NCERT Textbook - Natural Vegetation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Geography Class 11

Created by: Mehtab Ahmed

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Natural Vegetation Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


H
ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic?
You might have surely gone to a park if
you live in a city or to a mango, guava
or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How
do you differentiate between the natural
vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same
variety may be found growing wild in the forest
under natural conditions and the same tree
may be the planted one in your garden under
human supervision.
Natural vegetation refers to a plant
community that has been left undisturbed over
a long time, so as to allow its individual species
to adjust themselves to climate and soil
conditions as fully as possible.
India is a land of great variety of natural
vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with
temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and
the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical
rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical
forests and mangroves; the desert and semi
desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii,
a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation.
Depending upon the variations in the climate
and the soil, the vegetation of India changes
from one region to another .
On the basis of certain common features
such as predominant vegetation type and
climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided
into the following groups:
TYPES OF FORESTS
(i) Tropical Evergreen and Semi
Evergreen forests
(ii) Tropical Deciduous forests
(iii) Tropical Thorn forests
(iv) Montane forests
(v) Littoral and Swamp forests.
Tropical Evergreen and
Semi Evergreen Forests
These forests are found in the western slope
of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern
region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
They are found in warm and humid areas with
an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and
mean annual temperature above 22
o
C.
Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified,
with layers closer to the ground and are
covered with shrubs and creepers, with short
structured trees followed by tall variety of trees.
In these forests, trees reach great heights up
to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for
trees to shed their leaves, flowering and
fruition. As such these forests appear green
all the year round. Species found in these
forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini,
ebony, etc.
The semi evergreen forests are found in the
less rainy parts of these regions. Such forests
have a mixture of evergreen and moist
deciduous trees. The undergrowing climbers
provide an evergreen character to these forests.
Main species are white cedar, hollock and kail.
NATURAL VEGETATION
CHAPTER
Figure 5.1 : Evergreen Forest
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 2


H
ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic?
You might have surely gone to a park if
you live in a city or to a mango, guava
or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How
do you differentiate between the natural
vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same
variety may be found growing wild in the forest
under natural conditions and the same tree
may be the planted one in your garden under
human supervision.
Natural vegetation refers to a plant
community that has been left undisturbed over
a long time, so as to allow its individual species
to adjust themselves to climate and soil
conditions as fully as possible.
India is a land of great variety of natural
vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with
temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and
the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical
rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical
forests and mangroves; the desert and semi
desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii,
a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation.
Depending upon the variations in the climate
and the soil, the vegetation of India changes
from one region to another .
On the basis of certain common features
such as predominant vegetation type and
climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided
into the following groups:
TYPES OF FORESTS
(i) Tropical Evergreen and Semi
Evergreen forests
(ii) Tropical Deciduous forests
(iii) Tropical Thorn forests
(iv) Montane forests
(v) Littoral and Swamp forests.
Tropical Evergreen and
Semi Evergreen Forests
These forests are found in the western slope
of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern
region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
They are found in warm and humid areas with
an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and
mean annual temperature above 22
o
C.
Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified,
with layers closer to the ground and are
covered with shrubs and creepers, with short
structured trees followed by tall variety of trees.
In these forests, trees reach great heights up
to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for
trees to shed their leaves, flowering and
fruition. As such these forests appear green
all the year round. Species found in these
forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini,
ebony, etc.
The semi evergreen forests are found in the
less rainy parts of these regions. Such forests
have a mixture of evergreen and moist
deciduous trees. The undergrowing climbers
provide an evergreen character to these forests.
Main species are white cedar, hollock and kail.
NATURAL VEGETATION
CHAPTER
Figure 5.1 : Evergreen Forest
2015-16(20/01/2015)
58 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Figure 5.2 : Natural Vegetation
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 3


H
ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic?
You might have surely gone to a park if
you live in a city or to a mango, guava
or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How
do you differentiate between the natural
vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same
variety may be found growing wild in the forest
under natural conditions and the same tree
may be the planted one in your garden under
human supervision.
Natural vegetation refers to a plant
community that has been left undisturbed over
a long time, so as to allow its individual species
to adjust themselves to climate and soil
conditions as fully as possible.
India is a land of great variety of natural
vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with
temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and
the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical
rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical
forests and mangroves; the desert and semi
desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii,
a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation.
Depending upon the variations in the climate
and the soil, the vegetation of India changes
from one region to another .
