Dr. R.Ganesan

Fellow, Suri Sehgal Centre for Conservation Science


  • University of Madras
    Chennai, India. Botany B.Sc. 1980-83
  • University of Madras
    Chennai, India. Botany M.Sc. 1983-85
    (specialisation in plant taxonomy)
  • University of Madras
    Chennai, India. Botany M.Phil. 1985-87
    (specialisation in plant taxonomy)
  • University of Madras
    Chennai, India Botany Ph.D. 2001

Thesis Title: Plant Species Diversity, Structure and Regeneration in the Unlogged and Logged mid Elevation Wet Evergreen Forest of southern Western Ghats, India.

Research interests:

  • Plant taxonomy of Western Ghats and Lauraceae
  • Long term monitoring of vegetation dynamics in natural and human impacted forests, Population dynamics of endemic and NTFP yielding plant species
  • Involving people in conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, imparting knowledge with younger generation about biodiversity conservation.

Current research activities

Plant taxonomy and Database: Botanising Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife sanctuary forests to prepare a flora.

Long Term Forest Dynamics: Long Term Forest Dynamics Study at Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Southern Western Ghats and BRT forests to study the regeneration dynamics of tree species in general and in specific NTFP and endemic species.

Conservation of NTFP resources: Involved in a project addressing the issues of conserving the Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) resource and the forest ecosystem involving the local community. I work on monitoring the population dynamics of Amla (Indian Gooseberry) trees (Phyllanthus emblica and P.indofischeri- Euphorbiaceae) regeneration status in BRT forests where invasive plants, forest fire, grazing play major role in regulating the tree regeneation dynamics.

Biodiversity Conservation and livelihood alternatives: Involved in a project that deals with building a biodiversity rich buffer outside the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve - a Protected Area with the involvement of forest fringe communities. This program is aimed at revitalizing the local knowledge in resource generation by involving the community living along the forest fringes. I give work with the community through a Multi-purpose homestead gardening and greening project in the forest fringe villages of KMTR.

Education: As a botanist I impart my experience regarding biodiversity conservation and natural resource management with rural and urban children and undergraduate and graduate level students. I teach Plant taxonomy and its importance to Conservation to students ranging from High school to Doctoral level students through Field Courses and lectures.

(a) Published

(i) Book

  • Treasures on Tiger Tracks - A Bilingual Nature Guide to Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. Ganesh, T., R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, Jahnavi G. Pai. 2009.
  • Sea grasses of Coromandel Coast, India, Flora of India, Series 4.
    Ramamurthy, K, N.P.Balakrishnan, K.Ravikumar and R. Ganesan, 1992. Botanical Survey of India, Coimbatore.

