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Indo-Malay > Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests >
South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests (IM0209)

South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests
Satellite view of southern India


Southern Asia: India
Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests

31,800 square miles (82,300 square kilometers) -- about the size of Maine and Rhode Island combined

· India
· Special Features
· Did You Know?
· Wild Side
· Cause for Concern
More Photos


As you walk through this ecoregion, look high and low for its rare animals. You may hear the rufous babbler as it flits through the grasses, or an Indian bustard may dash by, a bird as big as a middle-school child. Youâll have to look up to find the Salim Ali fruit bat. And be sure to watch out for Asia's largest land mammal, the Asian elephant.

Special Features Special Features

This ecoregion links the moist mountain forests to the west with the dry thorn scrub to the east. The mountains block the rain, making this a very dry land with little rainfall. Even so, this region still supports several important populations of tigers and Asian elephants. Two elephant conservation areas and two tiger conservation areas extend across this region. Other reserves have been proposed to protect the remaining stands of sandalwood trees.

Did You Know?
Sandalwood, one of the rare trees in this ecoregion, is burned as incense throughout the world. It is also used to add aroma to soaps and other products.

Wild Side

In addition to the elephant and tiger, these forests are home to more than 75 species of mammals. One, the Salim Ali fruit bat, is endemic. Threatened mammals include the Asian elephant, wild dog, sloth bear, chousingha, gaur, and the grizzled giant squirrel. About 260 species of birds use this habitat, including two that live almost nowhere else: the rufous babbler and the yellow-throated bulbul.

Cause for Concern

The protected areas in this ecoregion may not be large enough to conserve the tigers, elephants, and other animals here. Yet they are all that remain of once vast forests that have been cleared for crops, pasture, and firewood. More habitat may be lost to projects that provide water and electricity to the region.

For more information on this ecoregion, go to the World Wildlife Fund Scientific Report.

All text by World Wildlife Fund © 2001