On the basis of certain common features
such as predominant vegetation type and
climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided
into the following groups:
TYPES OF FORESTS
(i) Tropical Evergreen and Semi
Evergreen forests
(ii) Tropical Deciduous forests
(iii) Tropical Thorn forests
(iv) Montane forests
(v) Littoral and Swamp forests.
Tropical Evergreen and
Semi Evergreen Forests
These forests are found in the western slope
of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern
region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
They are found in warm and humid areas with
an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and
mean annual temperature above 22
o
C.
Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified,
with layers closer to the ground and are
covered with shrubs and creepers, with short
structured trees followed by tall variety of trees.
In these forests, trees reach great heights up
to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for
trees to shed their leaves, flowering and
fruition. As such these forests appear green
all the year round. Species found in these
forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini,
ebony, etc.
The semi evergreen forests are found in the
less rainy parts of these regions. Such forests
have a mixture of evergreen and moist
deciduous trees. The undergrowing climbers
provide an evergreen character to these forests.
Main species are white cedar, hollock and kail.
NATURAL VEGETATION
CHAPTER
Figure 5.1 : Evergreen Forest
2015-16(20/01/2015)
58 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Figure 5.2 : Natural Vegetation
2015-16(20/01/2015)
59 NATURAL VEGETATION
The British were aware of the economic
value of the forests in India, hence, large scale
exploitation of these forests was started. The
structure of forests was also changed. The oak
forests in Garhwal and Kumaon were replaced
by pine (chirs) which was needed to lay railway
lines. Forests were also cleared for introducing
plantations of tea, rubber and coffee. The
British also used timber for construction
activities as it acts as an insulator of heat. The
protectional use of forests was, thus, replaced
by commercial use.
Tropical Deciduous Forests
These are the most widespread forests in India.
They are also called the monsoon forests. They
spread over regions which receive rainfall
between 70-200 cm. On the basis of the
availability of water, these forests are further
divided into moist and dry deciduous.
The Moist deciduous forests are more
pronounced in the regions which record rainfall
between 100-200 cm. These forests are found
in the northeastern states along the foothills of
Himalayas, eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
and Odisha. Teak, sal, shisham, hurra,
mahua, amla, semul, kusum, and sandalwood
etc. are the main species of these forests.
Dry deciduous forest covers vast areas of
the country, where rainfall ranges between
70 -100 cm. On the wetter margins, it has a
transition to the moist deciduous, while on the
drier margins to thorn forests. These forests
are found in rainier areas of the Peninsula and
the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In the
higher rainfall regions of the Peninsular plateau
and the northern Indian plain, these forests
have a parkland landscape with open stretches
in which teak and other trees interspersed with
patches of grass are common. As the dry
season begins, the trees shed their leaves
completely and the forest appears like a vast
grassland with naked trees all around. Tendu,
palas, amaltas, bel, khair, axlewood, etc.  are
the common trees of these forests. In the
western and southern part of Rajasthan,
vegetation cover is very scanty due to low
rainfall and overgrazing.
Tropical Thorn Forests
Tropical thorn forests occur in the areas which
receive rainfall less than 50 cm. These consist
of a variety of grasses and shrubs. It includes
semi-arid areas of south west Punjab,
Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh. In these forests, plants
remain leafless for most part of the year and
give an expression of scrub vegetation.
Important species found are babool, ber, and
wild date palm, khair, neem, khejri, palas, etc.
Tussocky grass grows upto a height of 2 m as
the under growth.
Montane Forests
In mountainous areas, the decrease in
temperature with increasing altitude leads to
a corresponding change in natural vegetation.
Mountain forests can be classified into two
types, the northern mountain forests and the
southern mountain forests.
Figure 5.3 : Deciduous Forests
Figure 5.4 : Tropical Thorn Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 4


H
ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic?
You might have surely gone to a park if
you live in a city or to a mango, guava
or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How
do you differentiate between the natural
vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same
variety may be found growing wild in the forest
under natural conditions and the same tree
may be the planted one in your garden under
human supervision.
Natural vegetation refers to a plant
community that has been left undisturbed over
a long time, so as to allow its individual species
to adjust themselves to climate and soil
conditions as fully as possible.
India is a land of great variety of natural
vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with
temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and
the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical
rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical
forests and mangroves; the desert and semi
desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii,
a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation.
Depending upon the variations in the climate
and the soil, the vegetation of India changes
from one region to another .
On the basis of certain common features
such as predominant vegetation type and
climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided
into the following groups:
TYPES OF FORESTS
(i) Tropical Evergreen and Semi
Evergreen forests
(ii) Tropical Deciduous forests
(iii) Tropical Thorn forests
(iv) Montane forests
(v) Littoral and Swamp forests.
