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Kerala Backwater

Flora and Fauna in Andaman Nicobar

Andaman & Nicobar Islands have a distinctive tropical rainforest canopy, made from a mixed flora with elements from Indian, Myanmarese, Malaysian and endemic floral strains. To date, about 2,200 types of plants have been recorded, of that 200 are endemic and 1,300 do not occur in mainland India.

The South Andaman forests have a profuse development of epiphytic vegetation, mostly ferns and orchids. The Middle Andamans harbours mostly moist deciduous forests. North Andamans is characterised by the wet evergreen type, with lots of woody climbers. The north Nicobar Islands (including Car Nicobar and Battimalv) are marked by the complete lack of evergreen forests, while such forests make up the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group. Grasslands occur only in the Nicobars, and while deciduous forests are common in the Andamans, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. The current forest coverage is claimed to be 86.2% of the total land area.

This atypical forest coverage is made-up of twelve types namely:
This tropical rain forest despite its isolation from adjacent land masses is surprisingly rich with a diversity of animal life.

About 50 types of forest mammals are located to occur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Some are endemic, such as the Andaman Wild Boar. Rodents are the largest group with 26 species, then 14 types of bat. One of the larger mammals there's two endemic[citation needed] varieties of wild boar, Sus scrofa andamanensis from Andaman and S. s. nicobaricus from Nicobar, which are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Sch I). The Spotted Deer Axis axis, Barking Deer and Sambar were all brought to the Andaman District, although the Sambar did not survive. Around 1962 there is an effort introducing the Leopard, which was unsuccessful because of unsuitable habitat. They were ill-considered moves as exotic introductions can cause havoc to island flora and fauna. Interview island (the largest wildlife sanctuary in the ANI) in Middle Andaman holds a population of feral elephants. These elephants were brought in for forest work with a timber company, which subsequently released them when it went bankrupt. This population has been subject to research studies.

ANI has also 270 types of birds (including endemics); the Nicobar island group includes a higher endemicity compared to Andamans there really are a total of 14 species endemic to ANI. The State Bird from the Andamans may be the Andaman Wood pigeon. Some endemic birds of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are:
Butterflies and Moths
With about 225 species, the A&N Islands house some of the larger and many spectacular butterflies around the globe. Ten species are endemic to these Islands. Mount Harriet National Park is one of the richest regions of butterfly and moth diversity on these Islands.

These islands are traditionally recognized for their shell wealth, especially in the genera Turbo, Trochus, Murex and Nautilus.

Earliest recorded commercial exploitation began during 1929. Shells are essential to those islands because some like turbo, trochus & nautilus etc. are utilized as novelties supporting many cottage industries creating a number of knick knacks & ornaments. Shells such as giant clam, green mussel and oyster support edible shellfishery, several like scallop, clam, and cockle are burnt in kilns to create edible lime.