Biodiversity & Environment
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Landslide near Eravikulam National Park
- 08 Aug 2020
- 4 min read
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Recently, landslides have been reported at the Nayamakkad tea estate at Pettimudy which is located about 30 km from Munnar, adjacent to the Eravikulam National Park (ENP), Kerala.
- Features of ENP:
- It is located in the High Ranges (Kannan Devan Hills) of the Southern Western Ghats in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki District, Kerala.
- It spreads over an area of 97 square km and hosts South India's highest peak, Anamudi (2695 m), in its southern area.
- The Rajamalai region of the park stays open to the public for tourism.
- The Government of Kerala acquired the area from the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company under the Kannan Devan Hill Produce (Resumption of lands) Act 1971.
- It was declared as Eravikulam-Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 and was elevated to the status of a National Park in 1978.
- The main body of the park comprises a high rolling plateau (plateau at different elevation or with varying heights) with a base elevation of about 2000 m from mean sea level.
- Three major types of plant communities found in the park are: Grasslands, Shrub Land and Shola Forests (mosaic of montane evergreen forests and grasslands).
- The park represents the largest and least disturbed stretch of unique Montane Shola-Grassland vegetation in the Western Ghats.
- It houses the special Neelakurinji flowers (Strobilanthes kunthianam) that bloom once every 12 years and the next sighting is expected to be in 2030.
- Apart from that, it has rare terrestrial and epiphytic orchids, wild balsams, etc.
- An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it.
- The park holds the largest viable population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius).
- It has other little known fauna such as Nilgiri Marten, Ruddy Mongoose, Small Clawed Otter, Dusky Striped Squirrel, etc.
- It is regionally important as a catchment area for both east (tributaries of River Pambar) and west (tributaries of River Periyar and Chalakkudy) flowing rivers.
- Locally, it is important for maintaining the climate and providing drinking water to the surrounding estates and for irrigation.
- Proximity: The park is in continuity with the neighboring Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Anamudi Shola National Park, Pampadum Shola National Park, Kurinjimala Sanctuary and Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
- A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of mass wasting (a geomorphic process) which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.
- Causes: Slow weathering of rocks as well as soil erosion, earthquakes and volcanic activity.
- Continent-wise, Asia suffers the maximum damages/losses due to landslides and within that, South-Asian nations are the worst sufferers including India which is one of the worst affected by landslides.