India is the seventh largest country in the world covering an area of 3 287 000 km2 lying entirely in the northern hemisphere. The mainland extends between latitudes 8°04' and 37°06' North and longitudes 68°07' and 97°25' East and measures 3 200 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2 950 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15 200 km and a coast line of some 6 100 km. The mainland comprises four well defined regions:
the Himalayas occupy the northern part of the country and comprise almost three parallel ranges interspersed with large plateaus and valleys. Some of the highest peaks in the world are found in these ranges. This mountain wall extends over a distance of 2 400 km with a varying depth of 240 to 320 km;
the northern plains, about 2 400 km long and 240 to 320 km broad, are formed by the basins of three main rivers - Indus, Ganga, Brahmaputra - originating in the Himalayas. In this zone variation in relief does not exceed 300 m;
the desert occupies the mid-western part of the country there is no surface water and rainfall is very scanty. The region is almost sterile;
the peninsula plateau is marked off from the northern plains by a mass of mountain and hill ranges varying from 450 to 1 200 m in height. The peninsula is flanked on one side by the Eastern Ghats where the average elevation is 600 m and on the other side by the Western Ghats where it is generally from 900 to 1 200 m rising in places to over 2 450 m. Between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea lies a narrow coastal strip while between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal the coastal strip is breader. The southern part of the plateau is formed by the Nilgiri hills where the Eastern and Western Ghats meet.
The geological regions broadly follow the physical features and may be grouped into three well defined zones. The Himalayan mountain belt and associated mountains are regions of mountain building activity. The northern plains are a great alluvial tract that separates the Himalayas from the peninsula in the south. The alluvium which is about 6 000 m deep conceal beneath it the southern fringes of the Himalayas and the northern fringes of the peninsula. This belongs to the latest chapter of earth's history. The peninsula is a region of relative stability and rare seismic disturbances. Highly metamorphosed rocks of the earliest period occur over more than half of the area and the rest is covered by coal bearing Gondwana formations, later sediments and lava flows belonging to the Deccan trap formation.
The climate of the country can broadly be classified as tropical monsoon type though it varies from the torrid to the arctic in different areas of the country. Four broad climatic regions are distinguished based on rainfall. Practically the whole of Assam and its neighbourhood, the Western Ghats and adjoining coastal strip and parts of the Himalayas are areas of very heavy rainfall with more than 2000 mm annual precipitation. In contrast Rajasthan, Kutch and the high Ladakh plateau of Kashmir receive rainfall of less than 300 mm per year. Between these two extremes are the regions of moderately high rainfall from 1000 to 2000 mm. The former consists of a broad belt in the eastern part of the peninsula merging northward with the northern plains. The latter runs from the Punjab plains across the Vindhya mountains into the western part of the Deccan, extending further east in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (45).
For administrative purposes the country is divided into 22 states and 9 Union territories. Each of these 31 units has independent control on the management of the forests falling within its territory according to local requirements.
The text and the data of this chapter have been compiled by Mr. R.N. Saxena with the assistance of Mr. J.P. Aggarwal (for interpretation of satellite imagery) under the supervision of Mr. C.L. Bhatia, erstwhile, Chief Coordinator, Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources, Dehra-Dun (U.P.), India
1. Present situation
1.1 Natural woody vegetation
1.1.1 Description of the vegetation types
All these ecological variations are well reflected in the natural woody vegetation which ranges from tropical wet evergreen forest to dry alpine scrub. Champion and Seth have classified these forests on the basis of various local factors, particularly the vegetation composition (4). Area distribution of the major groups of this classification in India has been tabulated by Kaul (8). A map showing distribution of these major groups is included in the national Forest Atlas (15). However, for the purpose of this study the major groups have been slightly rearranged by subdivision or regrouping of some types.
Closed broadleaved forests (NHC)
All forests predominantly broadleaved and with a fairly dense canopy are described under this group. Since they occur from tropical to temperate zone with large variations in species composition it is necessary to present them separately.
