Forests of peninsular India occurring in the Deccan region are also called 'maidan forests'. They include ecologically-sensitive grasslands called "kavals", which are unfortunately considered wastelands whose conservation is not accorded the same priority as forests.
Despite heavy deforestation, high human population density and the loss of more than 80 percent of the forests of the region, the Deccan Plateau continues to retain some of its biodiversity wealth. One finds many ornamental trees and shrubs with nutritious, wild, edible fruits, some of which are introduced in this article.
The magnificent floral structure in these forests supports a wide range of unique fauna: endangered blackbucks, leopards, bears, wolves, foxes, Rusty spotted cats, Long billed vultures, Lesser floricans and Great Indian Bustards.
Threats to these forests come largely from anthropogenic activities such as overgrazing, forest fires, poaching, and extraction of timber and other forest produce. Earnest conservation efforts are called for if these fragile natural ecosystems are to be preserved.
Sheshadri is a passionate citizen scientist who has excellent knowledge about trees and biodiversity conservation. His forté is species identification, seed sprouting techniques, nursery management and land restoration by conserving floral species. He has worked with his mentor, Mr S.G. Neginhal (I.F.S. Retd) for over 15 years and raised tens of thousands of indigenous tree species from seed stage to full growth.