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Natural Vegetation in India

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  • Last Updated : 31 Mar, 2022
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In the world, there are 12 mega biodiversity countries and our Country India is one of them. India has a huge variety of Flora and Fauna. India has held tenth place in the world with about 47000 plant species and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. About 15000 flowering plants are there in India which is six percent of the total world’s flowering plants. India has many non-flowering plants like ferns, algae, and fungi. In its Fresh and Marine water, India has a total of 80000 species of animals as well as a rich variety of fish.

Natural Vegetation

Plants that have not been grown by humans are referred to as natural vegetation. It does not require human assistance and receives what it requires from its natural surroundings. 

Some Important Features of Natural Vegetation are,

  • The nature of vegetation and the height of the land are strongly intertwined. 
  • The climate varies as the height rises, and the natural vegetation changes as well. 
  • Temperature and moisture play a role in plant development. 
  • It also depends on parameters such as slope and soil thickness. Forest, grassland, and shrubs are the three main classifications. 

Hence, Natural Vegetation refers to the plant community which has grown naturally without human help or untouched by humans. 

The Natural vegetation which has been left undisturbed for a long time is termed Virgin Vegetation. Therefore there are so many crops, fruits, orchards which are part of vegetation but they are not part of natural vegetation.

Factors Affecting Natural Vegetation

There are different types of forests depending on physical, geographical, climatic, and ecological factors, such as evergreen forest (mainly composed of evergreen tree species, i.e. species with leaves all year) and deciduous forest (mainly composed of deciduous tree species, i.e. species with leaves all year) (mainly composed of deciduous tree species i.e. species which lose their leaves during particular months of the year). Each forest type supports a distinct community of creatures that have evolved to dwell there. 

Due to the following factors, there is huge diversity in the kingdom of Flora and Fauna:

  1. Relief: Relief itself has three factors i.e. Land, Soil, and Altitude, which are discussed as,
    • Land – The natural vegetation is affected both directly and indirectly by the land’s character. For example, the vegetation in hilly locations differs from that in plateau and plain areas. The rich ground is usually used for agriculture, whilst the undulating and uneven terrains are where grassland and forests grow, providing a habitat for a diversity of fauna. 
    • Soil – The soil factor also varies from place to place as different types of soil provide a basis for different types of vegetation. Different kinds of soils support different kinds of plants. Cactus and prickly shrubs thrive in the desert’s sandy soils, while mangroves and deltaic flora thrive in the delta’s damp, marshy soils. Conical trees grow on hill slopes with some soil depth.
    • Altitude – When elevation rises, so does the distribution of flora, which is comparable to that seen as latitude rises. In general, ‘altitude mirrors latitude,’ and there is a strong correlation between latitudinal and altitudinal climatic zonation, as well as natural vegetation.) 
  2. Climate: Climate itself has three factors i.e. Temperature, Photoperiod, and Precipitation, which are discussed as,
    • Temperature – Temperature determined the nature and extent of vegetation of a region along with the humidity in the air, precipitation, and soil. Temperature affects the nature, type, and growth of vegetation of a place because when the temperature decreases or height increases, the climate gets colder. For Example, The fall in temperature affects the types of vegetation and its growth on the slopes of the Himalayas and the hills of the peninsula above the height of 915 m. Here on the slope of the Himalayas, the vegetation changes from tropical to subtropical temperate and alpine vegetation.
    • Photoperiod (Sunlight) – It is defined as the variation in the duration and amount of sunlight at different places. This variation in sunlight is due to latitude, altitude, season, and duration of the day. For Example, the Growth of trees and plants is high in summer due to the longer duration of sunlight. Longer duration of sunlight the Southern Himalayas has covered with thick vegetation than the Northern slopes.
    • Precipitation: In India, almost the full rainfall season receives in advancing South-West monsoon i.e. (June to September). Areas always have denser vegetation with heavy rainfall than the other areas with lesser rainfall. For Example, Monsoon rains cause a heavy growth of tropical evergreen forests on the western slopes of Western Ghats because of the southwest monsoon rains whereas, on other hand, the eastern slopes do not have dense forests.

Types of Natural Vegetation in India

There are 5 major kinds of Natural vegetation in India, that are listed as:

  1. Tropical Evergreen Forests
  2. Tropical Deciduous Forests 
  3. Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs
  4. Montane Forests
  5. Mangrove Forests

Let’s discuss them in detail as

Tropical Evergreen Forests

  • Forests are grown in heavy rainfall areas where the annual rainfall is over 200 cm with a short dry season.
  • These are also known as Tropical Rainforests. 
  • These forests are found in the Western Ghats and on the island groups of Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Nicobar, upper parts of Assam and Tamil Nadu coast.

Tropical Deciduous Forests

  • Tropical Deciduous Forests are one of the most widespread forests of India. 
  • These forests are found over the region where the annual rainfall is between 200 cm and 70 cm. 
  • Trees of These forests types shed their leaves for about six to eight weeks in dry summer. 
  • These forests are also known as Monsoon Forests.

Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs

  • These specific tree species provide insight into natural vegetation as well as the environments in which they flourish. It is obvious that these areas receive just 70 cm of yearly rainfall. This is why these plantations have begun to produce thorns in order to conserve water in this arid climate.
  • In nature, the trees are often bushy and thorny. India’s dry environment and natural vegetation reflect the characteristics of these plants. 
  • These plants may be found in Rajasthan and Gujarat’s higher reaches, where the environment is arid.
  • The main plant species are Acacias, Palms, Euphorbias, and cacti.

Montane Forests

  • Montane Forests are the forest that is usually found in a mountainous region where the decrease in temperature with increase in altitude leads to the corresponding change in the natural vegetation. 
  • This is a unique sort of vegetation in India, where the species develop larger leaves and are found at elevations of 1000-3000 meters above sea level.
  • Some of the mountainous areas are Jammu Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Chestnuts, oaks, and other broad-leaved evergreen trees may be found here.

Mangrove Forests

  • Mangrove Forests are the forests that are found in the coastal areas influenced by tides, because of this, they are also known as Tidal Forests.
  • The Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri deltas, for example, develop along the shore and on the edges of deltas.
  • These woodlands are known as ‘Sundarbans’ in West Bengal.
  • The trees include the hogla, garan, gewa, golpata, and pasur, among others.
  • The most common varieties in these forests are Dense Mangroves and their roots are submerged underwater.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: What are Indigenous Species and Exotic species? Give Examples?

Answer: 

  • Indigenous Species – The species of plants and animals which are originated in India.
    • For Example, Palash, Amaltash are examples of plant species.
  • Exotic Species – The species of plants and animals which are not originated in India or which have come outside of India.
    • For Example, Law’s Ceropegia, Siroi Lily are examples of Exotic species.

Question 2: What is Flora? Give some examples?

Answer:

The term Flora refers to the plants of a particular region or period. The Latin meaning of the name Flora is “Goddess of the Flower”. Junipers, pines, and deodars are the examples of flora in India.

Question 3: What is Fauna? Give some examples?

Answer:

The term Fauna refers to the animals of a particular region. There is a variety of faunas in the Animal kingdom. The Bengal tiger, Asian elephant arise some examples of Fauna in India.

Question 4: What are commercial trees?

Answer: 

Those trees are helpful in the production of goods and give assured a return. These types of trees are used in the production of timber and furniture.

Question 5: How much natural vegetation is natural in India?

Answer:

Natural vegetation refers to the plant community which has grown naturally without human help or untouched by humans.

In today’s world, natural vegetation is no more natural because various types of new species of plants are raised in laboratories for better results.


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