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TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA 

TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA 

  • Our country India is one of the twelve mega bio- diversity countries of the world.  With about 47,000 plant species India occupies tenth place in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity.
  • There are about 15,000 flowering plants in India which account for 6 per cent in the world’s total number of flowering plants.
  • The country has many non-flowering plants such as ferns, algae and fungi.  India also has approximately 90,000 species of animals as well as a rich variety of fish in its fresh and marine waters. 
  • Cultivated crops and fruits, orchards form part of vegetation but not natural vegetation (refer to infograph).
  • The term flora is used to denote plants of a particular region or period.  Similarly, the species of animals are referred to as fauna.
  • India’s natural vegetation has undergone many changes due to several factors such as the growing demand for cultivated land, development of industries and mining, urbanisation and over- grazing of  pastures.
  • The following major types of vegetation may be identified in our country:

TROPICAL EVERGREEN FORESTS:

  • These forests are restricted to heavy rainfall areas of the Western Ghats and the island groups of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar, upper parts of Assam and Tamil Nadu coast. 
  • They are at their best in areas having more than 200 cm of rainfall with a short dry season.
  • The trees reach great heights up to 60 metres or even above.      TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA
  • Since the region is warm and wet throughout the year, it has a luxuriant vegetation of all kinds – trees, shrubs, and creepers giving it a multilayered structure.
  • There is no definite time for trees to shed their leaves. As such, these forests appear green all the year round.
  • Some of the commercially important trees of this forest are ebony, mahogany, rosewood, rubber and cinchona.
  • The common animals found in these forests are elephants, monkey, lemur and deer.
  • The one horned rhinoceros are found in the jungles of Assam and West Bengal.
  • Besides these animals plenty of birds, bats, sloth, scorpions and snails are also found in these jungles.

TROPICAL DECIDUOUS FORESTS:

  • These are the most widespread forests of India.
  • They are also called the monsoon forests and spread over the region receiving rainfall between 200 cm and 70 cm. Trees of this forest-type shed their leaves for about six to eight weeks in dry  summer. 
  • On the basis of the availability of water, these forests are further divided into moist and dry deciduous.
  • The former is found in areas receiving rainfall between 200 and 100 cm.
  • These forests exist, therefore, mostly in the eastern part of the country – northeastern states, along the foothills of the Himalayas, Jharkhand, West Orissa and Chhattisgarh, and on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats.
  • Teak is the most dominant species of this forest.                    TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA
  • Bamboos, sal, shisham, sandalwood, khair, kusum, arjun, mulberry are other commercially important species.
  • The dry deciduous forests are found in areas having rainfall between 100 cm and 70 cm.
  • These forests are found in the rainier parts of the peninsular plateau and the plains of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.  There are open stretches in which Teak, Sal, Peepal, Neem grow.
  • A large part of this region has been cleared for cultivation and some parts are used for grazing.
  • In these forests, the common animals found are lion, tiger, pig, deer and elephants.
  • A huge variety of birds, lizards, snakes, and tortoises are also found here.

THE THORN FORESTS AND SCRUBS:

  • In regions with less than 70 cm of rainfall, the natural vegetation consists of thorny trees and bushes.
  • This type of vegetation is found in the north-western part of the country including semi-arid areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. 
  • Acacias, palms, euphorbias and cacti are the main plant species.
  • Trees are scattered and have long roots penetrating deep into the soil in order to get moisture.
  • The stems are succulent to conserve water.  Leaves are mostly thick and small to minimize evaporation.
  • These forests give way to thorn forests and scrubs in arid areas.
  • In these forests, the common animals are rats, mice, rabbits, fox, wolf, tiger, lion, wild ass, horses and camels.

MONTANE FORESTS:

  • In mountainous areas, the decrease in temperature with increasing altitude leads to the corresponding change in natural vegetation. 
  • As such, there is a succession of natural vegetation belts in the same order as we see from the tropical to the tundra region.
  • The wet temperate type of forests are found between a height of 1000 and 2000 meters. 
  • Evergreen broad-leaf trees such as oaks and chestnuts predominate.
  • Between 1500 and 3000 metres, temperate forests containing coniferous trees like pine, deodar, silver fir, spruce and cedar, are found.
  • These forests cover mostly the southern slopes of the Himalayas, places having high altitude in southern and north-east India.  At higher elevations, temperate grasslands are common. 
  • At high altitudes, generally more than 3,600 metres above sea-level, temperate forests and grasslands give way to the Alpine vegetation.        TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA
  • Silver fir, junipers, pines and birches are the common trees of these forests.
  • However, they get progressively stunted as they approach the snow-line.
  • Ultimately through shrubs and scrubs, they merge into the Alpine grasslands.
  • These are used extensively for grazing by nomadic tribes like the Gujjars and the Bakarwals.
  • At higher altitudes, mosses and lichens form part of tundra vegetation. 
  • The common animals found in these forests are Kashmir stag, spotted dear, wild sheep, jack rabbit, Tibetan antelope, yak, snow leopard, squirrels, Shaggy horn wild ibex, bear and rare red panda, sheep and goats with thick hair.

MANGROVE FORESTS:

  • The mangrove tidal forests are found in the areas of coasts influenced by tides.  Mud and silt get accumulated on such coasts.              TYPES OF VEGETATION IN INDIA
  • Dense mangroves are the common varieties with roots of the plants submerged under water.
  • The deltas of the Ganga, the Mahanadi, the Krishana, the Godavari and the Kaveri are covered by such vegetation. In the Ganga- Brahamaputra delta, sundari trees are found, which provide durable hard timber. 
  • Palm, coconut, keora, agar, also grow in some parts of the deltas.
  • Royal Bengal Tiger is the famous animal in these forests.
  • Turtles, crocodiles, gharials and snakes are also found in these forests.

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