Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Western Ghats

Tab 1

Forest in Palni Hills key biodiversity area, Western Ghats

CEPF is no longer active in this region.​

The Western Ghats of southwestern India is one of the most densely populated of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots.

The Western Ghats Hotspot is extraordinarily rich in species, especially plants, found nowhere else. However, its forests face tremendous population pressure and have been dramatically impacted by demands for timber and agricultural land.

Our investments focus on the Western Ghats, which stretches across an area of 180,000 square kilometers along the west coast of India. The region performs important hydrological and watershed functions, sustaining the approximately 245 million people who live in the Indian states that receive most of their water supply from rivers originating in the region.

While once an area of dense forest, today only one-third of the Western Ghats’ natural vegetation remains in pristine condition. Many remaining forests are highly fragmented and face increasing degradation.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Tab 2

Woman harvesting tea in Western Ghats

Our investment in the Western Ghats began in June 2008 with the first grant to the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment to act as the regional implementation team.

The $4.5-million, five-year investment strategy focuses on five large landscapes—the Anamalai, Malnad-Kodagu, Mysore-Nilgiri, Periyar-Agasthyamalai, and Sahyadri-Konkan biodiversity conservation corridors—and 80 key biodiversity areas.

The strategy is based on an ecosystem profile developed with stakeholders that indicates new partnerships must be created for effective conservation efforts, and civil society organizations independently and in partnership with government must play an important role in conservation and building awareness. In addition, current scientific knowledge about the status and distribution of species and biologically rich areas in the region is inadequate.

Investments are guided by two strategic directions. Each project must be linked to a strategic direction to be approved for funding:

  1. Enable action by diverse communities and partnerships to ensure conservation of key biodiversity areas and enhance connectivity in the corridors.
  2. Improve the conservation of globally threatened species through systematic conservation planning and action.

A third strategic direction is designed for the regional implementation team to provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment.

Tab 3

1. Enable action by diverse communities and partnerships to ensure conservation of key biodiversity areas and enhance connectivity in the corridors 1.1  Test pilot models of community and private reserves to achieve conservation outcomes at priority sites and critical links in unprotected areas of the Anamalai and Malnad-Kodagu corridors as well as the Brahmagiri-Nagarhole critical link in the Mysore-Nilgiri corridor
1.2  Promote partnerships to identify, evaluate, and advocate for suitable mechanisms that incorporate critical links (biological corridors) into the protected area network in the Periyar-Agastyamalai, Mysore-Nilgiri and Malnad-Kodagu corridors
1.3  Support civil society to establish partnerships with state agencies to implement science-based management and conservation of priority sites in the Mysore-Nilgiri corridor
2. Improve the conservation of globally threatened species through systematic conservation planning and action 2.1  Monitor and assess the conservation status of globally threatened species with an emphasis on lesser-known organisms such as reptiles and fish
2.2  Support efforts to conserve Critically Endangered and Endangered species through the creation and implementation of species recovery and management plans 2.3  Evaluate the existing protected area network for adequate globally threatened species representation and assess effectiveness of protected area types in biodiversity conservation
2.4  Support interdisciplinary efforts to analyze and disseminate biodiversity data
3. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment through a regional implementation team 3.1  Build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and political boundaries toward achieving the shared conservation goals described in the ecosystem profile

Tab 4

Western Ghats & Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot


More Maps

Conservation Outcomes and Priority Areas for CEPF Investment. Map (PDF - 2.8 MB)

Tab 5

  • Ecosystem Profile, May 2007
    English (PDF - 1.9 MB) 

  • Fact Sheet, December 2008
    English (PDF - 136 KB)

  • GEF Focal Point Endorsement
    English (PDF - 278 KB)​​


Keystone Foundation Newsletter

Atree Branches

  • Volume 10, April-June 2013
    English​ (PDF - 1.4 MB)


  • Final Assessment of CEPF Investment​, October 2016
    English​​​ (PDF - 1.1 MB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, December 2014
    English (PDF - 460 KB)​

  • Five-Year Assessment Report, December 2013​
    English Hi-Res (PDF - 20 MB)
    English Lo-Res (PDF - 4.6 MB)
  • Mid-term Assessment Report, December 2013
    English​ (PDF - 1 MB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, October 2012
    English (PDF - 447 KB)

  • Mid-term Assessment Report, December 2011
    English (PDF - 816 KB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, October 2010
    English (PDF - 115 KB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, 2009
    English (PDF - 115 KB)

  • Project Final Reports
    Compiled by project leaders detailing final results and lessons learned
    View reports​

Tab 6

Video Series

Fast Facts

Status: CLOSED

Initial investment:

  • $6 million
  • 2008-2015​
Regional Resources
​​Video Series​

Ecosystem profile, May 2007

Access information on biodiversity conservation in the Western Ghats through the collaborative, open-access Western Ghats Portal.​

Photos: Forest in Palni Hills key biodiversity area, Western Ghats © Ian Lockwood/npl/Minden Pictures; Woman harvesting tea in Western Ghats © Patricio Robles Gil/Minden Pictures