Articles Published

  • Selwyn, A. and R. Ganesan. 2009. Evaluating the potential role of Eucalyptus plantations in the regeneration of native trees in southern Western Ghats, India. Tropical Ecology 50; 173- 189; 2009.
  • Ticktin and R. Ganesan. 2009. Some issues related to the ecological sustainability of NTFP harvest in South Asia T. In Non-Timber Forest Products: Conservation, Management and Policy in the Tropics (eds) R. Uma Shaanker, A.J. Hiremath, G.C. Joseph and N.D. Rai, pp 1-20, 2009.
  • Ganesan, R. and R. Siddappa Setty. 2004. Regeneration of Amla, an Important Non-Timber Forest Product from Southern India, Conservation and Society, 2:365-375, 2004.
  • Ganesan, R. 2004. Orchids of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Southern Western Ghats, India Orchid Memories- A tribute to Gunnar Seidenfaden (eds. K.S. Manilal and C. Sathish Kumar) 85-91, 2004.
  • Ganesan, R., and P. Davidar.2003. Effect of logging on population structure and regeneration of important fruiting trees, southern Western Ghats, India, Journal of Tropical Forest Science 15:12-25, 2003. (published from Malaysia).
  • R. Ganesan. 2003. Identification, distribution and conservation of Phyllanthus indofischeri, another source of Indian gooseberry. Current Science, 84; 1515-1518, 2003.
  • Sheeba J.I., D. Narashimhan and R. Ganesan. 2003.Status of Syzygium gambleanum Rathakr. and Chithra (Myrtaceae) from Southern Western Ghats, India Bull. Bot.Surv.India 111-120, 2003
  • Ganesan, R. 2002. Evergreen forest swamps and their plant species diversity of Kalakad - Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, southern western Ghats, India. Indian Forester; 128;1351-1359,
  • R. Ganesan and C. Livingstone. 2001. Check list of orchids from wet evergreen forests of Kakachi and Kodayar. ZOO'S Print Journal, 16; 445-446, 2001.
  • Ganesan, R., T.Ganesh, M.Soubadra Devy, and P. Davidar, 2001. Regeneration dynamics of a wet evergreen forest, southern Western Ghats, India., 231-234; Tropical Ecosystems- Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare. (eds.) K.N.Ganeshiah, R.Uma Shaanker and K.S.Bawa, Oxford and IBH publishers ltd, New Delhi
  • Ganesan, R. 1998. More on 'taxanamists'. Current Science 75; 1103.
  • Ganeshaiah, K.N., R. Ganesan, R. Uma Shanker and C.Meera. 1998. A taxonomic hurdle or hurdled by taxonomists? Amruth, 2; 3-8,1998.
  • Ganesh,T., R. Ganesan and M.S. Devy. 1998. Diet of the brown palm civet (Paradoxurus jerdonii) in Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 95(1): 108-109.
  • Ganesh, T., R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, P. Davidar and K.S. Bawa. 1996. Assessment of plant biodiversity at a mid elevation ever- green forest of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India. Current Science,71;379-391.
  • Parthasarathy, N., K. Ravikumar, R. Ganesan and K. Ramamurthy. 1990. Distribution of sea grasses along the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Aquatic Botany 40: 145-153, 1990 (published from Netherlands).
  • Ravikumar, K., and R. Ganesan. 1990. A new subspecies of Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) J.D. Hook (Hydrocharitaceae) from the Eastern Coast of Peninsular India Aquatic Botany 36: 351-358, 1990 (published from Netherlands).
  • Ravikumar, K., R. Ganesan and K. Ramamurthy. 1990. First report of a Seagrass, Halodule wrightii Asch. (Potamogetonaceae) from India. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, 14, 711-714, 1990.
  • Ravikumar, K., R. Ganesan and K. Ramamurthy. 1989. Melhania balakrishnanii (Sterculiaceae) - A new species from Tamil Nadu, India Bulletin of Botanical Survey of India 31: 172-174, 1989.
  • V.N.R. Rao and R. Ganesan. 1987. Response qof Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cleve to heavy metals under varying salinity ranges. Seaweed Research and Utilisation, 10: 97-107, 1987.

Articles in press/ accepted/ communicated/ preparation

  • Discovery of 'possibly extinct' Crotalaria digitata from south India
    Kottai Muthu, R. and R. Ganesan, Rheedea (Communicated).
  • Impact of Lanatana invasion on native plant regeneration in a dry deciduous forest, Karnataka, India. R. Ganesan and K.S. Bawa (submitted to Tropical Ecology - published from India).
  • Diversity and structure of trees in the selection and clear cut logged evergreen forests, south Western Ghats, India (in preparation).
  • Secondary forest tree species community and its role in restoring the logged forests in south Western Ghats, India (in preparation).
  • Diversity and structure of shrub community in the logged forests in south Western Ghats, India (in preparation).
  • New species of Listea (Lauraceae) from Agasthyamalai forests, Western Ghats, India (Revision Kew Bulletin).

Other publications:


  • Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Program - Agasthyamalai Landscape, Western Ghats - Rapid appraisal Report to World Bank and MoEF, India.
  • Final Project Report for Conservation and Livelihood Program, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Mumbai.
  • Participatory resource management in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife sanctuary, Submitted to FORD Foundation.
  • Contributed to National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan India - Western Ghats Ecoregion (ed.) Ranjit Daniels, Ministry of Environment, Govt. of India.
  • Contributed to Endemic Orchids in the Western Ghats, Report 2001. (eds.) C. Sathis Kumar, B.V. Shetty, S.S.R. Bennet, T.A. Rao, S. Molur and Sally Walker, Wildlife Information Liaision Development Society, Zoo Outreach Organization, Coimbatore.
  • Save the nelli - an article published in Deccan Herald, a daily in English to create awareness for conservation of an important NTFP tree, Phyllanthus indofischeri.
  • Contributed and assisted for a book, 'Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary - Natural History, Biodiversity and Conservation'.

