Types of Forests and Natural Vegetation in India:
India is home of diverse Natural Vegetation. From Temperate Grasslands to Tropical Rain Forest, from Montane vegatation to Thorn Forests, everything is experienced in India.This article lists the main types of forests in India and the features of natural vegetation present in these forests.
Types of Forests in India:
Broadly, the types of forests in India can be divided into five major types on the basis of certain common features like dominant natural vegetation, climatic regions etc. The types of forests in India are classified as below:
- Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen forests.
- Tropical Deciduous Forests.
- Tropical Thorn Forests.
- Montane Forests.
- Littoral and Swamp Forests.
Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen Forests:
- Tropical Evergreen and semi-evergreen forests are typically found in warm and humid areas with rainfall more than 200cm and mean annual temperature more than 22 degrees.
- In India, evergreen forest are found in western slopes of Western Ghats, hilly areas of N.E states, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
- No fixed seasons for flowering, shedding or fruiting in these forests.
- They are green all the year round.
- Very dense forests and well stratified.
- Very tall Trees which can go upto 60m or above are found in Tropical Evergreen forests.
- Main Species- Rosewood, Ebony, Mahagony etc.
- Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests are found in less rainy areas of the region. These forests have mix of Evergreen and Deciduous varieties.
- Main species of Semi-evergreen forests are white cedar, hollock ,kail , oak, chestnut etc.
Tropical Deciduous Forests:
- These are the most widespread forests out of all the types of forests in India
- Also, called as Monsoon Forests.
- They are found in the regions having rainfall between 70-200cm.
Tropical Deciduous Forests are further classified into two types of forests on the basis of rainfall- Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests and Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests.
Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests:
- present in the areas having rainfall between 100-200cm.
- found in eastern slopes of Western Ghats, foothills of Himalayas in North-eastern states and Odisha.
- Main Species of Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests: Teak, Sal, Sheshum,amla, kusum, mahua, Sandalwood etc.
Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests.
- found in the areas having rainfall between 70-100cm.
- present in rainier areas of peninsula and the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- During Dry seasons, Trees shed their leaves completely and and the forest appears like a Grassland.
- Main species of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests: Khair, Tendu, Palas, axlewood, bel etc.
Tropical Thorn Forests:
- Tropical Thorn Forests are found in areas having less than 50cm of Rainfall.
- Variety of Grasses and Shrubs are found in these thorn forests.
- They are present in dry and semi-dry areas of south-west Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
- In Tropical Thorn Forest, Trees remain leafless for most part of the year.
- Tussocky Grass grows upto 2m in these areas.
- This type of Forest is found in the Mountainous or Hilly regions.
- Montane Forests in India can be classified in two types of forests – the Northern Montane Forests and the Southern Montane Forests.
Northern Montane Forests:
- Found in the Himalayan ranges.
- The vegetation type changes with increase in altitude from Tropical To Tundra.
- Deciduous forests are found at the foot-hills of the mountains.
- Between 1000-2000m , wet-temperate type of Forests are found. Evergreen broad-leaf trees such as Oak, Chestnut are commonly found in some areas at this height.
- Between 1500- 1750m . Pine and Deodar trees are found in some areas. Chinar and Walnut trees are present in Kashmir Himalayas at this altitude.
- Between 2200-3000m Blue Pine and Spruce appear.
- At an altitude of 3000 – 4000m , Silver firs, Junipers, pines, birch and rhodendrons are found.
- At Higher altitudes, Mosses and Lichens are present.
Southern Montane Forests:
- They are found in three major areas in Southern India – Hills of Western Ghats, Nilgiri Hills and Vindhyas.
- As , the Hills in Southern India are closer to the tropics and with average height of 1500m , they only show two types of vegetation – Temperate in higher regions at sub-tropical in lower regions.
- The Temperate Forests of Nilgiri, Annamalai and Panini Hills are called as Sholas.
- Main Species of Southern Montane Forests: Magnolia, Laurel, cinchona and wattle.
Littoral and Swamp Forests:
- Also, called as Wetland Forests.
- India has rich variety of these types of forests.
- Mainly found in : reservoirs of Deccan Plateau, saline coastline of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Gulf of Kachchh, eastern coast deltas, lake and rivers of kashmir and ladakh, swamps in north-east India etc.
- Mangroves Forests grow along coast in the salt-marshes, tidal creeks and estuaries.
- Mangroves are home to a large variety of Birds.
- Also, contains a number of Salt-tolerant species of plants.
- Mangroves in India are largely present in Andaman and Nicobar island, Sunderban Deltas and Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna deltas.
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