The Mountain Vegetation

The mountain vegetation can be classified as the mountain vegetation of Peninsular plateau and the mountain vegetation of the Himalayan ranges.

 The Mountain Vegetation of Peninsular Plateau or the southern mountain forests:

The high altitude area of the plateau region includes the Vindhyas, Nilgiri, Annamalai and Palni hills, Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats, Satpura and Maikal hills.

The important characteristics of the vegetation of this region are:

[1] As they are closer to the tropics, and only 1,500 m above the sea level, vegetation is temperate in the higher regions, and subtropical on the lower regions of the Western Ghats, especially in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

[2] The temperate forests are called Sholas in the Nilgiris, Anaimalai and Palani hills.

[3] Stretches of open rolling grass plains with undeveloped forests or bushes are found.

[4] The wet temperate forests below 1500 metres are less dense than those found above this height.

[5] The forests have thick undergrowth, epiphytes, mosses and ferns.

[6] Magnolia, Laurel, elm, cinchona and wattle are common trees.

[7] Cinchona and eucalyptus have been introduced from outside the country.


The Mountain Vegetation of the Himalayan Ranges

The Himalayan ranges show a succession of vegetation from the tropical to the tundra, which changes in with the altitude.

This can be divided into the following types:

[A] Moist Tropical Deciduous forests are found along the foot hills in the Siwaliks, upto the height of 1000 metres.


[B] The Wet Temperate Evergreen forests are found in the areas lying between 1000 to 3000 metres.

The important characteristics of these forests are:

[1] These are very thick forests of lofty trees.

[2] Oak and chestnut are the predominant trees of the eastern Himalayan region while chir and pine are in the western part.

[3] Sal is the important tree in lower altitudes.

[4] Deodar, silver fir and spruce are predominant trees between the height of 2000 and 3000 metres. These forests are less dense as compared to the forests at lesser elevations.

[5] These forests are of great economic importance to the local population.


[C] Dry Temperate Vegetation is found on the higher hilly slopes of this mountain region which has moderate temperatures and rainfall between 70 cms and 100 cms.

Important characteristics of this type of vegetation are:

[1] This vegetation resembles the Mediterranean vegetation.

[2] Wild olives, acacia are important trees along with hard, coarse and thick savanna grass.

[3] Oak and deodar are found here and there.


[D] Alpine Vegetation is found between the altitude 3000 and 4000 metres.

The important characteristics of these forests are:

[1] These are far less dense.

[2] Silver fir, juniper, birch, pine and rhododendron are important trees of these forests.  However, all of them have only a stunted growth.

[3] Alpine pastures are found at still higher altitudes.

[4] The trees get progressively stunted as they approach the snow line.