ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Friday, October 22, 2021


Biodiversity of Karnataka


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Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms within and between species and ecosystem. Karnataka is a repository of rich biodiversity at the level of gene, species and ecosystem in the form of diversified flora and fauna. The state has a recorded forest cover of 39,369 km2 which constitutes 20.5% of the total geographical area of the state. The Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, includes the western region of Karnataka.

The Western Ghats in particular represent a repository of rich biodiversity and rank among the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Nearly 50% of the biodiversity of the Western Ghats is reportedly available in Karnataka. There are five National Parks at Anshi, Bandipur, Bannerghatta, Kudremukh and Nagarhole and 24 wildlife sancturaires. A significant number of globally threatened species of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes are found in the Western Ghats. The abundant diversity of the Western Ghats includes hundreds of medicinal plants of high value and accounts for 4,000 known species of flowering plants. The biodiversity of Karnataka as a state however is estimated to have more than 1.2 lakh known species including 4,500 flowering plants, 800 fishes, 600 birds, 160 reptiles, 120 mammals and 1,493 medicinal plants. A study of Bawa K.S. et al. (2007) funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund made an exhaustive analysis of biodiversity of the Western Ghats. It concludes that 50% of its biodiversity is present in Karnataka. It further found that 332 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats, comprising of 229 plant species, 31 mammals, 15 bird species, 52 amphibians, four reptiles and one fish species. 55 of these are critically endangered, 148 endangered and 129 are vulnerable.


Fig. 1 Glance of Biodiversity in Karnataka


     Fig. 2 Biodiversity hot spots in the Western Ghats - Adapted from Bawa K.S. et al. (2007)


                           Fig 3 Species under threat in Karnataka - Adapted from KBB (2008)


1. Bawa, K.S.; Das, A.; Krishnaswamy, J.; Karanth, K.U.; Kumar, N.S. and Rao, M. (2007). Critical ecosystem partnership fund. Ecosystem Profile Western Ghats & Sri Lanka.

2. Environmental Management & Policy Research Institute (2012). State of Environment Report Karnataka 2011.

3. Adapted from KBB (2008). Biological diversity conservation and development for survival; KBB (2010). Biodiversity of Karnataka: At a Glance