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  The Malabar coast, well known in the history of plant resource studies in Asia is remarkable for the luxuriant growth of tropical forests. Hooker (1907) classified the botanical regions of the erstwhile British India in to 9 regions based on species distribution. The Malabar region is one among them consisting of Western Ghats and the west coasts. Clarke (1898) proposed 11 phytogeographical provinces for the British India. He also recognised the Western Ghats as a separate province ‘Malabarica’. Prain (1903) classified the phytogeograpic region based on moisture regimes into 6 regions. According to him ‘India Aquosa’ comprises the tropical rainforests along the Western Ghats. Chatterjee (1940) based on endemism among Dicotyledonous plants of the India-Burma region, recognised 10 botanical regions. He treated Malabar as a botanical region with a high percentage of endemism. All the above classifications recognised the Malabar region of the Western Ghats as a distinct phytogeographic region.
  Because of the past cretaceous shield of Gondwana Kingdom, the floristic elements in the Peninsular India, especially the Western Ghats flora, shows differential similarity in the distribution of families and genera between sister geographical regions such as Malaysian Islands, Madagascar, Australia, S. America and Africa. Among these countries Malaysian region is more similar to the peninsular Indian Flora. The polyphyletic (Good, 1974) origin of the taxa within this continents is widely accepted. Also the flora and fauna of this region are influenced by Pleistocene glaciations. Homology in the evolution and geographical similarity also influence the development of the flora. In a more restricted sense the flora shows resemblance with Sri Lankan, north-eastern and lower Himalayas. The distributional records of several taxa strengthen this belief. Many taxa which were considered as endemic to Sri Lanka, north eastern India and Himalaya are reported from the Southern Western Ghats, especially from Kerala part. Western Ghats and Sri Lanka are more similar than other parts of the country. As a whole, the distribution of many groups of plants is restricted to this smaller bio-geographic zone. The peculiar endemic flora of this region represents the remnants of older flora and generally termed as paleo-endemics (Nayar 1996). About 30 percent of the Flora of Kerala are Peninsular Indian endemics. Because of the relict charactors, they are very sensitive to changes in the environment. Anthropogenic interference makes the situation more severe.

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