The natural vegetation vary according to climate, soil and altitude. The major types of vegetation found in India are: Evergreen forests, Monsoon forests, Dry forests, Thorn and Scrub forests, Tidal forests and Himalayan vegetation.
Tropical Evergreen Forests
- These forests grow in areas where rainfall ranges between 200 to 300 cm.
- These are dense forests of luxuriant growth.
- Tall and broad leaves.
- The trees do not shed their leaves annually. Hence they are evergreen.
- The average temperature : 25°C to 27°C.
- Trees are of tall and medium size.
- Important varieties of trees are Ebony, Rosewood and Mahogany.
Tropical Deciduous Forest (Monsoon Forests)
They are of two types: Moist deciduous and Dry deciduous.
- Found in areas where the rainfall is in between 100 cm and 200 cm.
- These are seen on the eastern slopes of the western ghats, in the north eastern part of Peninsula (around Chotanagpur Plateau) and along Siwaliks.
- This is the important vegetation of Kerala.
- The trees of these forests shed their leaves during winter and summer.
- The main trees are Teak, Sal, Sandalwood, Deodar, Ebony, Rosewood and Bamboo.
- These forests are found on the drier margins of the tropical wet deciduous forests, where the rainfall decreases to 100 - 150 cm and dry weather prevails for longer period.
- These are seen in the Peninsular Plateau region.
- Dwarf deciduous trees and long grasses grow in these regions.
- Most of the areas are used for agriculture.
Thorn and Scrub forests
- These forests grow in areas where the rainfall is less than 70 cm.
- Such forests exists in the north western part of the country from Saurashtra to the Punjab plains, North Madhya Pradesh and South West Uttar Pradesh.
- Kikar, Babul, wild palm and coarse grass are some form of vegetation here.
- These forests grow along the coast and on the edges of the deltas.
- A well known variety of mangrove tree called Sundari are found in West Bengal. So the Ganga Brahmaputhra delta is called Sunderban.
- The other notable trees of these forests are hogla, garan, gewa, golpata, pasur, etc.
- These forests supply timber and fire wood.
- These forests vary considerably according to altitude with varying rainfall and temperature along the slopes of mountain.
- Trees such as oak, chestnut and apple are common at about 1000 to 2000 metres hight in the Himalayan region.
- Coniferous trees like pine and cedar are seen at altitudes between 1600m and 3300m.
- Trees of Alpine variety like Silver fir, birch and juniper grow at an altitude of about 3600m.
- The Alpine grasses and shrubs are seen at still higher elevation until the snow line is reached.