Forest classification is traditionally based on the structure and composition of vegetation, which in tum is strongly linked with the climatic profile of the area. Forest maps thus prepared cannot appropriately meet the needs of the managers whose renewed mandate is to conserve the biological richness of the forests. The emerging need for protecting the forests is to understand the spatial distribution of the conservation value of the forests besides knowing their vegetation types. In other words, we need maps that depict the spatial distribution of biological diversity of the forests. In this paper, we rep011 on our attempt to develop such biodiversity maps for the forest ranges of Udupi and South Canara districts of Ka.rnataka state. Utilizing the data from the vegetation sampling of the Forest Survey of India, we developed a terrain view of the density and diversity of tree species and have attempted to identify the sites with the highest\ud conservation value. We propose that such maps be developed for the entire country and discuss the potentialities and\ud problems associated with this protocol
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