- Tropical wet evergreen forests: these forests (group 1 as per Champion and Seth's classification) occur in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar islands in the south and in the entire northeastern region including the sub-mountain division of West Bengal (4). These forests are found in the plains, on low hills and gentle slopes of the foothills of the mountains, at elevations ranging from almost sea level up to about 1000–1200 m. Generally forests in the plains and on the lower slopes have been cleared in the past, like along the Western Ghats where this type is absent from the coastal plain but appears at about 500 m and extends up to 1 500 m. The annual rainfall is 2 000 mm upwards, rarely down to 1 500 mm and beyond 3 000 mm. The dry season does not extend beyond 2–4 months with less than 50 mm rainfall. These forests are made of lofty, dense, evergreen trees, 45 m or even higher. Many tree species occur in mixture. Some species of the upper storey are trees with clear bole 30 m long and 5 m or more in girth. Long cylindrical boles usually with thin smooth bark are typical but plank buttresses are also frequently seen. Consociations (gregarious dominants) are rarely met. The canopy is extremely dense and except for scattered giants which project well above the canopy there is no differentiation into definite canopy layers. The undergrowth is often a tangle of cane, creeping bamboo and palm erect. Bamboos may occur locally in southern areas but in the northeastern region they are usually present. Ground vegetation is absent in typical cases, elsewhere a carpet of Strobilanthes or Selaginella and ferns may occur.
Dipterocarps are very characteristic but not an essential constituent. The most widely distributed genera are Dipterocarpus and Hopea. Other typical components are Calophyllum, Mesua, Artocarpus, Syzygium and genera of Meliaceae, Anacardiaceae, Lauraceae, Myrtaceae. In the northeastern region, apart from Dipterocarpus, Shorea assamica is present forming conspicuously big trees. Bamboos are more usually present in the northeastern region. Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Melocanna and Bambusa tulda are common. Except in the Andamans, the more accessible forests have largely been cleared for permanent or temporary cultivation and some of the present forests are secondary. Moreover, proximity to settlements and also past unregulated and selective fellings have generally affected the forests to a varying degree. Fires do not spread in these forests.
- Tropical semi-evergreen forests: these types (group 2 as per Champion and Seth classification) include closed evergreen high forests including a varying proportion of deciduous trees mainly as a broken top storey (4). Buttressed stems are frequent; the main canopy is dense and attains a height of 25–35 m. This type occurs throughout the moister parts of southern tropics although it does not occupy large areas. It exists in the Andamans and the Western Ghats just north of Bombay near Goa and south of Cochin. It has also developed in the moderately heavy to heavy rainfall areas of the northeastern region and Bengal extending down the east coast of the peninsula to Puri in Orissa. The rainfall is between 2 000 mm to 2 500 mm, rarely less but frequently more. The type occurs on low hills and flat plateaus.
In the top canopy Hopea, Syzygium, Cinnamomum, Artocarpus and Magnoliaceae commonly contribute for evergreen species whereas Terminalia species (T. myriocarpa, T. tomentosa, T. citrina), Tetrameles and Stereospermum are common among the deciduous species. Dipterocarps also occur frequently. Shorea robusta only retains its footing with burning and other dessicating factors. Among bamboos, Bambusa arundinacea, B. polymorpha, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Melocanna bambusoides are common. The ground flora is very poor and is largely made of Rubiaceae and Acanthaceae.
- Tropical moist deciduous forests (without sal and teak): these types of forests correspond to 3A, 3B/C2 and 3C/C3 of Champion and Seth's classification (4). They are closed forests of medium to tall height including a number of dominant species intimately mixed and a good many second storey trees, though distinction in various storeys is not very marked. These types of forests occur throughout the Andaman islands, all along the Western Ghats, scattered freely through the low lying hilly tracts and plains of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and northeastern region. The type occurs in the Andamans on hill slopes up to 100 m. In the Andamans trees reach up to 40 m or more in height, with large diameters and high buttresses. Along the Western Ghats the type occupies usually damp valleys, occasionally on high ground with shallow or porous soils and with a rainfall too high for the development of sal and teak forests. Deciduous species are more abundant than evergreen ones. Sal (Shorea robusta) and teak (Tectona grandis) are generally absent although scattered trees may occur, occasionally except in the Andamans. This may be regarded as an indicator of secondary succession.
