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Indian Geography / Natural Vegetation

Different Types of Forests in India


    There are 5 different types of forests in India and these forests are further classified into 16 subtypes based on three factors, namely Temperature, Altitude and Rainfall. The classification of forests in India is done based on the ecological principles that are adopted by Champion and Seth. The actual forest cover in India is around 21%. The main causes of diverse vegetation in India are due to huge geographical size, variation in the rainfall distribution, variation in temperature and due to differences in the altitudes.

    Moist Tropical Forests

    • Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests - Wet Evergreen Forests are found in those regions having an annual temperature range of 25-270C and annual rainfall of more than 250 cm. Important trees in these forests are Rosewood, Ebony, Ironwood, Calophyllum, etc. These forests are found in windward side of Western Ghats, parts of North East India and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
    • Tropical Semi Evergreen Forests - Semi Evergreen Forests are found in those regions having an annual temperature range of 24-270C and annual rainfall range of 200-250 cm. Important trees in these forests are Rosewood, Benteak, Kadam, Irul, etc. These forests are found in West coast region, Lower slopes of Eastern Himalayas and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
    • Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests - Moist Deciduous Forests are found in those regions having an annual temperature of 270C and annual rainfall range of 100-200 cm and having a relative humidity of 60-75%. Deciduous itself means shedding leaves, so the trees that grow here shed their leaves. The trees that grow here are Sal, Teak, Mahua, Badam, Bamboo, Jamun, etc. These forests are found in Siwalik range of Himalayas, Interiors of Peninsular plateau and parts of North Eastern India.
    • Littoral and Swamp Forests / Mangrove Forests - These forest occur in estuaries, tidal creeks and along the deltas of numerous rivers. The most important of these kind are Sundarbans in Ganges delta. The trees that grow here are Rhizophora, Sundri, Palms, etc.

    Dry Tropical Forests

    • Dry Evergreen Forests - Dry Evergreen Forests are found in those regions having an annual temperature range of 280C and annual rainfall of 100 cm and having humidity around 75%. The trees that grow here are Neem, Tamarind, Toddy palm, Khirni trees, etc. These forests are found in Tamil Nadu and Southern Andhra Pradesh.
    • Dry Deciduous Forests - These forests are found everywhere in India from Kanyakumari to Himalayan foothills but are not found in Western Ghats and Rajasthan. These are found in those regions having an annual rainfall of 100 cm. The trees that grow here are Red sandalwood, Bamboo, Teak, Axle wood trees, etc.
    • Thorn Forests - These forests are found in those regions where there is a rainfall of less than 75 cm and having the temperature range of 25-300C and low humidity of less than 50%. These are mainly found in Rajasthan, Western Haryana, parts of Saurashtra and parts of Punjab. The trees that grow here are Babul, Neem, Cashew nut, Acasia, etc.

    Montane Subtropical Forests

    • Subtropical Broad-leaved Forests - These forests are grown in those regions where the annual temperature range is 18-210C and annual rainfall of 75-125 cm and humidity of 80%. These are called Shola forests in South India. These are mainly found in highlands of Bastar, Nilgiri hills, Khasi hills, Palani hills, etc. The trees that grow here are Indian Mahogany, Bishop wood, Calophyllum, Cluster Fig tree, etc.
    • Subtropical Pine Forests - These are found in Naga hills, Khasi hills and in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Chir Pine tree is mostly found in these forests.
    • Subtropical Dry Evergreen Forests - These forests are found in Bhabar region, Siwalik region and in Western Himalayas. Acacia, Pistacia and Olive trees are mainly found here.

    Montane Temperate Forests

    • Montane Wet Temperate Forests - These kind of forests are found in those regions where the climate is cold having an annual temperature range of 11-140C and annual rainfall of 150-300 cm. These are mainly found in the hills of Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and in Eastern Himalayan region. The trees that grow here are Chestnut, Oak, Cinnamon, Birch, Plum, etc.
    • Montane Moist Temperate Forests - These forests are found in Western and Eastern Himalayas. Coniferous variety of trees like Pine, Cedar, Spruce, etc. grow here.
    • Montane Dry Temperate Forests - These type of forests are found in inner dry areas of Himalayas where the average rainfall is less than 100 cm. The main trees that are found here are Oak, Olive, Juniper, Celtis, etc.

    Alpine Forests

    These are found in the Himalayan Alpine regions having a height of 3000 m to 4000 m. These forests can be further classified into (i) Sub-Alpine, (ii) Moist Alpine and (iii) Dry Alpine Scrubs. The trees that grow here are stunted shrubs of Fir, Juniper, Pine, Plum, etc.