government of Meghalaya)
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