39 sites in the Western Ghats have got the World Heritage Site tag. Of these, 19 are in Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 6 in Tamil Nadu and 4 in Maharashtra.
For six years, the Centre and environmentalists had been pushing for heritage status for the ghats. The recognition comes as a boost for green activists opposing deforestation and environmental destruction of the area, largely due to mining and power projects.
The Western Ghats are:
Home to 20-plus rivers, hydel and nuclear power projects
Hosts 7,000 species of plants, 140 mammal species, 514 bird species and 181 amphibian species
Mountain range believed to be much older than the Himalayas
The Western Ghats are reported to have been formed during the breakup of the Gondwana land about
150 MILLION YEARS AGO
1,600 KM: The range of the Western Ghats, also known as Sahyadri Hills.
It covers the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharastra and Gujarat and also stretches to Sri Lanka
60 PER CENT of the Western Ghats is in the state of Karnataka.
5,000 PLANT SPECIES are found in the ghats, of which about 30% of which are endemic.
450 SPECIES OF BIRDS (35% endemic)
140 MAMMAL SPECIES (around 20% endemic) and
260 REPTILE SPECIES (over 60% endemic)
3 major rivers Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri arise from these ghats
The ghats were declared as an ecologically sensitive area and an ecological hot-spot in 1988