Natural Vegetation

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NATURAL VEGETATION

H

ave you ever been to a forest for a picnic? You might have surely gone to a park if you live in a city or to a mango, guava or coconut orchard, if you live in a village. How do you differentiate between the natural vegetation and the planted vegetation? The same variety may be found growing wild in the forest under natural conditions and the same tree may be the planted one in your garden under human supervision. Natural vegetation refers to a plant community that has been left undisturbed over a long time, so as to allow its individual species to adjust themselves to climate and soil conditions as fully as possible. India is a land of great variety of natural vegetation. Himalayan heights are marked with temperate vegetation; the Western Ghats and the Andaman Nicobar Islands have tropical rain forests, the deltaic regions have tropical forests and mangroves; the desert and semi desert areas of Rajasthan are known for cactii, a wide variety of bushes and thorny vegetation. Depending upon the variations in the climate and the soil, the vegetation of India changes from one region to another. On the basis of certain common features such as predominant vegetation type and climatic regions, Indian forests can be divided into the following groups:

Tropical Evergreen and Semi Evergreen Forests These forests are found in the western slope of the Western Ghats, hills of the northeastern region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They are found in warm and humid areas with an annual precipitation of over 200 cm and mean annual temperature above 22 oC. Tropical evergreen forests are well stratified, with layers closer to the ground and are covered with shrubs and creepers, with short structured trees followed by tall variety of trees. In these forests, trees reach great heights up to 60 m or above. There is no definite time for trees to shed their leaves, flowering and fruition. As such these forests appear green all the year round.

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