- They are located in North-East India, parts of Western Ghats, the Andaman and Nicobar, upper Assam, lower slopes of Eastern Himalayas, Odisha, along the foot-hills of Himalayas, Bhabhar and Tarai regions.
- The forests are dense; composed of tall trees (45 m) epiphytes, parasites, lianas and rattans so as to look like a green carpet when viewed from above.
- Trees have multi-storeyed structures with good canopies. These trees do not shed their leaves annually and are hence evergreen. The floor lacks grasses because of deep shade.
- There are, however, canes, palms, bamboos, ferns, and climbers which make passage difficult. The important species of these forests are white cedar, toon, dhup, palaquinum, mesua, collophyllurn, hopea, and canes, gmjan, chaplas, agor, muli, and bamboo. Due to poor accessibility these forests have not been properly exploited.
- The Tropical Moist Deciduous:
- The typical landscape consists of tall teak trees with sal, bamboos, and shrubs growling fairly close together to form thickets.
- Both teak and sal are economically important and so are the Sandalwood, Shisham , Hurra , and Khair .
- The Tropical Thorny Forests:
- The tropical thorny forest is a degraded version of the moist deciduous forest.
- The Subtropical Montane Forests:
- Chir (pine) is the main tree but broad leaved trees are also found in these areas. Oak, jamun, and rhododendron are the other varieties in these forests.
- The Dry Deciduous Forests:
- These forests are characterised by closed and rather uneven canopies. Enough light reaches the ground to permit the growth of grasses and climbers.
- Acacia, jamun, modesta, and pistaciaare the main trees. Grasses and shrubs appear during the season of general rains.
- Montane Wet Temperate Forests: These forests are found in the entire Himalayas from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh between the altitudes of 1500 m to 3500 m where the temperature varies between 12°C to 15°C, and the mean annual rainfall is between 100 to 250 cm.
- Desert Vegetation: The desert vegetation is confined to the west of Aravallis in the states of Rajasthan and northern Gujarat
- Tidal (Mangrove): The mangrove which attains a height up to 30 metres is the most important tree. It is utilised for fuel. The famous delta of Sundarban is covered by the Sundri trees which supply hard durable timber for construction and boat making. Here, higher grounds support screw-pines, Palms occupy creeks, and epiphytes are predominant all over the region
IMPORTANT SPECIES OF TREES AND THEIR UTILITY
- Rosewood: (Evergreen)The wood from these forests is hard and fine-grained, dark purple in colour, widely used in the manufacture of furniture, floor boards, and ornamental plyboards.
- Gurjan: (Evergreen)The wood is dull reddish to brown in colour. It is extensively used for internal construction work of houses. It is also used for packing cases, tea boxes, flooring, and wagons.
- Ebony: (Evergreen)The wood has a metallic lusture when smoothed. It is one of the most valuable woods as it is resistant to attack by insects. It is used for ornamental carving and decoration.
- Sal : (Monsoon)Its wood is very heavy, hard and durable. It is much in demand for piles, doors, beams, planking and railway sleepers. Sal forests occupy 1l.6 lakh hectares, accounting for about 16 per cent of the total forest area of the country.
- Teak : (Monsoon)Its wood is moderately hard, duarable, easy to work and takes a good polish. It is an expensive timber used for doors, cupboards, and furniture. Teale forests cover about 9 million hectares of the total forest area of the country.
- Jamun :Its timber is moderately strong and used for the construction of houses and furniture. Its fruits are highly beneficial in controlling diabetes and high blood pressure.
FOREST PRODUCTS AND THEIR UTILITY
- Bamboo:It is used for a variety of purposes- basket making, roofing, and thatching, construction, paper, and pulp making. Even ornaments are made of bamboo in states like Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura. Bamboo also finds a place in cultural activities of the Mizo people, i.e. Cherraw (bamboo) dance.
- Tendu:Tendu leaves are used for bidi-making.
- Grasses:KhusKhus grass is used for making cooling screens during summer season. Raska, lemon and ginger-grasses yield medicinal and perfumed oils.
- The main objective of social forestry is to reduce pressure on traditional forests by plantation of fuel-wood, fodder, timber, and grasses.
- To release cow dung as manure for increasing agricultural production,
- To provide gainful employment opportunities to the rural population, To develop cottage industries, to provide efficient soil and water conservation
- To improve aesthetic value of an area and to meet the recreational needs of the population.
