Konni Reserve Forest

Year of compilation: 2004

Site description
Konni Reserve Forest (RF), in Karunagappally and Pathanapuram talukas of Kollam district and portions of Kozhencherry and Adoor talukas of Pathanamthitta district lies on the western slopes of the Western Ghats. Therefore, it receives heavy rainfall, resulting in Tropical Evergreen and Semi-evergreen forests. Three major rivers and many rivulets originate in Konni RF. The Forest area of the Division has a hilly terrain, the main hills being Chelikkalkar (997 m), Kodamala (598 m), Thunathumala (721 m) and Iruvallimala (817 m). The numerous ridges and valleys do not have a definite pattern, but on the whole, the area has a north to south aspect. The climate in the hills is more pleasant than that of the plains.The temperature varies from 11 °C to 35 °C. From January to May it is dry and hot, March and April are the hottest months. Wet season is from June to November, sometimes with a short break in September. Heavy to very heavy rains are experienced in June-July. The forest of Konni Forest Division is composed of different forest types, mainly due to the influence of elevation, rainfall and temperature. Most parts of Konni are covered with close canopy forests, with some lofty evergreen trees above the canopy. Epiphytes, mosses and orchids grow on these trees, especially in valleys. Due to the dense canopy, ground vegetation is absent in places, but stretches of Strobilanthus and ferns may occur. Most of the low-lying areas have been converted into teak plantations (about 8,300 ha).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Although no detailed study on the biodiversity has been done in Konni RF, it is likely to have many Western Ghats endemics, such as the Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus, the Nilgiri Wood- Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, the White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra and the White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis. It also has a good population of Large Pied or Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis. Konni RF falls in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and should have most of the species found in this Biome. This Reserve Forest has been included in the IBA list mainly because it still has very good forest cover and must be having rich bird life. There is an urgent need to survey and document the bird fauna of this IBA.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: Konni RF is rich in wildlife. The Tiger Panthera tigris has been reported from many parts, but mainly in Thora and Attippara areas near Kokkathodu. The Asian Elephant Elephas maximus is mainly seen in Naduvathumuzhi and Konni ranges. Other fauna includes Leopard Panthera pardus, Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Nilgiri Langur Trachypithecus johni, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Small Travancore Flying Squirrel Petinomys fuscocapillus and Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
MAIN THREATS: Plantation; Poaching.

Konni RF has suffered logging for more than 150 years. Facility for water transport and availability of good quality timber have led to over-exploitation, but this has been brought under control in recent years. However, large tracts of former lowland tropical rain forests now consist of teak plantations. Some of these plantations are mature and need to be removed. Once this is done, there would be an opportunity to regenerate back the natural tropical forest.

Key contributor: Forest Department, Kerala.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Konni Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022.