Types of Forest cover in India

India is the country of diversity, and the most diverse is its landscape or we can say physical features, and this physical diversity induced varieties in nearly every aspects of the Indian subcontinent be it the population of India, its languages, vegetation and soil, diversity is every where. The natural vegetation of India, being diverse due to varied biotic conditions as well as unequal rainfall. The indian forest are very unevenly distributed. They are more scare in the Gangetics area. The per capita Forest in India is only 0.2 hectares. The forest cover in India is estimated to be 77,57,010 sq. hectare. This constitutes the 23.03 percent of the country's geographical area which is less than the  necessary 33 per cent. Statewise as on 2003 Madhya pradesh had the highest coverage of the forests(77,265 sq. km); while Haryana has the least 2.18% of the forest area.

Types of Indian Forest can be classified in the following categories:-

Moist Tropical forests or Rain Forests.  

They are dense, luxuriant in growth, look evergreen.  They are prevalent in the areas where the rainfall is over 250 cm, 77% or more humidity, and 25-27 degree Celsius of annual temperature, the average annual humidity exceeds 77 % and the dry season is distinctly short. Due to high heat and high humidity, the trees of these forests do not shed their leaves annually, at least not together, and are termed as evergreen forests. These are found  in the north-east, eastern regions of sub tropical Himalayas (tarai), western portion of western ghats, Andaman and Nicobar islands. Mahogany, bamboo. Ivory wood, ebony, rubber trees are economically significant trees. The timber of these forests is fine grained, hard and durable as a result of which it has high commercial value. They are further divided into following categories:-

  1. Tropical wet evergreen Forests
 These forest found in the areas where annual rainfall is 250 cm or above. The many storeyed forests have an undergrowth of bamboos, fern, canes and climbers. The important species of these forests are mesua, white cedar, calophyllum, toon, dhup, palaquium, hopea, jamun, etc in the western Ghats. Ebony, rosewood and ironwood economically species are found.  The timber of these forests is fine grained, hard and durable as a result of which it has high commercial value. These forests occur in north-eastern states and Andaman and Nicobar. Although these forests are economically valuable but have not been properly exploited due to dense undergrowth, absence of pure stands and lack of transport facilities.

     2.  Tropical semi-evergreen Forest

Found in the areas where the annual is below 200 cm. they are evergreen with mixed deciduous. The temperature ranges 24 to 27 degree Celsius with 80% humidity. Heavy barks, climbers  and buttersed trunks are found. Champa, canes, ferns, rosewood, semul, kadom laurel etc. are important trees. They occur in upper Assam, lower eastern Himalayas, Orissa and Andaman and Nicobars.

     3.  Tropical Moist Deciduous forests

These forests are known as Monsoon forests and found in the areas where annual rainfall is between 150 cm to 200 cm, with mean annual temperature about 26 to 27 degree Celsius and humidity varies with 60 to 80 per cent. These types of forests are mainly found in the interior of the Indian plateau and the Siwalik east of river Yamuna. Sal, teak, tendu, sissoo, mahua, sandal and sisham are some of the important trees. Trees shed there leaves their leaves during spring and early summer.

     4.  Littoral and Swamp Forests

These forests are found around the tidal creeks and along the delta of river Ganga, Mahanadi, Krishna, Godavari. because of there occurrence around tidal creeks, these are also known as Tidal forests. These trees are mainly evergreen, have profuse growth and stilt like roots. The densest trees are found in the great Sunerban delta where the Sundari trees are found in abundance. Rhizophora and Nipa fruitcous (a type of Plam) also grows in these forests.  

      Dry Tropical Forests 

Found where the annual rainfall is 90 to 130 cm. With mean annual temperature between 23 to 27 degree celsius and humidity between 50% to 60%. The sub types of these forets are as follows  

       1.  Tropical dry deciduous forests

These forests are found from foothills of Himalayas to Kanyakumari and comprises important trees like teak, tendu amaltas khari palas rosewood and axlewood. The tracks these forests has low canopy of grasses and shurbs in some places which has been cleared in some places has been cleared for agriculture and Casuarina plantations.

       2.  Tropical Thorn Forests 

  These type of Forests are mainly found in the areas where the rainfall is very low 50 to 70 cm and annual temperature ranges from 25 to 27 degree Celsius with low humidity. Kutch, Haryana, Rajasthan, Upper Ganga Plain and Deccan plateau are the areas where these forests are found. Khair, Babul, Oke, Thor, Kheyre are some of the important trees found in these forests.

       3. Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests

Found from point celimar to Nellore, where the mean annual rainfall is about 10 cm. Average temperature is 28 degree Celsius and humidity is 74%. Trees are 12 mt. high with canopies. Khirni, Jamun, Kokko,Toddy Palm, Casuarimer, Neem are the important trees.

Montane Sub-Tropical Forests

1. Sub tropical Broad leaves hill forests

These forests are found in the east Himalayas  at an altitude varying from 1000 to 2000 m where mean annual rainfall is 75 to 125 cm, average annual temperature is 18 to 21 degree Celsius and the average humidity is 80%. They form luxurious  forests of evergreen species, are fairly high (20- 30 mt.) and dense.Oaks, Chestnut, ash, peech, sals, pines are normally occurs in these forests. Climbers and epiphytes are common.

2. Sub tropical Moist pine forests.

Riverian Forests 

These types of forests are common in wet places particularly along the river banks and other wet lands where rainfall is less than 50 cm. Short trees and grasses such as Munj and Kans are abundant. Neem, Shisham, Babool, Pipal are common in such places.

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