- The typical species occuring in the Andamans are: Pterocarpus dalbergioides, Terminalia bialata, T. mannii, T. procera, Canarium euphyllum, Salmalia insignis, Chukrasia tabularis, Albizia lebbek etc. in the top canopy, whereas in the lower storey species such as Lannea coromandelica, Dillenia pentagyna, Diospyros marmorata are common. Along the Western Ghats the common species are Tetrameles nudiflora, Stereospermum personatum, Syzygium cumini, Bombax ceiba, Dalbergia latifolia, Terminalia bellerica, Grewia, Madhuca etc.
- Tropical moist teak forests: this type corresponds to the south Indian moist deciduous forests, 3B/C1 of Champion and Seth's classification (4). They are generally closed high forests, 30–35 m or more in height, the dominant species being mostly deciduous. Although intimate mixture of species is a rule, relatively pure associations in the upper canopy are fairly frequent. Bamboo undergrowth is characteristic, though locally absent in which case evergreen species are better developed. The main feature of this type of forests is a leafless period in the dry season. It occurs throughout India with medium rainfall and along the eastern side of the Western Ghats in Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala. The mean temperature of the year varies from 24 to 27°C and the maximum temperature from 43°C in the central peninsula to 35°C on the coast. Rainfall varies but it may be said that the climax corresponds to 1 500–2 000 mm of precipitation and a dry season of 4–5 months. The greater part of this forest type is on hilly ground but this is mainly due to the destruction of the forest on the flatter culturable tracts. In some higher rainfall areas this type exists as a preclimax due to frequent fires. Teak is the most characteristic species independently of its economic importance and is of excellent development wherever the soil permits. In the top canopy it is generally associated with Terminalia, Pterocarpus, Lagerstroemia species. Adina is often present as well as Xylia, Schleichera and Careya, mainly in the second storey. The typical bamboo is Bambusa arundinacea. Dendrocalamus strictus appears only at the dry end. As already noted, however, bamboos are not invariably present. The type is very uniform throughout its range, and the local variants appear to differ mainly owing to the different flora from which they are derived. The primary sere on new riverain soils passes through a drier deciduous phase and may lead to a semi-evergreen post-climax of considerable stability.
- Tropical moist sal forests: this type corresponds to the north Indian tropical moist deciduous forests, 3C/C1 and 3C/C2 of Champion and Seth's classification (4). The sal forests have a facies of their own which is due to the undisputed predominance of one gregarious species which is mostly sal (Shorea robusta). This is so due to its resistance to fire, coppicing power and adaptability to various conditions of soil and site. This species is favoured in forest management. The sal typically forms a high forest in which it constitutes 60–90 percent of the top canopy which is 25–40 m high. The associated species are similar to that of moist teak forests. An important feature of sal is its semi-evergreen habit with a deciduous period of 5–15 days at the beginning of the hot period. The type occurs throughout northern India except in the dry north-west and much of the overwet north-east. It is extensively found on the great plains of the north and over the peninsula plateaus and low hills to the south down to northern borders of Andhra Pradesh. The type is therefore important in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and Assam and constitutes in fact their most important forests. The mean annual temperature typically lies between 21 and 26°C. The January mean varies from 13 to 21°C. Whilst the winter may be definitely cold, frost is normally absent or unimportant. The typical rainfall is around 1 300 mm to 1 500 mm.
