South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests

The South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests is a tropical dry forest ecoregion in southern India. The ecoregion lies in the southernmost portion of the Deccan Plateau, and includes the southernmost portion of the Eastern Ghats.

South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests
Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary 9.JPG
Biometropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests
BordersDeccan thorn scrub forests and South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests
Area81,925 km2 (31,631 sq mi)
StatesKarnataka and Tamil Nadu
Conservation statuscritical/endangered
Protected7,597 km² (9%)[1]

The ecoregion lies in the rain show of the Western Ghats, and receives most of its rainfall with the June–September southwest monsoon. It is characterized by tall trees that drop their leaves during the dry winter and spring months. Much of the forest has been degraded through over-use, and thorn forests and shrub thickets are common. To the north and east, the dry deciduous forests transition to the drier Deccan thorn scrub forests.


These forests have three stories, with an upper canopy at 15–25 m (49–82 ft), an understory at 10–15 m (33–49 ft), and undergrowth at 3–5 m (9.8–16.4 ft). Trees are draped in lianas in denser, mature forests. The vegetation is characterized by Acacia catechu, Albizia amara, Anogeissus latifolia, Boswellia serrata, Cassia fistula, Chloroxylon swietenia, Dalbergia latifolia, Diospyros montana, Hardwickia binata, Pterocarpus marsupium, Shorea talura, Sterospermum personatum, Terminalia bellirica, Terminalia paniculata, and Terminalia tomentosa. Sal found here is used for railway sleepers and house construction while teak, a durable timber, is used for ship building and furniture. Sandalwood (Santalum album) is used for perfume and semal for toys.[2]


The ecoregion is home to 75 mammal species. Threatened species include the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), and grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macruora). Salim Ali's fruit bat (Latidens salimalii) is critically endangered, and is near-endemic.[3] 260 species of birds live in the eco-region, and two, the rufous babbler (Turdoides subrufus) and yellow-throated bulbul (Pycnonotus xantholaemus) are near-extinct. The threatened great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and lesser florican (Eupodotis indica) inhabit the eco-region.[3]

Protected areasEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Eric Dinerstein, David Olson, et al. (2017). An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm, BioScience, Volume 67, Issue 6, June 2017, Pages 534–545; Supplemental material 2 table S1b. [1]
  2. ^ "South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b Wikramanayake, Eric; Dinerstein, Eric; Loucks, Colby J. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press. p. 326-328.

Coordinates: 12°00′00″N 77°30′00″E / 12.0000°N 77.5000°E / 12.0000; 77.5000