Types of Forest in India: Types of Vegetation, Location, Species & Climatic Conditions

By Shivank Goel|Updated : October 20th, 2022

Different types of forest in India account for about 20 per cent of its total land area. We depend on forests for various products, including fuelwood, fodder, fruits, medicines, etc. India features among the ten top countries which have dense forests.

Madhya Pradesh has the maximum area covered by forests among all the states of India, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. Based on the predominant vegetation and climatic conditions, there are major 5 types of forests in India, which are thoroughly discussed in this article.

Table of Content

Constitutional Provisions for Types of Forest

Different types of forests are included in the Concurrent List in the (Seventh Schedule) of the Constitution of India. Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds shifted from State to Concurrent List as per the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.

Types of Forest PDF

Given below are the two articles of the Indian Constitution that played a major role in protecting the forests.

Article

Role

Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution

It is the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests and Wildlife.

Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy

The article mandates that the State shall attempt to save and enhance the environment and protect the forests and wildlife of the country.

Types of Forest in India

Generally, three types of forest exist: temperate, tropical, and boreal. According to environmentalists, these types of forests cover roughly one-third of the Earth's surface.

Temperate Types of Forest

  • These are seen across Eurasia and eastern North America.
  • Temperate forest temperature varies due to the four different seasons at these latitudes throughout the year.
  • The soil is fertile here due to abundant precipitation and supports various flora like birch, maples, and oak.
  • Animals discovered in temperate forests include bears, squirrels, and deer.

Boreal Types of Forest

  • It is also popularly called taiga.
  • These are one of the world's largest land biomes and are seen across Scandinavia, Siberia, and North America (Alaska and Canada).
  • Their significant part is removing excess carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Boreal forests are discovered in areas where temperatures are below freezing.
  • The principal needle-leaf plant species sound these forests are Conifers, spruce, fir, and pine trees.
  • The forests are home to large herbivorous fauna like deer and moose.
  • The native birds of Taiga move to warmer forests or areas during the harsh winters of the Boreal forest.

Alpine Types of Forest

  • Alpine forests are grasslands beginning at an altitude of above 3000 meters and grow just below the snowline.
  • Alpine forests are popular in empty cold deserts of the Tran Himalaya and in the main Himalayan areas.
  • Vegetation does not grow more than 1.5 meters in the low alpine grasslands.
  • Climatic conditions vary from the sub-arctic to the arctic, with snow covering the ground for over 5 months a year.
  • The vegetation consists mainly of the the drooping juniper; black juniper, honeysuckle and willow.

Classification of Types of Forest

Different types of forest are home to various species of animals and plants, we should prevent cutting down trees excessively. Reduction in green belts has been a major cause of global warming, soil erosion, floods, and pollution. Forests in India are classified on the following basis:

  • On Administration-Basis
  • Classification as per Constitution of India
  • On Merchantability
  • Based on Composition
  • Based on Annual Rainfall

Types of Forest - Based on Administration-Basis

Based on the context of decision-making body for forests in India, these are divided into three types of forest, namely:

  • Unprotected Forests
  • Protected Forests
  • Reserved Forests

Unprotected Forests

Protected Forests

Reserved Forests

These forests are unclassified

These forests are taken care by the government.

These forests are directly supervised by the Government.

No limitation on cropping trees or grazing cattle.

Local people are permitted to gather forest produce and cattle grazing.

Public entry is not allowed for the retail purpose of cattle grazing.

Occupy 18% of the Total Forest Area.

Occupy about 29% of the Total Forest Area.

53% of the Total Forest Area is under this category of the country.

Types of Forest - Based on Constitution of India

According to the constitution of India, forests are divided into three categories depending upon whether they are privately owned or under the control of the government.

  • Private Forests
  • State Forests
  • Commercial Forests

Private Forests

State Forests

Commercial Forests

These are privately owned.

State forests include all vital areas of Indian forests.

These are completely under government control (state/central).