- Dry tropical teak forests: in this class are grouped the mixed dry deciduous forests with teak usually forming the major proportion of the crop present, on shallow porous or stiff clayey soils and corresponding to 5A/C1b of Champion and Seth's classification (4). When they are not considerably affected by human activities, as it happens often, their canopy is fairly complete and the trees are usually fairly large. The quality of the crop is generally poor and in most cases teak trees do not occur beyond pole stage. The majority of the tree species coppice freely when felled. It is met widely in south India extending a few degrees north of the tropic. Rainfall varies from 900 to 1 300 mm. The annual mean maximum temperature lies between 29 and 35°C and the annual mean minimum between 18 and 23°C. The highest summer temperature may be as high as 48°C. The greater part of these forests are on undulating ground of hills of low or medium height. In central India much of the tracts occupied is on the plateaus at elevations between 450 to 600 m. Undergrowth is high and patchy. The forests suffer seriously from biotic interferences. Fires are frequent and grazing is heavy. Characteristic species other than teak are Anogeissus latifolia, Diospyros tomentosa, Hardwickia binnata and other common deciduous trees.
- Dry tropical sal forests: this type corresponds to 5B/C1 of Champion and Seth's classification (4). Sal of low quality and height predominates but is more mixed with other species than in the moist sal forest. The forest is rarely higher than 18 m and the canopy is irregular. Badly shaped boles and hollow stems are prevalent. The type occurs locally in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and extensively in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. The rainfall may be 900–1000 mm and reach even 1 500 mm. There are large seasonal changes in temperature. The soil may be alluvial or sandy, overlying sandstones or conglomerates as in Siwaliks, or old red soil as on the hills south of river Ganga. It is found in areas of varying extent such as south facing hillsides, flat hilltop, eroded ground and high intensively drained gravel terraces. Intensive drainage and a long dry season are characteristic. Anogeissus latifolia and Buchanania lansan are common associates. Bamboo may or may not occur. Sal remains leafless for several weeks.
- Beach and dune forests: they can be found all along the coast (which lies completely within the tropical zone) wherever a fair width of sandy beach occurs, and on sandy bars on the sea face of the river deltas. The temperature is moderated by the proximity to the sea. Rainfall varies with the site from 760 mm to over 5 000 mm. The most characteristic species is Casuarina equisetifolia, a tall evergreen tree with a light foliage replaced by Manikara littoralis in the Andamans. The type corresponds to 4A of Champion and Seth's classification (4).
- Mangrove and swamp forests: they are distinguishable between tidal swamp forests and tropical fresh water swamp forests corresponding to types 4B and 4C respectively of Champion and Seth's classification (4). The finest tidal swamp forest is found on ground which is flooded at every high tide with only moderately brackish water and has the form of an evergreen closed high forest 30 m or more in height of Heritiera or less commonly Bruguiera. There may be an underwood of same species or of others such as Ceriops, this two-storeyed forest type being of common occurrence owing to the prevalence of trees whose maximum height is only 5–10 m mixed with others capable of further development. At higher levels flooded only at spring tides there is more and more varied growth of Pandanus, canes, ferns etc., and if it is very brackish, many palms of Phoenix paludosa. Nearer the sea, with definitely salt water, the Heritiera is replaced by the Rhizophoraceas. The flora is a poor one and besides the genera of Rhisophoraceae, which are almost confined to this type, there are a few genera, each usually with several species particularly adapted to the unusual conditions, such as Heritiera, Carapa, Sonneratia, Avicennia, Excoecaria, Cerbera, Cynometra. Shrubs as opposed to small trees are few, Acanthus being the most common. Palms are also limited to a few species notably Phoenix paludosa and Nipa frutioans. The type occurs in the delta of Ganga and Brahamaputra west of Raimangal branch. There are considerable areas in the estuaries of short rivers of east coast and very little on the west coast. There are remnants at the estuaries of Mahanadi, Krishna and Godavari rivers.
