This article is for Tnpsc exams for the topic ‘Forest and Wildlife‘
Types of Forest and Natural Vegetation in India from geography is quite important for most government exams including UPSC and other state government exams.
It is essential to know about forests, vegetation, and types of forest from any government officer’s point of view that’s why this topic owns its importance.
Before going into the topic, ask yourself how do you identify the difference between natural vegetation and a planted one?
The difference is simple, Natural vegetation is something that certain plant species that left undisturbed over some time, for example, a forest or mountain terrain somewhere near a village in Haryana, these plant communities starting to adapt themselves to the conditions, might be soil or climate, etc.
On the other hand, Planted vegetation is also that simple. It is growing a specific plant from the forest or some source and planting in your garden under some human supervision.
India, this beautiful piece of land is huge: it is so large that it is called the Indian subcontinent, which has a large variety of natural vegetation.
India has got so many types of vegetation that differ from one place to another due to serious variations like a girl’s mood in climate and soil.
Let me take the example of the Himalayas, it has temperate vegetation. This is in the North.
Let us go somewhere else to Andaman and Nicobar, Western Ghat ..these two places are separated by hundreds of nautical miles of the sea but still, these two has similarity in vegetation. These two Tropical Rain Forest.
To complete contrast of the above two vegetation we find yet another type of vegetation that is desert and semi-deserts of Rajasthan.
It is known as Cactii, it is a kind of busy or thorny vegetation.
You will find tropical forests and mangroves in the deltaic regions.
Types of Forest in the Indian Subcontinent
- Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen Forest
- Tropical Deciduous Forest
- Tropical Thorn Forest
- Montane Forest
- Littoral and Swamp Forest
Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen Forest
Ok, these Woods are found in Andaman Nicobar Is, Northeastern regions, and Western Ghats slopes.
As far as climate is concerned these are generally in warm and humid places, where there are rainfall of excess of 200 cm and an annual mean temperature of almost 22-degree Celcius.
The tropical evergreen forest is well arranged with a layer that is nearer to land and is well sheltered with creeper, shrubs. A unique pattern is found, a short tree along with a variety of tall trees in this vegetation.
These trees of evergreen forests reach up to 60 meters and above. You know another exciting fact about this vegetation, there is a definite period these trees for fruition, flowering, or shedding their leaves.
It appears green throughout the year. Examples of Evergreen are ebony, aini, mahogany, rosewood, etc. Next, the other one is found in the less rainy area which has an amalgamation of moist deciduous tree and evergreen that is known as a semi-evergreen forest.
Another characteristic feature is the presence of Climbers.
The main examples of semi-evergreen forests are white cedar, kail, and hollock.
Someone might have known the value of these forests, Yes that someone is the British, who know the commercial value of the woods, they replace Oak forest with Pine in Kumaon and Garhwal.
Oakwood was used to lay rails and for constructions as woods were insulators. Also, Brits cleared forests for the plantations of rubber, tea, coffee.
Tropical Deciduous Forest in India
These are like viruses, like everywhere in India, it’s widespread and also called monsoon forests. They found where the precipitation was around 70-200 cm.
Based on the amount of water and moist presence, these are further divided into moist and dry deciduous.
Moist Deciduous found in heavy precipitated areas with 100-200 cm, found in the Himalayan foothill in the northeastern Indian states.
Also found in eastern ranges of the western ghats and parts of Odisha. Some of the tree species are Teak, Sandalwood, sal, Kusum, etc. Dry Deciduous found in margins of wetter areas where there is the transition, moist to drier to thorns. The precipitated areas with 70-100 cm.
Cover vast regions of the country. Found in the Indian peninsula, UP plains, and Bihar and also in higher Peninsular plateau and north Indian plains.
These have striking characteristics such as patches of grass in common, with trees scatter between other things and mixed with teak. Another common feature is, these trees shed their leaves and become leafless in dry seasons
Some of the tree species are Axlewood, tendu, palas, etc. Due to low rainfall and perhaps overgrazing to some extent, this vegetation is found very low in the western Rajasthan and southern Rajasthan.
Tropical Thorn Forests in India
From the word thorn, you might have concluded this kind of vegetation is found in dry areas. Thorn forests are found in areas where there is very low precipitation of about less than that of 50 cm.
Thorn vegetation, yes it consists of a variety of Shrubs, grasses, thorns, etc. In India, as you know it is found Northwestern part of the country, where the land is semi-arid.
Prominent areas of Tropical Thorn are southwestern Punjab that borders Punjab and Rajasthan, and of course Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, and UP. In thorn vegetation, the plants are leafless throughout or most of the year.
