Types of Vegetation – UPSC Notes/PDF

This topic can be considered one of the most important topic in context of prelims, mains as well as interview. Because as an administrator, you must have the knowledge of the type and names of trees found in different locations of India.

India is a diverse country not only in terms of culture but also geographically. It has grounds, plateau, hills, waterfalls, mountains and different types of forests. Here we are going to discuss the various types of forests that our country possesses. Each word in this post is very very important.

Meaning of Forest

A large area covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth is called ‘Forest’.

Meaning of Vegetation

Plants considered collectively, especially those found in a particular area or habitat. There is also a term called ‘Natural Vegetation’. Natural vegetation refers to a plant community which has grown naturally without human aid and has been left undisturbed by humans for a long time.

Types of Vegetation

Following are the major types of vegeration which are identified in our country:

(i) Tropical Evergreen Forests

(ii) Tropical Deciduous Forests

(iii) Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs

(iv) Montane Forests

(v) Mangrove Forests

Tropical Evergreen Forests

They are restricted to the area having heavy rainfall above 200 cm a year. The areas in India above 200 cm include the Western Ghats, Eastern slopes of Tamilnadu, Odisha and West Bengal and the almost total area of northeast India. The trees in these forests reach a great height up to 60 metres or even above. These regions are warm and wet throughout the year having luxuriant vegetation of all kinds – trees, shrubs, and creepers giving it a multilayered structure. There is no definite time for trees to shed their leaves, different types of trees shed their leaves during a different time. Therefore, these forests appear green all year round. Hence, the name Tropical Evergreen Forests.

The commercially important trees of this forest are Ebony, Mahogany, Rosewood, Rubber and Cinchona.

The common animals found in these forests are elephants, monkey, lemur and deer. Besides these animals plenty of birds, bats sloth, scorpions and snails are also found in these jungles.

Tropical Deciduous Forests

Tropical Deciduous Forests are the most widespread forests in India. They receive rainfall between 200 to 100 cm. Based on the availability of water, they are further divided into two parts i.e. Moist and Dry.

Moist Deciduous Forests

These forests are found in the areas receiving rainfall between 200 and 100 cm. These forests exist in the following areas:
1. Eastern Part of the country
2. Northeastern states
3. Along the foothills of Himalayas
4. Jharkhand, West Odisha, Chhattisgarh
5. On the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats.

The dominant trees of these forests are: Teak, Bamboos, Sal, Shisham, Sandalwood, Khair, Kusum, Arjun, Mulberry etc.

Dry Deciduous Forests

These forests are found in the areas receiving rainfall between 100 and 70 cm. These forests exist in the rainier parts of the peninsular plateau and plains of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The trees of these forests are Teak, Sal, Peepal and Neem.

The common animals found in these forests are, Lion, Tiger, Pig, Deer and Elephant.

These regions have been largely cleared for agricultural and resident purposes.

Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs

The regions having less than 70 cm of rainfall has these type of Forests. The natural vegetation consists of thorny trees and bushes. These type for forests are found in the following regions:
1. Rajasthan
2. Gujarat
3. Madhya Pradesh
4. Chhattisgarh
5. Uttar Pradesh
6. Haryana

Acacias, palms, euphorbias and cacti are the main plant species and the common animals found in these forests are rats, mice, rabbits, fox, tiger, lion, wild ass, horses and camels.

Montane Forests

In mountainous regions, because of decrease in temperature with increasing altitude leads to the corresponding change in natural vegetation. The vegetation changes in the same order as we see from the tropical to the tundra region.

The types of forest and the related height is given in the above picture. The types of trees that are found in these different set of elevation are as follows:

Between 1000 m and 2000 m: Evergreen broad-leaf trees such as oaks and chestnuts.
Between 1500 m and 3000 m:
Coniferous trees like pine, deodar, silver fir, spruce and cedar.
Between 3000 m and above
: Alpine Vegetation like Silver fir, junipers, pines and birches.

The common animals found in these forests are Kashmir stag, spotted deer, wild sheep, jackrabbit, Tibetan antelope, yark, snow leopard, squirrels, shaggy horn wild ibex, bear and rare red panda, sheep and goats with thick hair.

Mangrove Forests

The mangrove tidal forests are found in the areas of coastal influenced by tides. Mud and sild get accumulated on such coasts. Dense mangroves are the common varieties with roots of the plants submered under water. The deltas of the Ganga, the Mahanadi, the Krishna, the Godavari and the Kaveri are covered by such vegetation.

The trees that are found in Mangrove Forests are Palm, coconut, keora, agar etc. They are mostly hard timber. Royal Bengal Tiger is the famous animal in these forests. Turtles, crocodiles, gharials and snakes are also found in these forests.