Natural Vegetation of India

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  • 0:04 What Is Natural Vegetation?
  • 0:31 Vegetation Areas of India
  • 4:41 Forest Conservation in India
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

India is home to quite a variety of vegetation, ranging from forests to deserts. Because India's southern end touches the ocean, it also has tidal areas. Learn more about the five types of vegetation in India in this lesson.

What Is Natural Vegetation?

Imagine yourself walking through India. As you walk from the coast to the inland parts of the country and then up to the mountaintops, you'll see different kinds of vegetation. Natural vegetation refers to the plants and trees that grow by themselves in a particular area. You'll also see the impact the amount of rainfall has on an area's vegetation. Let's take a walk through the different types of vegetation in India.

Vegetation Areas of India

You begin your journey along the coast of India. Here you have what is called a tidal area, also known as a mangrove or littoral forest. Sundari, screw pines, and coconut palm trees grow here. Because these tidal areas are sometimes very close to the ocean, trees and vegetation are used to both fresh and brackish water, with a salinity between 0.5 to 35 parts per thousand. In addition to stabilizing the coastline and preventing erosion, these trees are also used as fuel, construction timber, and for making boats.

As you make your way further inland, you'll come across tropical evergreen forests. These are heavily forested areas with trees at least 147 feet tall and little undergrowth. The leaves on these trees never shed because the climate in these regions is always warm and humid. The humidity stays above 70 percent all year. As you walk through these evergreen rainforests, you'll notice that very little sunlight gets through the thick canopy. The plants you'll find below the canopy include ferns and orchids. You'll also likely see rain. This region gets more than 78 inches of rain each year. The parts of India where you'll find these rainforests are the Western Ghats, particularly its western side, the Andaman Islands, and the Nicobar Islands. The trees that grow in this area include bamboo, mahogany, white cedar, rosewood, and sandalwood. The resulting timber is hard, fine-grained, and durable. As such, it has high commercial value both locally and internationally for building and construction purposes.

As you keep making your way, you'll also come across some deciduous forests. You'll find these forests on the Himalayan slopes and surrounding your evergreen forests along the Western Ghats. These forests also grow in parts of West Bengal, Odisha, the Andaman Islands, the Nicobar Islands, Manipur, and Mizoram. Rainfall here ranges from 39 to 78 inches per year. The trees here shed their leaves because the summers and winters are dry. Trees that grow here include teak, rosewood, sal, bamboo, ebony, and jack fruit. The teak that grows here is a valuable timber, while the jack fruit tree produces fruit that's bigger than your head! This fruit is used in some Indian dishes.

The driest deciduous forests only receive 20 to 39 inches of rain per year. The trees here are shorter, and you'll also find more grasses as more light reaches the ground. You'll find a somewhat wide strip of this forest going from the Himalayan foothills to Kanniyakumari, particularly in Orissa, Chhotanagpur Plateau, and eastern Madhya Pradesh. Teak, rosewood, bamboo, axlewood, laurel, red sanders, and satinwood are among the trees that grow here. Unfortunately, large areas have been cleared for agriculture over the years, and you'll see signs of overgrazing and the results of fires.

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