Managed and owned by local bodies (district boards, village panchayats, municipal corporations, etc.)

Cover a little more than 1% of the TFA.

Cover almost 94% of the TFA.

Cover 5% of the TFA.

Types of Forest - Based on Merchantability

There are two types of forests based on the type of warranty that claims that the goods are reasonably fit for its ordinary and intended purpose for which they are sold. These are:

  • Non- Merchantable
  • Merchantable

Non- Merchantable

Merchantable

Forests which are seen at high mountainous cliffs; non-obtainable.

Forests which are easily available.

Cover 18% of the TFA.

Cover 82% of the TFA.

Types of Forest - Based on Composition

Depending on the types of leaves of the forest trees, they are categorized into two:

  • Broad-Leaf Forests
  • Coniferous Forests

Broad-Leaf Forests

Coniferous Forests

Tropical and subtropical monsoon forests.

Temperate Forests

Discovered in the plains, mountainous areas, and plateaus of India.

Seen in middle and upper heights of the N-E Indian states like Arunachal Pradesh and eastern Middle Himalayas.

Cover about 94% of the TFA of the country.

Cover 6.50% of the TFA of the country.

Types of Forests in India - Based on Average Annual Rainfall

Types of forests are classified differently depending on the degree of particularity. Below are types of forests found in India, categorized based on the climatic conditions and type of vegetation.

Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen Forests

Study what are Tropical Evergreen and Semi-evergreen forests here.

Features

Details

Location

  • Tropical Evergreen forests are found in the hills of the northeastern region, western slope of the Western Ghats, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
  • Semi-evergreen forests are found in regions with low rainfall.

Climatic conditions

  • Tropical Evergreen forests exist in a hot and humid climate where the annual precipitation is around 200 cm and average temperature stays beyond 22°C.
  • Semi-evergreen forests are present in areas that receive low rainfall.

Structure

  • Tropical Evergreen forests are well-stratified; have layers close to the ground.
  • They are covered with shrubs and creepers.

Length of trees

  • The tress of Tropical Evergreen forests is generally 60 m long or above.

Species

  • The species located in Tropical Evergreen forests include Ebony, Aini, Rosewood, Mahogany, etc.
  • In Semi-Evergreen forests, species such as White Cedar, Hollocak, and Kail are found.

Tropical Deciduous Forests

Know where Tropical Deciduous forests are found, what are its types, and the species found in them.

Features

Details

Location

  • Tropical Deciduous forests are seen in areas that receive annual precipitation between 70 and 200 cm.

Climatic Conditions

  • As indicated above, these forests receive healthy annual rainfall.
  • Therefore, these are also called monsoon forests.

Types

  • Based on water availability, these forests are categorized into moist and dry deciduous.
  • The moist deciduous forests are found in regions with rainfall between 100-200 cm.
  • Dry deciduous forests are more pronounced in the areas which record annual rainfall between 70-100 cm.

Species

  • The primary species in moist deciduous forests are Teak, Shisham, Sal, Sandalwood, Hurra, Amla, and Kusum.
  • The main species found in dry deciduous forests are Tendu, Amaltas, Bel, Khair, Axlewood, Palas, etc.

Tropical Thorn Forests

Go through the features of Tropical Thron forests. Also, study the species found in such forests.

Features

Details

Location

  • Tropical Thorn forests are found in semi-arid regions of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab.

Climatic Conditions

  • These forests exist in regions which receive rainfall less than 50 cm.

Structure

  • The plants of these forests appear leafless almost annually.
  • Such forests consist of grasses and shrubs.

Species

  • Important species found in Tropical Thorn forests are Khejri, Babool, Palas, Ber, Khair, Neem, Wild Date Palm, etc.

Montane Forests

Below we have tabulated the characteristic features of Montane forests along with its types and species.

Features

Details

Location

  • Tropical Deciduous forests are found in regions that receive annual precipitation between 70 and 200 cm.

Climatic Conditions

  • As indicated above, these forests receive healthy annual rainfall.
  • Therefore, these are also called monsoon forests.