Research and Travel Grants

  • Participatory Resource Management in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. FORD Foundation, India. April, 1999 to September 2001. (Associate Investigator with Prof. K.S. Bawa)
  • Conservation of swamp forests in Western Ghats: Flora-Fauna International, United Kingdom, September 2002 to August 2003. (Co-investigator).
  • Grant from IUCN-FORD to present paper in the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Meeting at Panama, 2002.
  • Research Grant- (Principal Investigator) International Science Foundation (IFS), Sweden, Evaluating the role of plantations in restoration of native forest vegetation in the Western Ghats, India. 2004.
  • Research Grant (Principal Investigator): Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India. Mapping and Quantitative Assessment of Geographic Distribution and the Population Status of Plant Resources of Western Ghats. Unit 5- southern Western Ghats, 2004-2010.
  • Research Grant (Co Investigator): Revitalizing the traditional bio-resource management practices among women in a forest dependent community around a Protected Area in Tamil Nadu. Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India. 2005 - 2009.
  • Research Grant (Co Investigator): Epiphytic Community in the wet forest canopy at Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu. Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, 2006.
  • Botanizing the under explored areas in Sahyadris, Co-PI supported by National Geographic Society Grants.
  • Conservation of wetlands for equitable use by birds and humans around a Tiger Reserve in Southern Western Ghats, India. Co-Investigator funded by EGP- IUCN 15/09/2008- 15/09/2010


  • Rank holder (4th) at University level of Post-Graduation program of University of Madras, Chennai, India.
  • Awarded for the Best Student Poster Presentation by the Association for Tropical Biology (ATB) during 1999 annual meeting at St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Research Experience (excludes period for Ph.D. thesis):

  1. Involved in a project 'Participatory resource management and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife sanctuary', funded by MacArthur and Ford Foundation. In particular I dealt with aspects about regeneration of amla trees and the effects of invasive weed Lantana camara on forest tree generation.

    Carried out floristic inventory in BRT forests to establish herbarium and plant database.

    Position: Research Associate.
    Institution: Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore.
    Period: May 1998- March 2000.

  2. Documenting and monitoring plant species diversity in small-scale permanent plots at a medium elevation wet evergreen forest, Agastyamalai, southern Western Ghats. Also studied the effect of logging on plant species diversity and regeneration. Made inventories, to know about the status of the endemic plant population and their habitat.

    Position: Research Fellow
    Institution: Salim Ali School of Ecology, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry and Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, funded by MacArthur Foundation, USA.
    Period: October,1992 to June,1994.

  3. Vegetation and nutrient cycling studies in evergreen forest of Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (Western Ghats). Worked on below-ground ecosystem functioning to study the role of fine roots, mycorrhizal fungi, soil and their seasonal dynamics besides vegetation.

    Position: Project Fellow
    Institution: Salim Ali School of Ecology, Pondicherry University. Funded by Dept. of Environment and Forests.
    Period: June, 89-September, 92.

  4. Research on Seagrass Ecosystem along the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. This included studies on Taxonomy, field survey and assessment of threats to their habitat. Acquired experience in connection with floristic survey, preparation and maintenance of herbarium, writing phytography, icone preparation etc.

    Position: Senior Research Fellow
    Institution: Botanical Survey of India, southern circle, Coimbatore.
    Period: July 87 - January 89.

  5. Experimental research on interaction in-between salinity and heavy metals and their effect on biology of centric euryhaline diatom (phytoplankton) as a part of M.Phil. course. Specialized on taxonomy.
    Period: July 85 - September 86.

Other Research Activities:

Member - Advisory Committee on Buffer Zone Management of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Chennai.

Reviewed articles for Scientific Journals: Current Science, Rheedea and Journal of Biogeography.

  • Prepared Icones for four new taxa published by other researchers. Also made drawings for the marine members of Hydrocharitaceae and Potamogetonaceae for the Flora India Project.
  • Expertise was provided to quantify vegetation in the Medicinal Plant Conservation Area (Jawadis, Eastern Ghats) of Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Tradition (FRLHT), Bangalore.
  • Resource person for endangered medicinal plants from Kalakad forest, southern western Ghats and Biligiri Rangan hills, Karnataka as a part of Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, SSC, IUCN. * Resource person for information about more than 14 endemic orchid species of southern Western Ghats to the Orchid Specialist Group-SSC, IUCN. I have relocated populations of Paphiopedilum druryi- Orchidaceae (reported as extinct) living in very small population in this hill range only.
  • Resource person for the Project Lifescape, Biodiversity Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore and recommended 10 species of plants to be included in the 'Species Prioritization Sheet'.
  • Visited Missouri Botanical Garden for a training to learn about the Interactive Key for the family Lauraceae. Also worked with the Laureacean expert Dr. Van Der Werff, Henk about the morphological features of the family Lauraceae.
  • Worked in Kew Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, and British Museum London, UK for 3 months for a project on Plant Data Base of India.
  • Resource person for Conservation Biology Course for Post-Graduate students (2nd Jan- 16th Jan, 2001), conducted by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a program sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi. Taught about Invasive species and biodiversity conservation and field sampling techniques to study the population dynamics of plants.
  • Resource person for Applied Conservation Research Methods Training for Post-Graduate students conducted jointly by Arunachal University, Arunachal Pradesh State and ATREE during 15 to 21 March, 2001.

