Shola forests are tropical Montane forests found in the valleys separated by rolling grasslands only in the higher elevations. They are found only in South India in the Southern Western Ghats. The shola forests are patches of forests that occur only in the valleys where there is least reach of the fog and mist. Other parts of the mountains are covered in grasslands. The trees never grow on the mountain tops. This is such a unique landscape formation that is native only to the southern Western Ghats. The word Shola is derived from the Tamil language word ???? (pronunciation: cÕlai) meaning grove.
The Shola forests are generally said to be found in altitudes above 2000 metres of sea-level. Although they are found from altitudes higher than 1600 metres. Shola forests are a native only to the Southern Western Ghats. They are found only in the high altitude mountains of the states Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu. Nowhere else in the world exist such a kind of forests.
Due to high isolation and unique climatic conditions, the Shola forests are characterised by high endemism. The species of plants and animals found here are native to this region (this climatic region to be more specific) and such species cannot be found anywhere else in the world.