The following are the principal types of natural vegetation in India: (1) Tropical Evergreen Rain Forests, (2) Deciduous or Monsoon Type of Forests, (3) Dry Deciduous Forests and Scrubs, (4) Semi- Desert and Desert Vegetations, (5) Tidal or Mangrove Forests and (6) Mountain Forests.
- Tropical evergreen rain forests: These forests grow in areas where rainfall is more than 200 cm. They are mainly found on the slopes of the Western Ghats and the Northeastern regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, the Tarai areas of the Himalayas and the Andaman groups of Islands. The trees in these belts have dense growth. Important varieties of trees are sishu, chap lash, rosewood, mahogany, bamboos, garjan and sandalwood.
- Deciduous or Monsoon type of forests: These forests are found in areas where the rainfall is between 100 cm and 200 cm. These forests grow on the lower slope of the Himalayas, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and the adjoining regions. The trees of these forests shed their leaves during dry winter and dry summer. The main trees are teak, sal, sandalwood, deodar, blue gum, ebony, sis am, jackfruit, mahua, pal ash, arjun, khair and bamboo.
- Dry deciduous forests and Scrubs: These forests grow in areas where the rainfall is between 50 cm and 100 cm. These are found in areas of central Deccan plateau, South-east of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Dwarf Deciduous trees and long- grasses grow in these regions. Most of the areas are used for agriculture.
- Semi- deserts and Deserts vegetations: These types of vegetations grow in areas where rainfall is less than 50 cm. Mostly thorny bushes, acacia, babul and sand binding grasses are found in this vegetation zone. The Indian wild date, known as“Khejurs” is common in these deserts. These plants grow far apart from each other. They have long roots and thick fleshy stems in which they store water ti survive during the long drought. These vegetations are found in Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat’s, Punjab and Karnataka.
- Tidalor Mangrove forests: These forests grow along the coast and on the edges of the deltas e.g., the deltas of the Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. They are called ‘Tidal Forests’. In West Bengal these forests are known as ‘Sundarbans’. The ‘sundari’ is most significant tree in these forests. The other notable trees of these forests are hogla, garan, gewa, golpata, gilepata, pasur etc. These forests are supply timber and fire wood. Palm and coconut trees adorn the coastal strip.
- Mountain forests: Mountain forests vary considerably along the slopes of mountain. On the foothills of the Himalayas unto a height of 1500 meters, evergreen trees, (Sal, teak, bamboo and cane) grow abundantly. On higher slope between 1,500 meters to 3,500 meters, temperate conifer trees, (pine, fir, oak, maple, deodar, laurel spruce, ceder) grow. At the higher altitude of the Himalayas, rhododendrons and junipers are found. Beyond these vegetation belts, alpine grasslands appear up to snowfield.
Forest Resource of India
In India about 19.39 per cent of the total land-area is under forest. It is much less which a country needs to have. The total forested area in India is about 63.73 million hectares. These forests supply a wide variety of resources. They provide structural timer and wood for making furniture and pulp, match wood, wood for charcoal, gum, resins, canes and fibred. Beside these, there are may other forest products such as leaves, fruits, tan dyes, medicinal herbs, bee-wax, honey, turpentine oil and lac.
Problems of Forestry and their Solution
Indian Forestry faces many problems. Over grazing and forest fire often destroy forests. Reckless cutting of the trees causes forest destruction. Jhum cultivations destroy forest; it invites soil erosion. To preserve the forest, the Govt. of India has taken up a series of programmers: The forests are declared as Reserved Forests. The government has chalked out a good proggrame of ‘Van Mahatsov’. Thousands of trees are planted every year in the months of July and August to promote new forestation. The Forest Research Institute has been set up at Dehra Dun for the promotion and preservation the forests properly.
Further Reading – Bamboo Rice Medicinal Values