Tirunelveli Reserve Forest

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 22,000 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2003 high not assessed not assessed
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Site description (baseline)
This IBA covers Tirunelveli South Forest in Kanya Kumari district and a major portion of Tirunelveli district, comprising Nangunen, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur, Koilpatti and part of Ambasamudram talukas. The Western Ghats, which run north to south, form one continuous block along the western boundary of the division. The entire area is hilly, in many places very steep and rugged, with a few prominent peaks. The highest point is 1,829.4 m above msl at the junction of Mahendragiri, Kalakkad and Veerapuli Reserve Forests. The major portion of the forests of Tirunelveli South Forest Division lies at the junction. The eastern slope of the Western Ghats, which is in the rainshadow region, shows marked variation in growth and contains commercially less valuable forests (Working Plan, Forest Department).

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: No detailed study on avifauna has been done, though the area is very rich in bird life mainly due to its range of habitats from West Coast Tropical Evergreen, Southern Subtropical Hill, Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous to Southern Thorn Forest. The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA) where Stattersfield et al. (1998) have identified 16 restricted range species. Based on the information provided by the IBA seminar participants, 15 out of 16 restricted range species are found here. Similarly, the biome list is also long. This site falls in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) where BirdLife International (undated) has listed 15 species. Twelve are found here. Many of these birds need reconfirmation. We are including this site as it has good habitat types but good information on the bird life is required.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: In the old Working Plan document of the Forest Department, there is a long list of animals that used to occur in this area, including the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus and the Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra. Blackbuck was seen in Kurumalai and Vallanad areas, perhaps the southernmost record of this species. It is also reported that the Nilgiri Tahr Hemitragus hylocrius was found on precipitous rock faces, especially at Variattu Mottai near Winch Point. Spotted Deer Axis axis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna and Lion-tailed Macaque Macaca silenus are also reported. But, it is not clear whether these animals are still found here or not.

Key contributors: IBA seminar participants.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Tirunelveli Reserve Forest. Downloaded from on 07/06/2023.