Tropical Evergreen and
Semi Evergreen Forests
These forests are found in the western slope
of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern
region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
They are found in warm and humid areas with
an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and
mean annual temperature above 22
o
C.
Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified,
with layers closer to the ground and are
covered with shrubs and creepers, with short
structured trees followed by tall variety of trees.
In these forests, trees reach great heights up
to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for
trees to shed their leaves, flowering and
fruition. As such these forests appear green
all the year round. Species found in these
forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini,
ebony, etc.
The semi evergreen forests are found in the
less rainy parts of these regions. Such forests
have a mixture of evergreen and moist
deciduous trees. The undergrowing climbers
provide an evergreen character to these forests.
Main species are white cedar, hollock and kail.
NATURAL VEGETATION
CHAPTER
Figure 5.1 : Evergreen Forest
2015-16(20/01/2015)
58 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Figure 5.2 : Natural Vegetation
2015-16(20/01/2015)
59 NATURAL VEGETATION
The British were aware of the economic
value of the forests in India, hence, large scale
exploitation of these forests was started. The
structure of forests was also changed. The oak
forests in Garhwal and Kumaon were replaced
by pine (chirs) which was needed to lay railway
lines. Forests were also cleared for introducing
plantations of tea, rubber and coffee. The
British also used timber for construction
activities as it acts as an insulator of heat. The
protectional use of forests was, thus, replaced
by commercial use.
Tropical Deciduous Forests
These are the most widespread forests in India.
They are also called the monsoon forests. They
spread over regions which receive rainfall
between 70-200 cm. On the basis of the
availability of water, these forests are further
divided into moist and dry deciduous.
The Moist deciduous forests are more
pronounced in the regions which record rainfall
between 100-200 cm. These forests are found
in the northeastern states along the foothills of
Himalayas, eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
and Odisha. Teak, sal, shisham, hurra,
mahua, amla, semul, kusum, and sandalwood
etc. are the main species of these forests.
Dry deciduous forest covers vast areas of
the country, where rainfall ranges between
70 -100 cm. On the wetter margins, it has a
transition to the moist deciduous, while on the
drier margins to thorn forests. These forests
are found in rainier areas of the Peninsula and
the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In the
higher rainfall regions of the Peninsular plateau
and the northern Indian plain, these forests
have a parkland landscape with open stretches
in which teak and other trees interspersed with
patches of grass are common. As the dry
season begins, the trees shed their leaves
completely and the forest appears like a vast
grassland with naked trees all around. Tendu,
palas, amaltas, bel, khair, axlewood, etc.  are
the common trees of these forests. In the
western and southern part of Rajasthan,
vegetation cover is very scanty due to low
rainfall and overgrazing.
Tropical Thorn Forests
Tropical thorn forests occur in the areas which
receive rainfall less than 50 cm. These consist
of a variety of grasses and shrubs. It includes
semi-arid areas of south west Punjab,
Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh. In these forests, plants
remain leafless for most part of the year and
give an expression of scrub vegetation.
Important species found are babool, ber, and
wild date palm, khair, neem, khejri, palas, etc.
Tussocky grass grows upto a height of 2 m as
the under growth.
Montane Forests
In mountainous areas, the decrease in
temperature with increasing altitude leads to
a corresponding change in natural vegetation.
Mountain forests can be classified into two
types, the northern mountain forests and the
southern mountain forests.
Figure 5.3 : Deciduous Forests
Figure 5.4 : Tropical Thorn Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
60 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The Himalayan ranges show a succession
of vegetation from the tropical to the tundra,
which change in with the altitude. Deciduous
forests are found in the foothills of the
Himalayas. It is succeeded by the wet
temperate type of forests between an altitude
of 1,000-2,000 m. In the higher hill ranges of
northeastern India, hilly areas of West Bengal
and Uttaranchal, evergreen broad leaf trees
such as oak and chestnut are predominant.
Between 1,500-1,750 m, pine forests are also
well-developed in this zone, with Chir Pine as
a very useful commercial tree. Deodar, a highly
valued endemic species grows mainly in the
western part of the Himalayan range. Deodar
is a durable wood mainly used in construction
activity.  Similarly, the chinar and the walnut,
which sustain the famous Kashmir
handicrafts, belong to this zone.  Blue pine and
spruce appear at altitudes of 2,225-3,048 m.
