Out of a total area of 3,702 sq.km, 2,151 sq. km. (58%) is under Forests (as per the Forest Survey of India, 2009). The Forests Department of Goa recognises only 1,424 sq. km of forests, with large tracts of forests still to be notified. There are no forests in Bardez taluka for instance !
The six Wild Life Sanctuaries (WLS) in Goa are
- Mahdei WLS (208.48 sq. km.). Recently, the central government has proposed this to be a Tiger Reserve
- Bhagwan Mahaveer WLS (133 sq. km.)
- Netravali WLS (211.05 sq. km.)
- Cotigao WLS (86 sq. km.)
- Bondla WLS (8 sq. km.)
- Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (1.8 sq. km.)
A part of the natural heritage of Goa, albeit usually lying within the NPs/WLSs are waterfalls. Dudhsagar (meaning Ocean of Milk) is by far the most famous waterfall, but Goa has many other waterfalls, including Netravali, Surla, etc.
Springs abound in Goa. Rainfall seeps into the lateritic plateaus and come out at the base of these plateaus. Many villages have springs that are associated with temples.
Home to part one of the 10 hottest Biodiversity Hotspots, Goa is home to a variety of species endemic to the Western Ghats. At one end, we have the Indian Bison, the largest species of the cow family. At another end, there are numerous species of caecilians (snake-like worms) that are continuously being discovered.
Goa benefits from the strong monsoon and returning monsoon winds. Consequently, Goa is part of the longest known migration by an insect, the Globe Skimmer dragonfly. This insect, in thespan of 4 generations over a calendar year, migrates all the way from Goan and further north upto South Africa. It is the only known migration across an ocean by an insect.
Morjim, Agonda and Galgibaga beaches are protected areas under the Regional Plan for Goa as they are nesting areas of the Olive Ridley Turtle.