- Shola forests: these closed evergreen forests with mostly short boled stems and branchy crowns occur on the higher hills or Tamilnadu and Kerala, on Nilgiri, Anamalai, Palni and Tirunelveli hills about 1 500 m upwards. Their height is relatively low, rarely exceeding 6 m. The corresponding climate is perhaps the most equable experienced in India and is conditioned by the montane situation well within the tropics. The rainfall varies from 1 500 mm up to 6 250 mm or even more. The home of this type is on the rolling down of higher plateaus and mostly occupy the sheltered folds in the hills. Due to annual fires and other biotic interferences, they are gradually shrinking. The flora is varied including components of tropical and temperate origin. Ternstroemiaceae are well represented and Sysygium, Meliosma, Eurya, Simplocos and Lauraceae are common. Michelia, Ilex and Euonymus also are represented. Rhododendron nilagiricum is as common as in the Himalayas. The type has been described by Champion and Seth under 11A of their classification (4).
- Hill broadleaved forests: throughout the temperate zone in the Himalayas, except in Kashmir broadleaved species occur either in mixture with coniferous species (but seldom constituting high proportion) or in form of broadleaved forests of Quercus spp. alone or mixed with other broadleaved species. There are different species of Quercus according to altitude and longitude. In the eastern parts of the Himalayas Quercus lamellosa and Q. lineata are found between 2 100 and 2 500 m and Q. pachyphylla occupy higher locations. In the western Himalaya the three typical oaks are Q. incana, Q. dilatata and Q. semecarpifolia. They are also referred as low level, middle level and high level oaks in the same sequence occurring from 1 800 m to 3 300 m. The oak forests are generally composed of a single species in the top canopy. They are usually of low height (10–20 m) with widely branching crowns and poor boles but may be much better developed on good soils and sheltered sites free from lopping. Other broadleaved species mixed with oaks in the eastern Himalayas are chestnut, Michelia and Magnolia. The height of the trees also increases from west to east.
This type has been severely affected by biotic interference, particularly in the lower regions. The trees are heavily lopped for fuel and fodder in the western Himalayas whereas in the eastern parts they have suffered from shifting cultivation and fires which has resulted in their replacement by pure stands of bamboo. The type corresponds to Champion and Seth's 8B/C1, 11B/C1, 11B/C2, 12/C1b, 12/C2a (4).
Along the streams and shallow moist depressions and hollows between 1 800 and 2 750 m deciduous forests 20–30 m high are also found often in the form of strips. This corresponds to 12/C1e of Champion and Seth's classification. This particular type has been extensively cleared for cultivation and cattle rearing and has commonly suffered severely from proximity to settlements with the associated grazing, lopping and felling. The common species are Aesculus indica, Acer spp., Ulmus wallichiana, Betula, Juglans regia, Fraxinus micrantha, Corylus colurna, Cornus macrophylla.
Open broadleaved forests (NHc/NHO)
Forest with trees of various species separated by small to medium sized shrubs and grasses have been grouped under this heading. Typical savanna forests usually do not occur in this country as climax forests. However, the dry forests under harsh climatic and edaphic environmental conditions and excessive biotic interference has resulted in degradation of these forests which failed to recover. Thus all such forests present at the moment can be considered as various degradation stages of climax forests (5A/C1a, 5A/C2, 5A/C3, 5B/C2, 7/C1, 8A etc., of Champion and Seth's classification). These types are subject to heavy grazing, lopping and fires. As a result, whatever tree species are present, the number of stems is decreasing in the absence of regeneration. Moreover, due to heavy local demand, the trees present are felled reducing further their number. Xerophytic conditions develop due to the open canopy and various thorny shrubs and grasses come up. These types are not commercially important but help filling local needs of fuel and fodder to a limited extent. In some parts of the country these forests are being converted into better stands through clearfelling and planting. They occur extensively throughout India, except in the areas with moderately heavy to heavy rainfall. Among the scattered trees teak, sal, Terminalia, Anogeissus, Boswelia are common. In Andhra Pradesh Pterocarpus santalinus is frequent. At places these species may be present in the form of fairly dense patches of forest. Even the dry evergreen forests along Karnataka coast have suffered badly and provide an appearance of fairly dense woodland, 9–12 m high; forests with a complete canopy may occur locally. Evergreen forests described sometimes as ‘stunted rain forests’ have also been subjected to large scale degradation. The only representative left of climax forests of this type occurs in the Silent Valley of Palghat division of Kerala but is threatened by a hydroelectric project. The open forests occupy varied positions on the hill slopes and flat hill tops in various locations and also in the northern plain.
