Natural vegetation and wildlife exist only in the Biosphere and are interlinked and dependent on one another for survival. This structure is also known as the Ecosystem. Both vegetation and wildlife are extremely important resources and hence are an important part of geography. The distribution of vegetation and wildlife in India is influenced by Relief factors (land, oil) and Climate (Temperature, rainfall, and sunlight).
Types of Natural Vegetation in India
Image Credit: National Repository of Open Educational Resource (NROER)
Tropical Rain Forests
- As the name suggests, they are in areas that see heavy rainfall of 200 cm and above.
- The forests are thick and dense, preventing sunlight from reaching the ground.
- Many trees in this vegetation shed their leaves at different times of the year.
- They are also called Evergreen Forest because they appear green year round.
- Some trees found in this region are Ebony, Rosewood, Rubber etc.
- In India, parts that witness this vegetation are Andaman and Nicobar Island, some parts of North East, a small strip of the western side in the Western Ghats.
- Animals found in Tropical Rain Forests are butterflies, spiders, snakes, frogs, sloths etc.
Tropical Deciduous Forests
- Also known as the monsoon forests, these forests are very common in our country.
- They are not as thick and shed leaves at a specific time of the year. They are found in areas with rainfall of 70-200 cm.
- Some trees found in this region are Teak, Shisham, Sal, Neem, and Cinchona etc.
- In India, parts that are covered with Tropical Deciduous forests are Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, UP, Chhattisgarh, and parts of Maharashtra.
- Animals found in this area are deer, porcupines, fox, etc.
- They are found in dry areas of India.
- The leaves are thorny and lose water easily, thereby making the plants dry.
- Some trees found in this region are Keekar, Bamboo, Cactus, Khair.
- In India, they are present in Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Eastern stretch of the Western Ghats and Rajasthan.
- Animals found in this area include lions, rats, mice, tiger etc.
- As the name suggests, they are located at higher altitudes.
- The trees in the altitude range of 1000-2000 meters are evergreen and broad like Oak. The trees are conical in shape and are found at heights varying from 1500-3000 meters. For example – Pine, Cedar, etc. At altitude over 3600 meters, Alpine vegetation is found with trees like silver fir, jumpers etc.
- Some trees found in this region are Chir, Fir, Deodar, Maple, and Pine.
- In India, Himalayan portions of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Meghalaya etc. have this vegetation kind.
- Snow leopards, pandas, wild yaks, wild goats etc. are some commonly found animals here
- Mangrove forests are identified with tangled roots. Sometimes, their roots are under water.
- They can live in areas with less oxygen and can survive in saline water.
- Examples of trees in this region are Nipa Palm, Loop Root etc.
- In India, they are found in Sunderban, West Bengal, and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Animals found in this region are turtles, snakes, crocodiles etc.
Importance of Natural Vegetation
Plants are a source of food for the mankind. The food chain is dependent on this vegetation. Human nutrition, directly or indirectly, depends on plants. In an indirect manner, cattle provide us with milk, wool, meat etc. They survive on plants and other vegetative areas that provide them with feed. Further, forests also provide employment to tribes. Wood is derived from forests and has multiple uses like making houses, shelter, furniture etc. Forests also provide various raw material for industries e.g., wood, gum etc.
What is Wildlife?
Wildlife consists of wild animals (fauna) and plants (flora). They help in maintaining a balance in nature. Flora can make their own food, while fauna cannot and are dependent on plants or animals for the same.
- They are found in all kinds of vegetation.
- The list of animals categorized as per specific Indian areas is listed in the table below:
|Area||Animals found in this area|
|Gir Forest, Gujarat||Asiatic Lions|
|Assam||Elephants and One-Horned Rhino|
|Great Indian Desert||Camel and Wild Ass|
|Himalayan Region||Wild Goats, Snow Leopards, Bears|
- Wildlife also contains birds, namely parrots, pigeons, ducks, crows, peacocks etc. to name a few. India has been blessed with millions of different species of birds and animals.
Why are some wildlife species getting endangered?
Plants and animals in India have been termed as endangered due to human greed. People hunt animals for commercial purposes. Deforestation has also led to the loss of both, flora and fauna. Further, pollution, urbanization, and industrialization have all resulted in the loss of plants and animals, causing an imbalance in the ecosystem.
To combat the vicious impacts of wildlife destruction, which is being caused by human interactions, many bio-reserves such as Simplipal National Park in Orissa, Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, and many more, have been established. A Bio-reserve is a protected and limited area with its own flora and fauna. People are allowed in the buffer zones of these reserves so as to create integration with nature.
Summarizing Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
- India has different kinds of natural vegetation and wildlife, each supporting different flora and fauna.
- Diverse soil types are abundantly available in the country thus supporting different vegetation.
- India has different kinds of climates, all varying in humidity, temperature etc.
- India witnesses rainfall ranging from 20 cm to 300 cm thus supporting various kinds of flora and fauna.
- Sunlight is present in different areas for different durations, all depending on altitude and latitudinal position.