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Location & Physiography
  The Kerala State lies along the south-west corner of Peninsular India, between 80 18’ and 120 48’ N latitude and 740 52’ and 770 22’E longitude. The boundaries of the State are the Lakshadweep sea in the west, Tamilnadu in the south and east and Karnataka in the north. The State has an area of 38,863 km2, which is about 1.18 percent of the total area of the country and is administratively divided into 14 districts. Due to the long tract of Western Ghats along the eastern side and Arabian sea along the western side, the physiography of the State is highly diversified. The State has a complex topography with mountains, valleys, ridges and scarps. The altitude varies from sea level to 2695 m above msl. Based on the altitude, the land is divided into high ranges (above 750 m asl; highlands (between 75-750 m asl); midland (between 7.5-75 m asl) and lowlands (below 7.5 m asl). The highlands with an average height of 900 m have several peaks over 1,800 m and constitute about 43 per cent of the land area followed by midland (42 percent); high ranges (15 per cent) and lowland (10 per cent) [Kerala Land Use Board, 1997]. A narrow strip of land bordering the sea constitutes the low land area of the State and this region holds the back waters and estuaries. Mangroves and coastal vegetation are confined to this region. Parallel to the coastal strip, there is wider more or less undulating midland zone. Most of the human activities and agricultural settlements are concentrated in this region. The natural vegetation is rather scanty and occurring as small refugees. These two regions constitute the major human habitats in the State. Wider eastern highland region constitutes the important region with regard to the Biodiversity. This region is highly undulating and has a complex geography compared to the other zones. These mountain ridges are continuous from north to south except the 30 km wide gap in the Palakkad district. These mountain chains influence the climate of the State to a greater extent.

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