Bamboo forests (NHB)
There are many species of bamboo which occur throughout the tropical some of the country. Some of the species form clumps, e.g. Dendrocalamus, while others occur singly, e.g. muli bamboo (Melocanna). Where the bamboo is not predominant it has been grouped with other broadleaved forest types. However siseable areas of bamboo occur in pure stands or with scattered broadleaved trees and have been separated as bamboo forests. They have been described by Champion and Seth under general edaphic and seral types of tropical wet evergreen, tropical semi-evergreen, tropical moist deciduous and tropical dry deciduous forests (4).
- The “wet bamboo brakes” corresponding to 1/E2 and 2/E2 of Champion and Seth's types, is distributed throughout evergreen forests and semi-evergreen of south India and the Andamans. Bamboo species are Oxytenanthera and Bambusa schisostechyoides which occur almost in pure form mainly along streams or on badly drained soil. The brakes are often very dense though they tend to be of smaller size. The bamboo grows in clumps.
- The “moist bamboo brakes” corresponding to Champion and Seth's type 2/E3 occur throughout semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, along streams, in tropical India and often extend some distance up the slopes in sheltered localities. Good examples exist in Kanara in Karnataka and Nilambur in Kerala. The thorny bamboo, Bambusa arundinacea, when fully grown may be as high as 20 m. Other species are Dendrocalamus hamiltonii in eastern Himalaya and northern Bengal, Oxytenanthera nigrociliata in the Andamans, Melocanna bambusoides in Cachar area of Assam and Bambusa tulda in northern Cachar.
- The other important type is “dry bamboo brakes”, corresponding to 5/N9 of Champion and Seth's type, and occurs throughout dry deciduous forests of India. Some good examples are Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Lansdowns (Uttar Pradesh), Palamau (Bihar), Banswara (Rajasthan), Vijara (Gujrat), Salem (Tamilnadu) and most of the forest divisions of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The main species is Dendrocalamus strictus which grows almost pure, mixed with some broadleaved species such as teak, salai (Boswellia serrata) in southern India and Anogeissus latifolia and Lannea coromandelica in northern India.
Coniferous forests (NS)
The coniferous forests in India are confined entirely to the Himalayan region and the parallel range of Siwalik and do not constitute more than 6% of the total forest area (14). The species met within these forests are relatively few but occur almost gregariously forming dense high forests. Mixture of different coniferous species particularly Cedrus, Pinus wallichiana and Abies are also quite common. A low percentage of broadleaved species occurs frequently. Coniferous species are Pinus rexburghii (Western Himalaya) and Pinus insularis (eastern Himalaya) in the lower zone between 1 000 and 1 800 m extending down to 600 m on ridges and up to 2 300 m on southern aspect. Higher up in the western part are found Cedrus deodara, Pinus wallichiana, Abies pindrow and Picea smithiana whereas in the northeastern region, Abies densa and Abies delavayi are common. The other conifers commonly met are Cupressus, Taxus and Tsuga. In the western region Abies spectabilis is found even beyond 3 000 m. In the inner Himalayan ranges where annual precipitation is less than 1 000 mm Pinus gerardiana is found occasionally with Cedrus deodara (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). Neoza pine (P. gerardiana) forests also occur in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh though their extent is relatively low. Each of these coniferous species occupy specific position depending upon altitude, aspect, exposure and history. Though relatively small in extent these forests play a very important role not only from the commercial angle but also for their climatic and environmental influences. Most of the important rivers of northern India originate in the Himalayas and these forests provide a regulatory and cleaning effect on water flow. They also act for moisture and soil conservation and bear the impact of heavy monsoon rainfall. They are commercially important though the economics of exploitation suffer from the inaccessibility and difficult terrain as they invariably occur on the slopes of the high mountains. Fires are common in the lower parts of Pinus roxburghii and Pinus insularis forests but these species are generally resistant to fire and survive well under frequent fires. The other conifers occupy slightly cooler and moister areas due to altitude and proximity to snow covered hills, where fires are not very frequent; however when they occur they are devastating. Biotic interference is serious in lower zones but higher up it gradually declines, except for grazing and occasional lopping. Most of these forests, however, have retained their original character.
