Biodiversity of Kerala. The rugged highland within the Western Ghats is considered as one of the 34 bio diversity hot spots in the world. Midlands with foothills and plains and coastal belt also hold rich biodiversity. Ecosystems range from forests, grass lands, wet lands including small ponds, tanks, streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and backwaters, mangroves to coastal and oceanic waters, and the various midland habitats. Tropical rainforests, shola forests and myristica swamps are repositories of high endemic biodiversity. Homesteads maintain high domesticated biodiversity, while the sacred groves reflect the relics of high biodiversity of the past.
Studies on biodiversity of Kerala reveal that the State has about 4575 species of angiosperms, 329 ferns and fern allies, 226 bryophytes, 428 lichens and 866 algae. The diversity of fauna comprises 132 species of mammals, 483 birds, 156 reptiles, 93 amphibians, 282 inland fishes, and about 5,300 invertebrates. The documentation of coastal and marine biodiversity and microbial diversity of Kerala is far from complete. The State harbours 60-70 per cent of the flowering plants and vertebrate fauna of the Western Ghats with high degree of endemism.
Rich diversity in crops is a noted feature of Kerala. Crops like rice, millet, coconut, mango, jack fruit, banana, gooseberry, melon, tuber crops, spices, cashew, medicinal and aromatic plants and a variety of vegetables bear rich biodiversity. But at the same time the high yielding varieties accompanied with chemical pesticides and fertilisers in the wake of Green Revolution had a heavy toll on the local varieties. Kerala has a rich domesticated animal diversity which also is declining due to hybridisation with the exotic species. Domestic fowl diversity is also on the decline.