Workshops and Conferences Attended.

National Conferences

  • Indo-British Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation and Evaluation. Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Feb, 1996.
  • International Conference on Medicinal Plant Conservation conducted by Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Tradition, Bangalore, 16-19, Feb. 1998.
  • International Conference on Conservation of Tropical species, communities and Ecosystems, Thiruvananthapuram, India, 2-6th December, 1998. Poster was presented entitled 'Population structure and regeneration of Elaeocarpus venustus Bedd.- endemic tree of Agasthyamalai, south western Ghats, India'.
  • International Conference on Tropical Ecosystems Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare. 15-18th July 2001, Bangalore.
    Presented a paper entitled 'Regeneration dynamics of a wet evergreen forest, southern Western Ghats, India. R. Ganesan, T. Ganesh, M. Soubadra Devy, P. Davidar and K.S. Bawa.
  • Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Analytical Workshop Series, Inaugural Workshop 2001. 'Spatial Patterns and Habitat Distributions in Tropical Forests', Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. 11 July - 19 Aug, 2001
  • Presented a paper on Linking Hebarium with Biodiversity Conservation at workshop on Conservation of Biodiversity Hotspots of the Indian Sub-continent and Taxonomic Databases for conservation. August 30- September1 2004, Bangalore, India.
  • Workshop on Policies, Management, Utilisation and Conservation of Non-timber forest Products in the South Asia Region, Bangalore, 28-30 April, 2003.
  • Regeneration Dynamics of a Non-timber Forest product species, amla, in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, India Ganesan, R., Siddappa Setty, R. and Kamal Bawa.

National Seminar on Plant Resources of Western Ghats, Ecology, Economics and Conservation, 7-8 Dec. 2006 Bangalore

  1. Dry evergreen forests and its floristic significance in Agasthya hills, southern Western Ghats. Ganesan, R., V. Ganesan, R. Kottai Muthu and K.N. Ganeshaiah.
  2. Potential Wild edible fruits for domestication from Western Ghats
    Kottai Muthu, R., V. Ganesan, R. Ganesan and K.N. Ganeshaiah
  3. Plant Endemism and their habitat diversity on the Eastern slopes of Agasthyar hills, Western Ghats. Ganesan,V., R. Kottai Muthu, R. Ganesan and K.N. Ganeshaiah
  4. Long Term Monitoring of Bioresources in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka. Paramesha, M. and R.Ganesan

National Symposium on Plant Resources of India, Linking Conservation, Livelihood and Culture, 14-15 March, 2008 JCBM College, Sringeri, Karnataka and Dept. of Biotechnology, New Delhi.

  1. Vegetation Types and NonTimber Forest Produces in Dry Forests on the Eastern Slopes of Southern Western Ghats. Ganesan, R., R. Kottai Muthu, V. Ganesan, and K.N. Ganeshaiah.
  2. Amla fruit - Frugivore interaction and Bioresources Conservation in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctary (BRT), Karnataka
    Paramesha, M., Ganesh,T., Ticktin,T. and R. Ganesan.


  • XVI-International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, USA, 1999.
    a) Attended the ICBN-Nomenclature session - St. Louis code from 25 -29th July.
    b) Presented a poster in the XVI-International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, USA, 1999, 1-8th August entitled 'Structure and regeneration of selected trees in a logged evergreen forest, southern India'.
  • Annual Conference of Ecological Society of America, Spokane, Washington,1999.
    Presented a paper entitled 'Invasive weed species and regeneration of NTFP species in Biligiri Rangaswamy wildlife sanctuary, southern India'.
  • Exploring forest diversity and change: Science results from the network of Forest Dynamics Plots, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 1-3rd June,2000.
  • Presented a paper titled ' Biological Monitoring and Regeneration of a NTFP species, Nelli (Phyllanthus emblica L.), in BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, India'.
  • International Conference on Tropical Ecosystems- Past, Present and Future. Ecological Consequences of managing forests for Non-Timber Forest Products, July 29th to August 2nd.2002 Panama City, Panama.
  • Regeneration dynamics of a non-timber forest product species, amla, in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, India. Ganesan,R., Siddappa Setty and Kamal Bawa.
  • Species 2000 Asia Oceania Working Group and BioNET-SACNET, Chittagong, Bangladesh. 'Herbarium, binomials, bio-resources and computers -21st century plant (Cyber) taxonomy'.

Membership of Professional Societies:

  • Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy (IAAT), India
  • Systematics Association, UK
  • International Society for Tropical Ecology (ISTE), India
  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), USA
  • International Society for Tropical Foresters, USA.