Types

  • Based on water availability, these forests are categorized into moist and dry deciduous.
  • The moist deciduous forests are found in regions with rainfall between 100-200 cm.
  • Dry deciduous forests are more pronounced in areas with annual rainfall between 70-100 cm.

Species

  • The main species in moist deciduous forests are Teak, Shisham, Sal, Hurra, Amla, Kusum, and Sandalwood.
  • The main species found in dry deciduous forests are Bel, Tendu, Amaltas, Axlewood, Khair, Palas, etc.

Himalayan Forests

These types of forests are divided into 2 types, which are Himalayan Moist Forests and Himalayan Dry Temperate, both found in different regions of India and having unique characteristics.

Himalayan Moist Forests:

Features

Details

Location

  • Found in Himachal Pradesh, northern hilly parts of Bengal, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Climatic Conditions

  • Discovered in the belt where height ranges between 1000-2000 m.

Types

  • Chir, sal, oak, chestnut, shrubs, and nutritious grasses.

Himalayan Dry Temperate:

Features

Details

Location

  • Lahaul and Kinnaur districts (Himachal Pradesh), Sikkim, JandK, and Chamba.

Types

  • Specifically coniferous: Willow, chilgoza, olive, mulberry deodar, oak, and maple.

Littoral/Swamp Forests

Have a look at the tabulated characteristic features of Littoral/Swamp Forests, along with its location, types, and species.

Features

Details

Location

  • Discovered the delta area of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and along the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • They are impenetrable and dense in nature.

Climatic Conditions

  • As the title suggests, these are found in areas with maximum rainfall.

Types

  • Mangrove dates, bullet wood, palms, and whistling pines are predominant here.
  • The trees in these forests have roots containing soft tissue that help them breathe even underwater.

Species

  • Common plants found in Beach forests are Manilkara, Thespesia, Spinifex, Pandanus, Borassus, Nucifera, Phoenix, etc.
  • On the other hand, species found in Freshwater Swamp forests include Acer, Olea, Ficus, Canna, Holoptelia, etc.

Mangroves in India

These types of forests are scattered over 6,740 sq. km, which comprises 7% of the earth's total mangrove forests. The forests shield the coastal areas, make the coastline stabilize and prevent them erosion. Sunderbans is the largest tidal forest in the world, found along the Ganges delta.

Important Notes for UPSC
Bharat Ratna Award ListGupta Empire
Committees of Constituent AssemblyImportant Mountain Passes in India
Right Against ExploitationKhelo India Programme

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FAQs on Types of Forest in India

  • Three major types of forest are found, which cover roughly one-third of the Earth’s surface are: 

    • Temperate
    • Tropical
    • Boreal.
  • The words ‘forests’ and ‘vegetation’ are used interchangeably. There are five major categories of forests found in India which are as follows.

    • Tropical Evergreen and Semi-evergreen forests
    • Tropical Thorn forests
    • Tropical Deciduous forests
    • Montane forests
    • Littoral and Swamp forests.
  • Tropical Deciduous Forests are the most notable types of forest in India and are recognized as Monsoon Forests.

  • The 5 types of forests in India are:

    • Seasonal rainforests.
    • Semievergreen forests.
    • Moist/dry deciduous forests
    • Tropical mangrove forests.
    • Temperate rainforests.
  • There are two types of rainforests which are Tropical and Temperate. Tropical forests have a warmer climate as they are present close to the equator whereas Temperate forests are seen at the north or south of the equator near the cooler coastal areas.

  • The Tropical Moist Deciduous forests exist in areas with annual precipitation between 100-200 cm.

  • Below are the types of forests found in Tamil Nadu.

    • Tropical Dry Evergreen
    • Tropical Wet Evergreen
    • Tropical Semi-Evergreen
    • Tropical Moist Deciduous
    • Littoral and Swamp
    • Tropical Dry Deciduous
    • Tropical Thorn 
    • Montane Wet Evergreen

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