At many places in this zone, temperate
grasslands are also found. But in the higher
reaches there is a transition to Alpine forests
and pastures. Silver firs, junipers, pines, birch
and rhododendrons, etc. occur between
3,000-4,000 m. However, these pastures are
used extensively for transhumance by tribes
like the Gujjars, the Bakarwals, the Bhotiyas
and the Gaddis. The southern slopes of the
Himalayas carry a thicker vegetation cover
because of relatively higher precipitation than
the drier north-facing slopes. At higher
altitudes, mosses and lichens form part of the
tundra vegetation.
The southern mountain forests include
the forests found in three distinct areas of
Peninsular India viz; the Western Ghats, the
Vindhyas and the Nilgiris.  As they are closer
to the tropics, and only 1,500 m above the
sea level, vegetation is temperate in the higher
regions, and subtropical on the lower regions
of the Western Ghats, especially in Kerala,
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.  The temperate
forests are called Sholas in the Nilgiris,
Anaimalai and Palani hills. Some of the other
trees of this forest of economic significance
include, magnolia, laurel, cinchona and
wattle. Such forests are also found in the
Satpura and the Maikal ranges.
Littoral and Swamp Forests
India has a rich variety of wetland habitats.
About 70 per cent of this comprises areas
under paddy cultivation.  The total area of wet
land is 3.9 million hectares.  Two sites —
Chilika Lake (Odisha) and Keoladeo National
Park (Bharatpur) are protected as water-fowl
habitats under the Convention of Wetlands of
International Importance (Ramsar Convention).
An international convention is an
agreement among member states of
the United Nations.
The country’s wetlands have been grouped
into eight categories, viz.  (i) the reservoirs of the
Deccan Plateau in the south together with the
lagoons and  other wetlands of the southern
west coast; (ii) the vast saline expanses of
Rajasthan, Gujarat and the Gulf of Kachchh;
(iii) freshwater lakes and reservoirs from Gujarat
eastwards through Rajasthan (Keoladeo
National Park) and Madhya Pradesh; (iv) the
delta wetlands and lagoons of India’s east coast
(Chilika Lake); (v) the freshwater marshes of the
Gangetic Plain; (vi) the floodplains of the
Brahmaputra; the marshes and swamps in the
hills of northeast India and the Himalayan
foothills; (vii) the lakes and rivers of the montane
region of Kashmir and Ladakh; and (viii) the
mangrove forest and other wetlands of the island
arcs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Mangroves  grow along the coasts in the salt
marshes, tidal creeks, mud flats and estuaries.
Figure 5.5 : Montane Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
Page 5


H
ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic?
You might have surely gone to a park if
you live in a city or to a mango, guava
or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How
do you differentiate between the natural
vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same
variety may be found growing wild in the forest
under natural conditions and the same tree
may be the planted one in your garden under
human supervision.
Natural vegetation refers to a plant
community that has been left undisturbed over
a long time, so as to allow its individual species
to adjust themselves to climate and soil
conditions as fully as possible.
India is a land of great variety of natural
vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with
temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and
the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical
rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical
forests and mangroves; the desert and semi
desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii,
a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation.
Depending upon the variations in the climate
and the soil, the vegetation of India changes
from one region to another .
On the basis of certain common features
such as predominant vegetation type and
climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided
into the following groups:
TYPES OF FORESTS
(i) Tropical Evergreen and Semi
Evergreen forests
(ii) Tropical Deciduous forests
(iii) Tropical Thorn forests
(iv) Montane forests
(v) Littoral and Swamp forests.
Tropical Evergreen and
Semi Evergreen Forests
These forests are found in the western slope
of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern
region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
They are found in warm and humid areas with
an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and
mean annual temperature above 22
o
C.
Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified,
with layers closer to the ground and are
covered with shrubs and creepers, with short
structured trees followed by tall variety of trees.
In these forests, trees reach great heights up
to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for
trees to shed their leaves, flowering and
fruition. As such these forests appear green
all the year round. Species found in these
forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini,
ebony, etc.
The semi evergreen forests are found in the
less rainy parts of these regions. Such forests
have a mixture of evergreen and moist
deciduous trees. The undergrowing climbers
provide an evergreen character to these forests.
Main species are white cedar, hollock and kail.
