Grasslands catch fire at Vagamon
Grasslands afte
VAGAMON, April 7, 2007: The grasslands on the biodiversity zone of Kottayam Forest Division at Vagamon (Wagamon) caught fire early this week.

Dry grass on a knoll was destroyed besides some bushes in the depression between rolling hills. Tourists who even use bikes to traverse the knolls apparently caused the fire.

However, the damage is limited as the shola grasslands in the zone is already in a heavily degraded conditions. Little original shola vegetation survives in the depressions. The depressions are now colonised by species from lower elevations. This was apparently possible because the shola grasslands at Vagamon occur at relatively lower elevations (above 1100 metres).
The rolling knolls and meadows of Vagamon display considerable similarities to those found in the interiors of Eravikulam National Park. However, attitudinally, they are far part. (The base elevation of the National Park is 2000 metres). Original vegetation should have had similarities with that of the Park. They gave way to tea plantations and settlements during the last century. The Forest Department planted some of the remaining medows with pine and acasia.

The sholas of Vagamon are gone. The grasslands survive in a degraded form. The dry grass will turn green with the rains.  But the sholas will not return for centuries to come.


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