Examples of Thorn vegetation are Babool, Ber, Wild Date, Palas, etc. A kind of grass grows up to 2m called Tussocky grass.
Montane Forest in India
These forests are classified based on altitude and amount of rainfall. Accordingly two different types of forest namely the Eastern Himalayas Forest and the Western Himalayas forest.
Found on the slopes of the mountains in northeast states. These forests receive rainfall of more than 200 cm. The vegetation of the eastern Himalayan forest is evergreen type.
The altitude is between 1200- 2400 m found in this type of forest Sal, Oak, Laurel, Amura, Chestnut, Cinnamon are the main trees. At the altitude of 2400 to 3600m, oak, birch, silver, fir, fine, spruce and juniper are found.
In this region rainfall is moderate. Western Himalayas forest is found in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
Up to 900m altitude semi-desert vegetation is found. This region is known for bushes and small trees. At an altitude of 900 to1800m, chir tree is most common. Other important trees of this region are sal, semal, dhak, Jammun, and jujube.
At the altitude of 1800 to 3000m, is covered with semi temperate coniferous forest, Chir, Deodar, Blue pine, poplar, birch, and elder.
Alpine is found all along the Himalayas with above 2400m altitude. They purely have coniferous trees. Oak, Silver fir, pine, and Juniper are the main trees of the Alpine forest.
The eastern parts of the Himalayas have a large extent of these forests.
Tidal forests are found in and around the deltas, estuaries, and creeks prone to tidal influences. The tidal forest is also called Delta Forest or Swamp Forest.
The delta of Ganga – Brahmaputra has the largest tidal forest. The deltas of Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna rivers are also known for Tidal forests. These are also known as Mangrove Forest.
These are littoral forests. Coastal Forest is found in coastal areas. Casurina, palm, and coconut are the dominant trees. Both the eastern and western coasts have this kind of forest.
The coast of Goa and Kerala is known for its coastal forest.
Riverine forests are found along the rivers in Khadar Area. These are known for Tamarisk and Tamarind Trees. The rivers of great plains are more prominent for this type of natural vegetation.
Wildlife includes Animals of any habitat in nature. The non-domesticated animals are wild animals. The wild animals include vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and invertebrates such as bees, butterflies, moths, etc.
Flaura means plants and Fauna means animals. India has a fauna of about 81,251 species out of 1.5 million species in the world.
India has 6500 species of invertebrates, 5000 species of mollusks, 2546 species of fishes, 1228 species of birds, 458 species of mammals, 446 species of reptiles, 204 species of amphibians, 4 species of panthers, and 6000 species of insects.
India is home to tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, pythons, wolves, foxes, bears, crocodiles, rhinoceroses, camels, wild dogs, monkeys, snakes, antelope species, deer species, bison, and the mighty Asian elephant.
Various human activities caused troubles to various species that led them to decrease in population and even cause extinction.
A conversation of biodiversity is necessary to maintain ecological balance. IBWL (Indian board for wildlife) was created in 1952 to suggest ways of protection, conservation, and management of wildlife to the government.
In 1972, the union government passed the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The objective of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 is to effectively protect the wildlife and control poaching, smuggling, and illegal trade of wildlife.
UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their Biological Resources. India developed 102 National Park and 515 Wildlife Sanctuaries to preserve the wildlife.
Biosphere Reserves are protected areas of the land, coastal environment, where the people are also part of the system. There are 18 Biosphere reserves established by the Indian government.
Biosphere reserves protect a large area of natural habitat and usually include one or more National parks along with buffer zones. Buffer zones are open to some economic uses.
Eleven of the Eighteen biosphere reserves in India are under the list of Man and Biosphere programme of UNESCO. They are Gulf of Mannar, Nandadevi, Nilgiris, Nokrek, Pachmarhi, Simlipal, Sundarbans, Agasthiyamalai, Great Nicobar, Kanjanjunga and Amarkantak.
|Achanakmar-Amarkantak||Chattisgarh, Madya Pradesh|
|Dihand Dibang||Arunachal Pradesh|
|Great Nicobar||Andaman and Nicobar Islands|
|Gulf of Mannar||Tamil Nadu|
|Cold Desert||Himachal Pradesh|
|Sesahachalam Hills||Andra Pradesh|
Project Tiger launched in April 1973. Its object is to conserve the tiger population, especially in Tiger Reserves in India. The project increased over 60% population of Tiger from 1979 consensus put the population at 3015.
Other species like barasingha (swamp deer), rhino, and elephants population also increased parallel due to this project.
- Samacheer Kalvi Geography Class X, 2019 Edition.