NATURAL VEGETATION
CHAPTER
Figure 5.1 : Evergreen Forest
2015-16(20/01/2015)
58 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Figure 5.2 : Natural Vegetation
2015-16(20/01/2015)
59 NATURAL VEGETATION
The British were aware of the economic
value of the forests in India, hence, large scale
exploitation of these forests was started. The
structure of forests was also changed. The oak
forests in Garhwal and Kumaon were replaced
by pine (chirs) which was needed to lay railway
lines. Forests were also cleared for introducing
plantations of tea, rubber and coffee. The
British also used timber for construction
activities as it acts as an insulator of heat. The
protectional use of forests was, thus, replaced
by commercial use.
Tropical Deciduous Forests
These are the most widespread forests in India.
They are also called the monsoon forests. They
spread over regions which receive rainfall
between 70-200 cm. On the basis of the
availability of water, these forests are further
divided into moist and dry deciduous.
The Moist deciduous forests are more
pronounced in the regions which record rainfall
between 100-200 cm. These forests are found
in the northeastern states along the foothills of
Himalayas, eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
and Odisha. Teak, sal, shisham, hurra,
mahua, amla, semul, kusum, and sandalwood
etc. are the main species of these forests.
Dry deciduous forest covers vast areas of
the country, where rainfall ranges between
70 -100 cm. On the wetter margins, it has a
transition to the moist deciduous, while on the
drier margins to thorn forests. These forests
are found in rainier areas of the Peninsula and
the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In the
higher rainfall regions of the Peninsular plateau
and the northern Indian plain, these forests
have a parkland landscape with open stretches
in which teak and other trees interspersed with
patches of grass are common. As the dry
season begins, the trees shed their leaves
completely and the forest appears like a vast
grassland with naked trees all around. Tendu,
palas, amaltas, bel, khair, axlewood, etc.  are
the common trees of these forests. In the
western and southern part of Rajasthan,
vegetation cover is very scanty due to low
rainfall and overgrazing.
Tropical Thorn Forests
Tropical thorn forests occur in the areas which
receive rainfall less than 50 cm. These consist
of a variety of grasses and shrubs. It includes
semi-arid areas of south west Punjab,
Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh. In these forests, plants
remain leafless for most part of the year and
give an expression of scrub vegetation.
Important species found are babool, ber, and
wild date palm, khair, neem, khejri, palas, etc.
Tussocky grass grows upto a height of 2 m as
the under growth.
Montane Forests
In mountainous areas, the decrease in
temperature with increasing altitude leads to
a corresponding change in natural vegetation.
Mountain forests can be classified into two
types, the northern mountain forests and the
southern mountain forests.
Figure 5.3 : Deciduous Forests
Figure 5.4 : Tropical Thorn Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
60 INDIA : PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The Himalayan ranges show a succession
of vegetation from the tropical to the tundra,
which change in with the altitude. Deciduous
forests are found in the foothills of the
Himalayas. It is succeeded by the wet
temperate type of forests between an altitude
of 1,000-2,000 m. In the higher hill ranges of
northeastern India, hilly areas of West Bengal
and Uttaranchal, evergreen broad leaf trees
such as oak and chestnut are predominant.
Between 1,500-1,750 m, pine forests are also
well-developed in this zone, with Chir Pine as
a very useful commercial tree. Deodar, a highly
valued endemic species grows mainly in the
western part of the Himalayan range. Deodar
is a durable wood mainly used in construction
activity.  Similarly, the chinar and the walnut,
which sustain the famous Kashmir
handicrafts, belong to this zone.  Blue pine and
spruce appear at altitudes of 2,225-3,048 m.
At many places in this zone, temperate
grasslands are also found. But in the higher
reaches there is a transition to Alpine forests
and pastures. Silver firs, junipers, pines, birch
and rhododendrons, etc. occur between
3,000-4,000 m. However, these pastures are
used extensively for transhumance by tribes
like the Gujjars, the Bakarwals, the Bhotiyas
and the Gaddis. The southern slopes of the
Himalayas carry a thicker vegetation cover
because of relatively higher precipitation than
the drier north-facing slopes. At higher
altitudes, mosses and lichens form part of the
tundra vegetation.
The southern mountain forests include
the forests found in three distinct areas of
Peninsular India viz; the Western Ghats, the
Vindhyas and the Nilgiris.  As they are closer
to the tropics, and only 1,500 m above the
sea level, vegetation is temperate in the higher
regions, and subtropical on the lower regions
of the Western Ghats, especially in Kerala,
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.  The temperate
forests are called Sholas in the Nilgiris,
Anaimalai and Palani hills. Some of the other
trees of this forest of economic significance
include, magnolia, laurel, cinchona and
wattle. Such forests are also found in the
Satpura and the Maikal ranges.
Littoral and Swamp Forests
India has a rich variety of wetland habitats.
