Document 393239

Flora (forests) and fauna(animals) are one of the
renewable resources of our country. In ancient times the country
was famous for its dense and continuous forests like
Dandakaranya, panchavati, Naimishyaranya etc. But with the
advance of civilization through ages, most part these forests are
gone now. Only 22 % of the total land of the country is covered
with forests now. The flora of India is diverse. It is estimated that
our country possesses 45,000 different species of plants. This is
the widest range of diverse plants found in any country in the
world. Nearly 5000 species are found exclusively in India. We can
subdivide the forests of India into five classes. They are:
1.Tropical Rain Forests (Ever green forests)
2.Tropical Deciduous Forests
3.Thorn and Scrub Forests
4.Tidal Forests (Mangrove Forests) and
5. Mountain Forests
1.Tropical Rainforests (Ever Green Forests):
These forests grow in areas having a rainfall of more
than 200 cms. These are found in the mountain ranges of Northeastern India, in the western slopes of the Western Ghats, along
the foot-hills of the Himalayas and in the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands. The trees of these forests don’t shed their leaves in any
season of the year. They always looks green. So they are called
‘Evergreen Forests’. Trees like Ablus, Mahogany, ebony,
rosewood, sisham (Dalbergia Sissoo), Sandalwood (Santalum
album) grow in these forests. The trees are tall and form a dense
canopy overhead. Trees of these forests reaches up to a height of
60 meters or even more.
2. Tropical Deciduous Forests:
Deciduous forests are called Monsoon Forests.
This is because they form the natural cover almost all over India
particularly between regions of 200 and 75 cms of rainfall. This forestcover accounts for more than half of the total forest area of India.
They are very Important from economic point of view. They are
subdivided into two parts:
Moist Deciduous Forest
Dry Deciduous Forests.
They are called ‘deciduous forests’ because the trees of these forests
shed their leaves in the dry season of the year. Trees like Teak
(Tectona gradis), Sal(Shorea rabusta), Sandalwood (Santalum album),
Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Hurra (Terminalia chebula), Khair(Acacia
catechu), Bamboo and Cane grow in these forests. These forests are
confined to north-eastern India, eastern slopes of the Western Ghats,
the Eastern Ghats, Chhotnagpur Plateau, Orissa, Chhatisgarh and
Madhya Pradesh. Dry deciduous forests cover vast areas of the
country where the rainfall is between 70 to 100cms.They have a
parkland landscape in northern India with open formation specially of
teak and several other tree species with stretches of open grass. They
cover mostly the hills of east Rajasthan, Western Madhya Pradesh
and parts of central Deccan Plateau.
These are confined to areas with a rainfall of less than
75cms. It spreads over north-western part of the country from Saurashtra in
the south to Punjab plains in the north.It is found in parts of Rajasthan,
Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and also in parts of south
India. Kikar, babul, khair, acacia, munj and sawai grass are found in these
forests. These forest areas are being converted into residential areas due to
population pressure. Thorn and cactus are found in western Punjab and
western Rajasthan where the rainfall is less than 50 cms.
The tidal areas along the coast of India particularly the
lowlands and river-mouths of the eastern coast is covered with mangrove
forests. Mangrove trees can survive both in fresh and saline water- the
major characteristic of the tidal areas. Sundari is a well-known mangrove
tree. It is after the name of this tree that the name sundarban has been
given to the vast tidal mangrove forests of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta in
West Bengal. Due to the abundance of Hental trees, the mangrove forests of
the Mahanadi-Brahmani mouth are called ‘Hentalban’. It is also called ‘The
Little Sundarbans’.
Altitude is an important factor in the distribution
of vegetation in the mountainous regions because of the decrease of
temperature with the increase of altitude. The Himalayas are covered with all
types of vegetation starting with tropical rain forests in the foothills to tundra
vegetation on the peaks. Due to the hot and humid climate, siwaliks, the
foothills of the Himalayas are covered with tropical rain forests and moist
deciduous flora. Sal is the most important and dominant species. It is then
succeeded by wet hill forest between 1000 and 2000 meters. Evergreen broad
leave oaks, chestnuts and apple trees are common trees in these altitudes.
Further up between 1600 and 3300 meters above sea level, pine, cedar, spruce
and silver fir are found which are some of the most important species in these
altitudes. These forests are the coniferous forests of the temperate regions of
the world found in these altitudes of the Himalayas. Temperate coniferous
forests is succeeded by Alpine Forests which is found generally at altitudes
between 2750 to 3600 meters above sea level. These forests are covered with
species like silver firs, pines, birches and junipers. Above 3600 meters above
sea level, Alpine Forests give way to Alpine Grasslands. The peaks of the
Himalayas are covered with perpetual snow.
The forest cover of India is receding
at an alarming rate due to developmental activities and
large scale felling of trees by the timber mafia. This has
created a number of environmental problems leading to
frequent flood and draught over the decades of the last
century. Hence appropriate measures should be taken
for the protection of this valuable wealth of India.