Changes in soil conditions have given birth to peculiar types of vegetation in many areas. Large areas of forests are depleting every year due to continuous felling and burning of trees for increasing area for cultivation and settlement. Overgrazing has also resulted into depletion of natural vegetation in several areas. Natural vegetation in India is influenced by altitude (in the Himalayan region) and rainfall.
On the basis of altitude, the Himalayan region has all the vegetation varieties found in the tropical to tundra region. The rest of the country has mainly three major vegetation regions, namely tropical wet-evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, the tropical deciduous, and the thorn forests. Wild life species are similarly of a great variety.
It is home to over 91200 species of animals and 45500 species of plants and has four identified hot spots. India is also home to about 7.6% of mammalian species 12.6% of avian species. 6.2% of reptilian species and 6.0% of flowering plants species.
i. Reserved Forests:
Permanently earmarked for production of timber and grazing is seldom allowed.
ii. Protected forests:
These rights are allowed subject to few minor restrictions.
iii. Unclassed forests:
Consists largely of inaccessible forests or unoccupied wastes.
Forests are also classified according to their density, namely: dense, open and mangrove forests.
India’s biological diversity is reflected in the heterogeneity of its forest covers. It is one of the 12 ‘mega-diversity’ countries of the world. India is also at meeting zone of three major bio-geographic realms, namely the Indo-Malayan (the richest in world) the Eurasian and the Afro tropical.
India also has the two richest bio-diversity areas, one in the north east and other in the Western Ghats. India’s biological diversity which is estimated to be over 45,000 plant species represents about 7% of the world flora and 6.5% of the world fauna respectively.