From the preface:
"Biodiversity documentation encompassing ecosystem, species and gene diversity of any region is one very important activity that is gaining momentum in various parts of the world. Species diversity studies give us insight into the richness of the area. Floral and faunal surveys have been either completed or being undertaken in various parts of India. The data collected through such surveys provide us not only with the amount of diversity of an area but also set a baseline which can serve as a future reference. This comparison with information from the past can help to draw some logical conclusions about changes that have been taking place in the natural composition of the flora and fauna. This in turn will govern future strategies to conserve biodiversity.
Although several floristic surveys in India were undertaken chiefly during the British era by the then forest officials and even surgeons, engineers, priests and army officials, the habit soon died away. We have now entered into a situation where even after the availability of books and flora and even after working in the forests for several years, forest field staff is unable to identify plants. In this era of biodiversity conservation where we expect to have ‘People's Biodiversity Registers’ in each village or good biodiversity documentation otherwise, it becomes mandatory to develop skills which can aid in authentic identification and quantification of the biodiversity of a region. It is high time that foresters should know the exact numbers of plant and animal species to ensure proper enforcement of some of the legal provisions made in the acts like the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Biological Diversity Act 2002.
In recent years, wildlife monitoring methods have focused not only on the survey of wild animals, but also on habitat types, habitat quality etc. The methodology that the forest department has been adopting since the last few years involves surveys of animals and plants along a line transect. It has been found that foresters face much difficulty in proper identification of plants and confirming their botanical names which need to be recorded. This book may partially help solving this problem.
There are several interior pockets in the Ghat region of Sahyadri (Northern Western Ghats) which have not been explored adequately. Foresters on many occasions have to undertake sampling and monitoring activities of such areas. Hence, proper orientation and preliminary knowledge of the flora (or fauna) is a must for all the forest officials to understand the nuances of biodiversity. However, due to the absence of any such orientation and lack of inclination towards field observations, many rare, endangered and threatened species may go unnoticed even after extensive fieldwork.
Describing the entire flora of the region which consists of about 3000 species including lower plants is beyond the scope of this book. Efforts have been made to give the readers an insight into the flora in general and some basic knowledge to begin with. It is sincerely hoped that apart from the foresters, this book will also be useful to students, teachers, researchers, trekkers, and the amateur field explorers in understanding plant diversity of the Northern Western Ghats (Maharashtra as well as Goa and Karnataka)."