From the rainforest of Kerala in the south to the Alpine Pastures of Ladakh in the north there are wide ranges of forests that one can find in India. The soil type, climate, elevation, and topography are some of the major elements that define the type of forest. They are classified based on nature and composition. Moreover, it also depends upon the climate type in which they grow and their relationship with the surrounding environment.
Different Types of Forest in India
There are various types of forest in India namely coniferous forest, broadleaved forest, evergreen forest, wet evergreen forest, deciduous forest, and mangrove forest. Almost 24.56% of the geographical area of the country is under forest cover.
The coniferous forests can be found in the Himalayan Mountain Range. The temperature in this region is low and it also snows during some parts of the year. The vegetation is composed of tall, stately trees having needle-like leaves that jut out from downward sloping branches. Such an arrangement of leaves helps the snow to fall off easily. These trees belong to the family Gymnospermae. So, they don’t bear fruits; they bear woody cones instead. Some of the commonly known conifers are cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, etc.
The Broadleaved Forests can be categorized into- evergreen forest, deciduous forest, mangrove forest, and thorn forest. These forms of forest have trees with large broad leaves of different shapes.
The evergreen forests can be found in the Western Ghats, Northeastern Himalayas, and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The trees in this type of forest stay green throughout the year because in these regions monsoon lasts for a long time. The trees of evergreen forests are tall, straight, and have green crowns that almost form a canopy. Some examples of evergreen trees are Jamun, Betel Nut Palm, Mango, Jackfruit, and Hollock.
There are semi-evergreen forests too in some pockets of the Western Ghats, Northeastern Himalayas, and Andaman and Nicobar Island. This type of forest is highly dense and has a wide variety of trees.
Deciduous forests are found in regions that receive a moderate amount of rainfall. Here one can find teak trees. The trees in the deciduous forests shed their leaves during dry seasons, mostly in winter.
The thorn forests are found in the semi-arid regions of the country. The trees in this type of forest are sparsely distributed and are enclosed by open grasslands. These types of plants are known as Xerophytes. This means they can conserve water. These trees have a different form of leaves. Some have thick, waxy leaves that help in regulating the water loss at the time of transpiration. Further, they have a long fibrous root that can reach water at greater depths. The thorns that are present on the plant prevent water loss and keep them safe from herbivores.
The mangrove forests in India are found in the river deltas and along the coast. The trees in this forest grow in a mixture of freshwater and saline water. The low-lying areas where these trees grow become submerged under the water during high tide. To facilitate breathing in clayey soil, nature has equipped mangrove plants with breathing roots. Some common mangrove plants are sundari, goran, gewa, etc. The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in India and the world. It is located in the Ganges delta of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The forests in India are rich sources of timber, medical plants, honey and other natural resources. They also serve as the natural habitat of numerous animals and birds. Unfortunately, India’s population explosion has reduced the forest cover to a great extent. But it is the responsibility of the government as well as common people to save the forests for the sake of a greener tomorrow.