Significance

The MSNP is located in the Cardamom Hills of southern Western Ghats and represents a large number of plants and animals unique to montane evergreen forests. The Park represents the unique montane evergreen forest ecosystem. The Park is the abode of several endemic species of flora and fauna as well. It is the last remnant of the original forests of the CHR and provides perennial supply of water for meeting the agricultural and drinking water requirements of the majority of people of Shanthanpara and Pooppara. Three streams namely Uchinikuthipuzha, Mathikettan Puzha and Njandar being the tributaries of Panniyar originate from these forests. Though the soil of MSNP is rich with silica, which decreases the water holding capacity, the impenetrable montane forests formation on this ridge of Cardamom Hills make it a true watershed for the rivers which drain this area. Thirty-six species of plants of RET category are found in this area with viable populations out of which 5 species were previously considered as possibly extinct. In addition to these, there are many species of orchids, balsams, strobilanthus, ferns and mushrooms. The Park also has unique features and provides ample academic opportunities for studying the biodiversity of montane vegetation. It can also serve as a field laboratory for activities like conservation education, research and monitoring and participatory management. The Park assumes special significance as a ‘stepping stone’ for any future corridor connectivity between Periyar Tiger Reserve and Munnar Forest Division.