INTRODUCTION

India is the seventh largest country in the world by geographical area and the second most populous with 1.2 billion inhabitants. Nilgiri HillsThe current structure of India was created starting 75 million years ago when the Indian subcontinent, then part of Gondwana, began a drift north eastwards lasting 50 million years. The subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it gave rise to the Himalayas. In the former seabed immediately south of the Himalayas a trough was created which slowly filled with river borneTea Plantations sediment to form the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In the south of India the Deccan Plateau, which was formed by the volcanic eruptions of the Deccan Traps at the end of the Cretaceous Period 67-65 million years ago, is flanked by the coastal mountain ranges of the Western and Eastern Ghats. There is a narrow coastal plain running down the western flank of the Western Ghats which run for 1600 km and have an average elevation of 1200 m. Kovalam BeachIndia's climate is influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert which drive the monsoons. The summer monsoon which runs from June to October provides the majority of India's rainfall.

India is a major area of biodiversity with 7.6% of all mammalian species, 12.6% of all avian species, 6.2% of all reptilian species, 4.4% of all amphibian species, 11.7% of all fish species and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. The tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats, particularly the Shola Forests, show high levels of endemism.