More photos with some information on the biodiversity and the riparian forests of Athirapally which is a part of the sholayar forest ranges. Photographs taken mainly from below the Athirapally Waterfalls of chalakkudy River. The vegetations found around the course of rivers,ponds and lakes are termed as riparian.
The river of Chalakkudy is blessed with these type of dense forest throughout the rivers path. This peculiarity have given the river the much abundant collection of diverse plants and organisms in and around. The Chalakkudy river is found out to be the river which has the largest variety of fresh water fishes.
Photo of the Athirapally waterfalls from the forest below the river falls.
The misty air around the waterfalls of Athirapally.
Coming to athirapally from the peringalkuthu region the human intervention into the forest and river keeps increasing and no wonder the richness of the vegetation in this area counts the least number of plant and tree species as per some floristic surveys done here.
The river is kept polluting both by tourists and also for plantation needs.Much of the forest near the region is taken for plantation of rubber and palm like spice crops by the Plantation corporation of Kerala.Athirapally is one of the most disturbed region of interventions in names of tourism and agriculture.
The hydrology of the river is already changed and changing by these human attacks.Glad that the place here in Athirapally has got prohibition of bringing plastics by tourists atleast. The tribal people here in the forest got shifted more to the outer world from their natural habitat before and also the destruction of forests have made their survival hard as the people depends entirely on the river and forest for their living.
Riparian Forest vegetation,Photographed from under Athirapally Waterfalls
If you start saying about the benefits of these riparian vegetation, its a long list.
Benefits of riparian forests:
Increases water quality by biofiltration, reduces soil erosion,reduces the streams power thereby reducing damages during floods etc, replenishes soil, reduces the turbidity of water, provides food and shelter for much wide varities of aquatic and nonaquatic animals like birds, acts as connecting forests between cluttered forests and can be elephant corridors etc,toxicity of water through fertilizers like nitrates which are harmful to living beings are reduced by riparians.
So it will be our own benefit with so many other organisms around if we preserve these forests.
The Waterfalls of Athirapally- A distant view.
The three streams of Athirapally falls, but the number of streams depends on the water level in the river. This photograph is not during the monsoons when you can see only a single huge milky wide waterfalls there.
The guards there in Atirapally were saying there is a huge pit just under that falls in the middle and its depth is still undetermined even though they tried to measure it with strings immersed into the falls from a helicopter. and also says even in extreme summer the middle stream will be there filling the pit under with water.
Athirapally River Dam Dispute
The place is now much in news regarding the dispute of a new Hydro Electric project proposed by KSEB to be built in about 5 Kms above this waterfalls. Perceptions of environmentalists regarding this project is its gonna drown acres of the Riparian forest land around and also drying out the river course from the dam thereby killing the vegetation and most probably the end of one of the beautiful Waterfalls in entire Kerala- the Athirapally river Falls.
The kerala Government and KSEB says their won't be any damage done to the life or vegetation around. Environmental activists and the tribal people of these atirapilly forests keeps protesting against this project and presently the government of Kerala got denied the approval to proceed with the hydro electric project from the central ministry.
What Kerala Goverment and KSEB says about the denial is, no tribal or local people have opposed the construction of dam and its some conspiracy going on behind the protest. The fact is three times the approval was given by the central Government before and now its denied, pointing out the fact that not much environmental studies was done before and present studies showed up the project is hazardous to the wildlife around.
Also a Niagra model is suggested for this Athirapally Hydro project. ie Stopping the river in nights for producing electricity and releasing it on daytime for Tourism. Anyway the final outcome is yet to happen, and hope it will be in a nature friendly way.
will be back soon