India is a country with diverse vegetation and wildlife. Due to its exclusive diversity in topography, the existential differences in the flora are witnessed. The natural vegetation of India is an example of how rich our natural resources can be to the entire world. In this section, you will learn what is natural vegetation and how it is segmented considering the topography and other features. Keep on reading and find out how the vegetation of India is classified into different types.
India and its Natural Vegetation
The first thing that we will do is to describe natural vegetation. This term refers to the community of plants growing naturally in a particular area without any human intervention. The naturally-growing plants also show a set of features that match the environment of that place. Apart from all the crops humans grow on fields and other places, every species of flora growing naturally can be considered as natural vegetation.
It all depends on the average climate of a region that determines the type of vegetation. In fact, a pattern is observed in the vegetation growing in a particular climate in different regions. The climatic condition depends on the altitude of the area, seasons, duration of sunlight received, and latitude. It also depends on the soil of that region. Hence, by looking at the factors, you can understand that the duration and intensity of the photoperiod decide the type of vegetation. Apart from these factors, rainfall, humidity, etc also influence the types of vegetation in India.
Types of Natural Vegetation in India
Now that you have understood the natural vegetation meaning, you can easily classify the features of vegetation of a particular zone. The different types of vegetation in India are mentioned below.
1. Tropical Rainforest
As per the information about natural vegetation, this is one of the widest segments of forests found in India. India is a tropical country and it witnesses bigger summers and a vast range of rainfalls across the map. Due to the shielding of the Himalayas, the cold Arctic wind is restricted on the other side. As the name suggests, the rain forests occur in the areas witnessing heavy rainfall during the season or across the year. It is found in the Western Ghats, Lakshadweep, Assam, Andaman & Nicobar, Tamil Nadu, etc. The trees can grow up to a height of 60 meters. The noteworthy species found in these forests are mahogany, ebony, rubber, rosewood, and cinchona.
2. Tropical Deciduous Forest
As the name suggests, this natural vegetation comprises deciduous trees that shed their leaves once in a year during the dry summer season. This forest can be seen in the Himalayan foothills, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, etc. In fact, this type of vegetation is also seen on the eastern side of the Western Ghats. The prime species found in this forest are sandalwood, sal, bamboo, teak, shisham, kusum, mulberry, khair, arjun, etc. These species of the natural vegetation of India are also commercially very important for different industries. These forests are generally found in regions that receive rainfall ranging from 70 cm to 200 cm annually.
3. Scrubs and Thorny Vegetations
These particular types of trees explain natural vegetation and a lot about the places where they grow. It is clear that these places get a scanty rainfall of 70 cm annually. This is the reason these plantations have adapted to this arid climate and started growing thorns to preserve water. The trees are generally bushy and thorny in nature. The arid climate and natural vegetation of India signify the features of these plants. You will find these plants in Rajasthan and the upper part of Gujarat where the climate is quite dry. In fact, arid areas of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh with less rainfall also grow such vegetation.
4. Montane Forests
Among the different types of vegetation in India, this is a unique type where the species grow bigger leaves and are found at a height of 1000-3000 meters above sea level. The temperature is low and the climate is humid at the height of 1000 – 2000 meters. Here, you will find broad-leaved evergreen trees of chestnuts, oaks, etc. Above 1500 meters to 3000 meters, the natural vegetation has a temperate set of features. Here, the temperature drops and the climate is dryer. Trees like silver fir, deodar, spruce, pine, etc grow.
5. Mangrove Forests
If we talk about natural vegetation of the deltas and estuaries, we will find exceptional features of the entire group of species. These trees and plants grow in tidal regions. The roots are submerged in tidal water. The common trees are Sundari plants found in the deltas of the Ganga, Kaveri, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Godavari. These forests are quite dense. Some of the plants also have roots that grow upwards.
Indian Medicinal Plants: A Rich Resource
After discussing what you understand by natural vegetation, we will move on to one of the best natural resources India boasts of. The medicinal plants in India tell the stories of the rich history of Ayurveda. The spices and medicinal plants are listed by the World Conservation Union. The Red List contains 352 medicinal plants grown in India. 52 out of this list are threatened with extinction. The common medicinal plants are tulsi, sarpagandha, babool, neem, jamun, arjun, etc.
Study about these types of natural vegetations of India and understand how the features depend on the climatic conditions.