Geography: Bio-diversity in Coimbatore
Coimbatore lies on the extreme west of Tamil Nadu. The western part of the region is bordered by mountains and houses a number of reserve forests. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserves lies on the northern side of the area.
The city of Coimbatore along with the eastern side of the district is predominantly a dry land. The Western Ghats act as a border to the whole of the western and northern region of the district. The rest of the area on this side is encompassed by the Nilgiri biosphere and the Anaimalai and Munnar ranges.
The Palghat Gap acts as the western pass as you to travel to Kerala. As the region is so close to the Western Ghats, it experiences a favorable weather that supports rich plant life.
During the early years when the district and the city were gradually being evolved, a lot of artificial as well as natural lakes and ponds got constructed. There are over nine lakes or wetlands within the city of Coimbatore. This has laid a profound impact on the urban ecosystem of the region. These wetlands subsequently came across with some important life supporting components that houses a high concentration of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and several varieties of invertebrate species.
The Coimbatore Urban Wetland is house to over hundred and twenty-five species of resident and migratory birds. People visiting this ecosystem can have an eyeful of natural beauty, particularly during the months of August and October. Species of migratory birds regularly visiting to this wetland are Spot-billed Pelican,Painted Stork, Open-billed Stork, Spot-billed Duck, Ibis, Teal, and the Black-winged Stilt, are just a few of them.
Amongst the animals found in the plains, there are the wild elephants, wild boars, leopards, bison, tigers, and different species of deer, Nilgiri Tahr, sloth bear and the black-headed Oriole. The Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to visit for the tourists who wish to get a taste of diverse wildlife and natural beauty of the region. It is located in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1400 meters above sea-level covering an area of 958 sq. km.
There are great varieties of livestock animals in the region too. One of the unique species of bulls found here is the Kangeyam Bull. They are cross-bred bulls, deliberately done by the Mandradiar family during the 17th century for the purpose of acquiring a healthy and strong animal to perfectly suit the climate and terrain.
It would be interesting to note how this cross-bred bull played a major role in helping the region to emerge as a strong player in the dairy industry. Today amongst a host of other industries, the dairy industry is rapidly growing and the prospects are consistently getting better. These bulls are found only in the Coimbatore and its adjacent districts.
Over 20% of the Coimbatore district falls under forest area that covers the western and northern parts in particular. These forests also add to the revenue of the place. Majority of the trees are commercially important and great revenue generators. The common varieties are teak, sandalwood, rosewood and bamboo.
The Mettupalayam range is a vital segment of the forest area. It is a part of the Nilgiris slope and has a dense forest of bamboos and sandalwood. The southern range on the other hand is typical by the presence of tropical evergreen forests. The Punachi range is predominantly filled with jungles of shrubs.
Majority of the forest area of this region had been the target of the Lantana invasion. The local people of the region refer to this invasion as the Siriki Chedi. And perhaps due to the high altitudes of the Western Ghats, the forests lying on its slopes remained untouched by the invaders.