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Thorn Forest

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Thorn Forest in India

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India has a landmass of 7,12,249 sq. km. covered with forest from which 16,491 sq km consist of tropical thorn forest.  The tropical thorn forests in India are found in the areas of southwest Punjab, in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and also in Uttar Pradesh. 

In the tropical thorn forest trees like – Babool tree, ber tree, and wild date palm, Khair tree, neem, khejri tree, palas tree, etc. are some of the important trees of the tropical thorn forests.

We will learn more about thorn forests in this section. 

Thorn Forest Meaning

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A thorn forest is characterized by dense, scrubland with vegetation as dry subtropical and with warm temperate areas. Here occurs a seasonal rainfall averaging from 250 to 500 mm.

Most of southwestern North America and southwestern Africa comes under this thorn forest, also in smaller areas in Africa, South America, and Australia.  

Caatinga is another name of thorn forest in South America which consists primarily of small, thorny trees which shed their leaves season-wise. Here the trees do not grow much taller than 10 meters in height, thus, they all average between 7 and 8 meters tall.

These thorn forests mix with the savanna woodlands when the rainfall increases and this turns into deserts with the climate becoming drier. 

The tidal forests include thorned plants, the common animals include rats, mice, rabbits, and tigers.

Tropical Thorn Forest

Thorn Forest is the type of desert formation, this has scrub-like vegetation. They are characterized as mostly tropical and subtropical forests with trees and plants armed with thorns and spines. The vegetation here is too scarce and with tall trees laid against the sparse ground where there is a lack of grass.

Characteristic Features of the Thorn Forests are:

  • The thorn forests grow in the regions which receive less than 70 cm of rainfall. 

  • The trees present in the thorn forest have long roots which penetrate deeper into the soil in search of water.

  • In these trees, the leaves are thick and also small to minimize evaporation.

Tropical Thorn Forest and Scrubs 

The tropical Thorn forests and the Scrubs are the most dominant variety of forests or that experience an average rainfall of which is less than 70cm. 70cm is a very scanty rainfall. These kinds of vegetation are usually seen in the semi-arid regions of India like in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and other drier areas of the Deccan Plateau. 

 The Features of These Kinds of Forests are:

  • The vegetation includes the stunted trees with the thorny bushes.

  • The major portions of the forests are covered with trees like the Babul, Kikar, Khair, Plums, Cactus, and Dates.

  • For scarcity of rainfall, the leaves of these trees are very tiny which helps them to evaporate less water.

  • The thorny vegetation also consists of short thorny shrubs and thorny bushes in between them. 

  • The roots are spread wide underground to find nutrients in the soil as there is less of it.  

  • The sharp thorns on these trees prevent the animals to eat them.  

  • In this habitat, animals like donkeys, camels, rattlesnakes, porcupines, wild deer, Nilgai, and rabbit thrive. 

  • The trees in these forests remain a leafless major part of the time hence called thorn scrub or scrub jungles.

  • The humidity is much less than 50%, and the temperature is quite high, it may be between 25 to 30 degrees.

Trees found in Thorn Forest 

The trees in the Thorn Forests are found in the semi-arid areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. The dominant trees are - Acacias, palms, euphorbias, and cacti exist in the thorn forest.

Thorn Forest Information 

Thorn Forest is a type of desert formation that has scrub-like vegetation. These forests are mostly tropical and subtropical. They have trees and plants with armed thorns and spines. Thorn forests experience rainfall scarcity and these types of vegetation are prevalent in the arid regions.

Deccan Thorn Scrub Forests 

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These are the xeric shrubland ecoregion situated in south India and northern Sri Lanka. In the Deccan thorn scrub forests, previously was covered with tropical dry deciduous forest, which now remains in isolated fragments. The vegetation now consists of southern tropical thorn scrub-type forests. These forests consist of open woodlands with their thorny trees and short trunks and low, branching crowns, it also has spiny and xerophytic shrubs and dry grassland. Here in this habitat the great Indian bustard and blackbuck reside. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Savanna Woodlands?

Ans. A savanna or the savannah is a mixed woodland or grassland type ecosystem which is characterized by the trees that are being sufficiently and widely spaced so that the canopy here does not close. The Savannas try to maintain an open canopy even if there is a high tree density. This is often believed that the savannas feature the most widely spaced and are in the form of scattered trees.


Savanna has scattered individual trees, and mainly it is of a grassland form. Savannas cover half of Africa, while it covers larger areas of Australia, South America, and India. The climate in the savanna region is the most important factor in creating the savanna grassland.

2. What do You Mean by Arid?

Ans. This is a region characterized by a severe lack of adequate water, the water is so scarce that this causes hindering or prevention of the growth and the development of plant and animal life. The environments subject to the arid type climates which tend to lack vegetation and hence they are called xeric or desertic type.

3. How do the Trees in This Region Grow?

Ans. The Thorn and Scrubs forest are found in the regions where the rainfall is very less. Lesser than 70cm. In these vegetation forests, there are thorny trees and bushes.  The stems are succulent to conserve the water. Here the leaves are modified into spines or thorns which help to minimize transpiration.