Kerala is a state on the Malabar Coast of India. Spread over 38,863 km2, Kerala is the 21st largest Indian state by area. It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. With 33 million inhabitants as per the 2011 census, Kerala is the 13th-largest Indian state by population.
Most of the biodiversity is concentrated and protected in the Western Ghats. Three quarters of the land area of Kerala was under thick forest up to 18th century. As of 2004, over 25% of India's 15,000 plant species are in Kerala. Out of the 4,000 flowering plant species; 1,272 of which are endemic to Kerala, 900 are medicinal, and 159 are threatened.: 11 Its 9,400 km2 of forests include tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, tropical moist and dry deciduous forests, and montane subtropical and temperate forests, Altogether, 24% of Kerala is forested.: 12 Four of the world's Ramsar Convention listed wetlands—Lake Sasthamkotta, Ashtamudi Lake, Thrissur-Ponnani Kole Wetlands, and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands—are in Kerala, as well as 1455.4 km2 of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and 1828 km2 of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. Subjected to extensive clearing for cultivation in the 20th century,: 6–7 much of the remaining forest cover is now protected from clearfelling. Eastern Kerala's windward mountains shelter tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests, which are common in the Western Ghats. The world's oldest teak plantation 'Conolly's Plot' is in Nilambur.
Kerala's fauna are notable for their diversity and high rates of endemism: it includes 118 species of mammals, 500 species of birds, 189 species of freshwater fish, 173 species of reptiles, and 151 species of amphibians, These are threatened by extensive habitat destruction, including soil erosion, landslides, salinisation, and resource extraction. In the forests, sonokeling, Dalbergia latifolia, anjili, mullumurikku, Erythrina, and Cassia number among the more than 1,000 species of trees in Kerala. Other plants include bamboo, wild black pepper, wild cardamom, the calamus rattan palm, and aromatic vetiver grass, Vetiveria zizanioides.: 12 Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Nilgiri tahr, common palm civet, and grizzled giant squirrels are also found in the forests.: 12, 174–75 Reptiles include the king cobra, viper, python, and mugger crocodile. Kerala's birds include the Malabar trogon, the great hornbill, Kerala laughingthrush, darter and southern hill myna. In the lakes, wetlands, and waterways, fish such as Kadu, Red Line Torpedo Barb and choottachi; orange chromide—Etroplus maculatus are found.: 163–65 Recently, a newly described tardigrade species collected from Vadakara coast of Kerala named after Kerala State; Stygarctus keralensis.