- It involves the raising of trees on community lands with the set objective to provide benefits to the community as a whole. Although the plants and seedlings are provided by the forest departments, the protection of planted trees is primarily the responsibility of the community as a whole.
- Agro-forestry is a sustainable management for land that increases overall production, combines agricultural crops, tree crops, forest plants and animals simultaneously and applies management practices that are compatible with cultural patterns of local population.
- Agro-forestry is a type of social forestry in which individual farmer undertakes tree-farming and grows fodder plants, grasses and legumes on his own land.
The three types of forests seen in India are:
- Tropical forest
- Montane forests
- Alpine forests
Fig 1: Forest types of India
The types are:
- Wet evergreen – areas with more than 250 cm rainfall viz. Western ghats, A&N, NE states. Dense forests and dense undergrowth.
- Semi evergreen – border areas of wet evergreen forests.
- Moist deciduous – rainfall 100-200cm. Located on western and eastern ghats.
- Dry evergreen – winter rainfall and monsoon rainfall. Rainfall -100 cm. TN coast.
- Dry deciduous – transition between moist deciduous and tropical thorn. Sheds leaves in dry season. 100-75 cm rainfall.
- Tropical thorn – North West part of India. >75cm rainfall.
- Sub tropical forests – 1000 -2000 m altitude
- Broad leaves: evergreen and dense. 75-125 cm rainfall.
- Moist pine: 100cm rainfall. Chir tree is example
- Dry evergreen: stunted trees and shrubs. Found in western himalayas.
- Temperate forests – 1800 – 3000 m altitude.
- Wet temperate: evergreen and short trees. Western ghats and eastern himalayas. 150 – 300 cm rainfall. E.g. Deodhar.
- Moist temperate: 150 – 250 cm rainfall. Found in entire length of himalayas. E.g. Deodhar.
- Dry temperate: rainfall >100 cm. Present in dry part of himalayas. Coniferous forests e.g. Ash, maple, oak.
It has an altitude of 2900 – 3800 m. It is a mixture of coniferous trees, large shrubs and broad leaved trees. E.g. Fir, spruce, birch.
TABLE 1: FOREST COMPOSITION OF INDIA
Tropical moist deciduous
Tropical dry deciduous
Tropical wet evergreen
Montane subtropical pine
Tropical semi evergreen
Solved Question Papers
Q.Consider the following States:
1. Arunachal Pradesh
2. Himachal Pradesh
In which of the following states do “Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests” occur? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
Ans . C
- The true evergreen forests are found along the western side of the Western Ghats (between 500 to 1370 metres above sea level) south of Mumbai, in a strip running from northeast to south-west direction across Arunachal Pradesh, Upper Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura upto a height of 1070 metres and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Q.In India, in which one of the following types of forests is teak a dominant tree species? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
- Tropical moist deciduous forest
- Tropical thorn scrub forest
- Temperate forest with grasslands
Ans . A
- Tropical moist deciduous forests exist 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. Bamboos, sal, shisham, sandalwood, khair, kusum, arjun, mulberry are other commercially important species.
Q.Which one of the following regions of India has a combination of mangrove forest, evergreen forest and deciduous forest? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
- North Coastal Andhra Pradesh
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Ans . D
- The South Andaman forests have a profuse growth of epiphytic vegetation, mostly ferns and orchids. The Middle Andamans harbours mostly moist deciduous forests. North Andamans is characterized by the wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers.
- The North Nicobar Islands (including Car Nicobar and Battimalv) are marked by the complete absence of evergreen forests, while such forests form the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group.
- Grasslands occur only in the Nicobars, and while deciduous forests are common in the Andamans, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. The present forest coverage is claimed to be 86.2% of the total land area.
Score more than 80% marks and move ahead else stay back and read again!
Q1:In regions with more than 250 cm rainfall which type of forests are found
- wet evergreen
- semi evergreen
- dry evergreen
- wet deciduous
Q2:>75cm rainfall leads to which vegetation
- semi deciduous
Q3:Which vegetation is found in entire length of himalayas
Q4:Highest type of forest found in India is
- Tropical dry deciduous
- Tropical moist deciduous
- Tropical wet evergreen
- Tropical semi evergreen
Q5: Sub tropical forests have types
- Broad leaves
- Moist pine
- Dry evergreen