About 70 per cent of this comprises areas
under paddy cultivation.  The total area of wet
land is 3.9 million hectares.  Two sites —
Chilika Lake (Odisha) and Keoladeo National
Park (Bharatpur) are protected as water-fowl
habitats under the Convention of Wetlands of
International Importance (Ramsar Convention).
An international convention is an
agreement among member states of
the United Nations.
The country’s wetlands have been grouped
into eight categories, viz.  (i) the reservoirs of the
Deccan Plateau in the south together with the
lagoons and  other wetlands of the southern
west coast; (ii) the vast saline expanses of
Rajasthan, Gujarat and the Gulf of Kachchh;
(iii) freshwater lakes and reservoirs from Gujarat
eastwards through Rajasthan (Keoladeo
National Park) and Madhya Pradesh; (iv) the
delta wetlands and lagoons of India’s east coast
(Chilika Lake); (v) the freshwater marshes of the
Gangetic Plain; (vi) the floodplains of the
Brahmaputra; the marshes and swamps in the
hills of northeast India and the Himalayan
foothills; (vii) the lakes and rivers of the montane
region of Kashmir and Ladakh; and (viii) the
mangrove forest and other wetlands of the island
arcs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Mangroves  grow along the coasts in the salt
marshes, tidal creeks, mud flats and estuaries.
Figure 5.5 : Montane Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
61 NATURAL VEGETATION
They consist of a number of salt-tolerant species
of plants.  Crisscrossed by creeks of stagnant
water and tidal flows, these forests give shelter
to a wide variety of birds.
In India, the mangrove forests spread over
6,740 sq. km which is 7 per cent of the world’s
mangrove forests. They are highly developed in
the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the
Sunderbans of West Bengal. Other areas of
significance are the Mahanadi, the Godavari and
the Krishna deltas.  These forests too, are being
encroached upon, and hence, need conservation.
FOREST C OVER IN INDIA
According to state records, the forest area
covers  23.28 per cent of the total land area of
the country.  It is important to note that the
forest area and the actual forest cover are not
the same.  The forest area is the area notified
and recorded as the forest land irrespective of
the existence of trees, while the actual forest
cover is the area occupied by forests with
canopy.  The former is based on the records of
the State Revenue Department, while the latter
is based on aerial photographs and satellite
imageries.  According to India State of Forest
Report 2011, the actual forest cover in India is
only 21.05 per cent. Of the forest cover, the
share of dense and open forests are 12.29 and
8.75 per cent respectively.
Both forest area and forest cover vary from
state to state.  Lakshadweep has zero per cent
forest area; Andaman and Nicobar Islands have
86.93 per cent.  Most of the states with less than
10 per cent of the forest area lie in the north and
northwestern part of the country.  These are
Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
Most of the forests in Punjab and Haryana have
been cleared for cultivation.  States with 10-20
per cent forest area are Tamil Nadu and West
Bengal. In Peninsular India, excluding Tamil
Nadu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Goa, the area
under forest cover is 20-30 per cent.  The
northeastern states have more than 30 per cent
of the land under forest. Hilly topography and
heavy rainfall are good for forest growth.
There is a lot of variation in actual forest cover ,
which ranges from 9.56 per cent in Jammu and
Kashmir to 84.01 per cent in Andaman and
Nicobar Islands.  From the table showing the
distribution of forests in India (Appendix IV), it is
clear that there are 15 states where the forest cover
is more than one-third of the total area, which is
the basic requirement for maintaining the
ecological balance.
On the basis of the percentage of the actual
forest cover, the states have been grouped into
four regions:
The Region Percentage
Cover of the
Forest
(i) The region of high concentration > 40
(ii) The region of medium concentration 20-40
(iii) The region of low concentration 10-20
(iv) The region of very low concentration < 10
Taking the data from Appendix IV, list the states under
the four regins of forest cover
FOREST CONSERVATION
Forests have an intricate interrelationship with
life and environment. These provide numerous
direct and indirect advantages to our economy
and society. Hence, conservation of forest is of
vital importance to the survival and prosperity
of humankind. Accordingly, the Government
of India proposed to have a nation-wide forest
conservation policy, and adopted a forest
policy in 1952, which was further modified in
1988. According to the new forest policy, the
Government will emphasise sustainable forest
management in order to conserve and expand
forest reserve on the one hand, and to meet
the needs of local people on the other.
The forest policy aimed at : (i) bringing 33
per cent of the geographical areas under forest
Figure 5.6 : Mangrove Forests
2015-16(20/01/2015)
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