Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Karvi species blooms en mass in Chorla Ghats.

The Chorla Ghats are once again draped with another mass flowering- this time of yet another species of karvi, locally known as Rann karvi or Patri karvi and scientifaclly known as Strobilanthus ixiocephala.
A perinial shrub growing rarely more than a meter in height, this floral wonder can now be witnessed all across the Chorla Ghats at a height between 600-800 meters and is yet again a once in a seven-year wonder. Just like the Common karvi (Strobilanthus callosa), this species blooms in a 7-year cycle in en mass and is a sight to behold especially against the backdrop of the mixed moist deciduous and semi evergreen slopes of the Chorla Ghats. The plant has thin branches and the flowers are in clusters. The plant flowers have spikes, which have a strong scent, and the leaves are opposite to each other. Though reported to be occasionally found elsewhere in the Sahyadris, many of the hill slopes of the Chorla Ghats and the surrounds of the Mhadei Bio region are now covered with flowering shrubs of this species. A special place to observe these flowers however is the Sacred Groves of Surla and the slopes of the Ladki falls, besides which the shrubs line the Goa Karnataka road near the state borders.
The flowering of this species not only goes to prove the rich floral biodiversity of the Chorla Ghats which is threatened due irreversible damage of prime natural habitats such as monoculture plantations but is also an eye opener for the state Governmet to accord protection to this important region by creating awareness about its natural wonders as well as ecological significance for water security for the people of the state being accorded by these forests.
Right now the single largest threat to the region is the Karnataka Governments Damming and Diversion projects on the Mhadei River and her tributaries, which will spell doom to the natural flora as well as fauna of the region.
While ecologists and wildlife activists from across the country have raised serious concern about the continuation of work on the Kalsa project despite a Court order, the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyaan is leading a movement at the grass roots level and networking Goans at large to understand the importance of the region.
While the Mass Patri Karvi flowering is a natural wonder, and a visit to the area is a must to watch in awe at these beautiful flowers in bloom, it is the need of the hour to also raise a united voice and support the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyaan in their initiative to conserve the River Mhadei and her forests of which the Chorla Ghats are an integral part.

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