Scrub formations (n)
The typical scrub formations in India are represented under groups 6, 10, 15 and 16 of Champion and Seth's classification (4). Besides these typical formations, there are various degradation stages of climax high forests, resulting from excessive biotic interference. Such formations are limited in extent and occur only on areas with difficult climatic and edaphic conditions. Scrub formations can be classified into three categories.
- Tropical scrub: the type is extensively distributed throughout the dry peninsular tract to the lee of the Western Ghats from south to north. It is important in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. The type also occupies fairly large tracts over the semi-arid regions of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and a major portion of semi-arid and arid regions of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and north Gujrat including Saurashtra and Kutch. The temperature range in this zone is almost the same as for tropical dry deciduous forests but rainfall is very scanty. Xerophytic conditions prevail due to very little rain and high temperature resulting in open low forest with thorny species, mainly Acacia. The trees usually have short boles and low branching crowns. Different species of Acacia predominate but there is usually a mixture of species (though relatively few in number), consociations being the exception rather than a rule. Fleshy Euphorbia are found in extensive consociations only in Rajasthan and Gujrat. The dominants vary from 3 to 10 m in height and tend to gather in clumps leaving bare ground in between. Some genera notably Prosopis and Capparis regenerate by root suckers.
- Alpine scrub: the type forms a low, almost evergreen forest of Rhododendron mixed with some birch and other deciduous species. Trunks are short and branchy, rarely large sized. The type is distributed through the Himalayas and on the highest hills near the Burma border, limited in the west to sheltered sites usually on northern and western aspects becoming more general westwards. The main characteristic is an ample snowfall, the snow lying till the air day temperature is quite warm. A thick layer of black humus is present and the soil is generally wet. Besides Rhododendron and birch scrub, Juniperus, Myricaria and Hippophaë scrub formations also occur in some areas but are limited to inner ranges of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In the eastern Himalayas Juniperus recurva is met between 3 000 and 4 600 m and its variety squamata on higher reaches.
1.1.2 Present situation of the woody vegetation
No comprehensive study of the forest resources or forest land for the entire country has ever been done. Each state government, however, is carrying out its own studies and supplies returns to the Central Forestry Commission (Government of India) for consolidation of a national picture. The forests under the control of Forest Departments of state governments are properly surveyed and managed scientifically. Proper statistics on forests under control of other Departments such as Irrigation, Public Works, Revenue etc., are not available.
Three major sources of information have been used to derive area statistics by categories of woody vegetation.
For the northeastern region (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalya, Misoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura) and Orissa state, a special study was conducted for this project by interpretation of Landsat satellite imagery available for the period 1975–78 supplemented by collection of ground truth data. The details of this study are given in annex 1 and the findings are incorporated in the following table.
The second and the most important source is the forest statistics published by the state Forest Departments. Most of the states have surveyed the forest area and prepared vegetation maps through intensive ocular estimation on large scales (1:15 000 to 1:50 000). These maps, however, have been prepared at different points of time. For the purposes of this study the corresponding area information has been first updated to 1977 on the basis of information available with the state governments.
The Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources, an organisation of Government of India, has carried out forest surveys in different industrial catchments since 1965. The gaps in information available from the first two sources were filled up from the published reports of this organisation.
For those forests not under the control of Forest Departments or outside the northeastern region and Orissa, or those not covered by Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources studies, especially in Punjab, Karnataka and Tamilnadu states, area estimation is based on extrapolation. However the extent of such areas is small.
These area figures have been further adjusted on the basis of the information provided by the crop description of different working/management plans, Champion and Seth's book (4), the national Forest Atlas (15) and reports by Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources.
