Southern Secondary Moist Mixed Decidous Fores

A closed high forest of about 30 to 36m and the dominant species are deciduous. Due to the availability of considerably high soil moisture a few evergreen species are also seen. Compared to the moist mixed deciduous forests and secondary moist teak-bearing forests; secondary moist mixed deciduous forest area is having high rainfall. This region has the climate to support the evergreen forest. Bamboos are commonly seen in some areas especially in the lowlands near reservoir. Bamboo tends to spread when the canopy is open. The undergrowth is luxuriant where grasses do not cover the ground. Epiphytes are seen and large climbers are abundant. The trees mostly have rounded crown and tall cylindrical bole. Buttress formation is also found in some species. The trees in this type generally have thick bark, mostly fibrous and fissured in all shapes. The chief feature of the moist deciduous forest is a leafless period in the dry season (March-April). An appreciable number of the deciduous trees, however, come into new leaf (and often flower) long before the monsoon when one would expect them to experience water stress. The underground in almost all places are covered by grass and annual fire is a common phenomenon. The fires result in the spread of grass, which becomes heavy and continuous especially where the canopy is open.

The repeated burning and grazing result in a particular type of deciduous forest especially in the region where it is exposed to strong wind. In this region the trees exhibit low height and crooked formation. The ground is fully covered by grass. In this area fire is frequent and only fire-resistant trees are met with. Regeneration is veryscanty in this area.

This forest type is mostly confined to the low elevation places at Thenmala, Kattilappara and Rosemala. In this type a three tier canopy structure can be observed.

The trees in the upper storey are Pterocarpus marsupium, Terminalia paniculata, T.crenulata, T.bellirica, Lagerstroemia microcarpa, Tetrameles nudiflora, Sterculia guttata, Bombax ceiba, Hymenodictyon orixense, Dalbergia sissoides, Dillenia pentagyna, Bridelia airy-shawii, Stereospermum colais, Grewia tiliifolia, etc.

The middle storey is comprised of Lannea coromandelica, Hymenodictyon obovatum, Alstonia scholaris, Strychnos nux-vomica, Buchanania lanzan, Careya arborea, Miliusa tomentosa, Pongamia pinnata, Phyllanthus emblica, Macaranga peltata, Olea dioica, etc.

In the lower storey are Wrightia tinctoria, Naringi crenulata, Mallotus philippensis, Chionathus mala-elengi, Catunaregam spinosa, Tabernaemontana heyneana, Callicarpa tomentosa, Helictres isora, Holarrhena pubescens, Cipadessa baccifera, etc.

The shrubby layer is composed of Desmodium triangulare, D.pulchellum, D.velutinum, Chromolaena odorata, Ixora malabarica, Solanum torvum, etc.