Finally the areas have been updated to year 1980 on the basis of annual deforestation rates (see section 2.1.1). The final results are summarised in the following table.
Areas of natural woody vegetation estimated at end 1980
(in thousand ha)
The following explanations are necessary for the interpretation of the above tables:
|●||Closed broadleaved forests (NHC)||they include the six following categories:|
|NHT||sub-tropical and temperate broadleaved forests described under hill broadleaved forests in section 1.1.1;|
|NHD||tropical deciduous includes all the tropical broadleaved forests described under para 1.1.1 except the categories mentioned below;|
|NHG||includes tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests corresponding to groups 1 and 2;|
|Sal||forests described as ‘tropical moist deciduous’ and ‘tropical dry deciduous’ sal forests have been grouped together;|
|Teak||same as for “Sal” but with teak as main species;|
|Mangrove||same as described under section 1.1.1;|
|●||Bamboo and coniferous||include the same types as indicated in section 1.1.1;|
|●||NHCf1m, NHB1m and NSf1m||correspond to broadleaved, bamboo and coniferous forests under proper management for exploitation of timber fuelwood;|
|●||u||represents unmanaged forests;|
|●||NHCf1uv, NHBf1uv and NSf1uv||correspond to virgin productive forests. These forests are not under management at present and there is little population pressure. Timber is removed only by villagers and nomads and this does not appreciably affect the facies of these forests;|
|●||NHCf1uc, NHBf1uc and NSf1uc||correspond to forests that are not managed properly and which due to heavy human pressure have gradually transformed in logged-over forests;|
|●||NHCf2i, NHBf2i and NSf2i||are forests unproductive only for physical reasons. The unproductive forests covered by management plans where no exploitation has been prescribed by allotting them to protection or unregulated working circles are excluded from this category though they may be unproductive for physical reasons. Such forests have been classified as unproductive for legal reasons (see next paragraph);|
|●||NHCf2r, NHBf2r and NSf2r||are forests which are unproductive for legal reasons (i.e. no exploitation of timber is prescribed either by allotting them to ‘protection’ and ‘unregulated’ working circles of management plan, or for wildlife preservation or for bioaesthetic considerations). When forests are unproductive for physical as well as legal reasons, the latter criterion has been considered as dominating;|
|●||NHCa, NHBa and NSa||correspond to secondary woody vegetation types resulting from shifting cultivation;|
|●||NHc/NHO||open broadleaved forests are broadleaved forest areas formed by scattered tree growth interspersed with grass and shrubby growth;|
|●||nH||are the scrub formations. No distinction is made between closed and open formations.|
Some remarks are also necessary concerning the reliability of the figures mentioned in this table and the methodology. The classes used in this study are not usual in the country and as a result, the corresponding area figures had to be derived. The area distribution in different states by forest types has been obtained from the forest type map of India superimposed on geographical map of India showing boundaries of states and union territories. The working circles constituted in the management plans of forest divisions1 have been assimilated to one category. For example ‘Sal shelterwood working circle’ corresponds to the NHCf1m category or ‘Fir selection W.C.’ to NSf1m. In such cases the total area of the working circle is allotted to one category ignoring small blanks occuring in the forests.
In cases where figures from management plans are not available the forest type area is distributed according to categories using the same proportions as those for the whole state.
Unmanaged virgin forests (N.fluv) are essentially those forests which are not covered by management and are not very much interfered because of their inaccessibility. Their growing stock is much higher but this does not mean necessarily that they are overstocked forests.
For the states of the northeastern region viz. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland, and for Orissa, the interpretation of Landsat imagery could classify the forests in four categories:
These categories could not be subdivided in the categories used in this study. The closed and open forests classified above may be managed or unmanaged, but, considering the local situation, the closed forests have been treated as unmanaged virgin forests and degraded forests have been classified as ‘open’ forests. Both categories of forests affected by shifting cultivation have been grouped under N.a and also in the scrub categories (n). The distribution of forest areas according to the categories used in this study has been done on the basis of proportion of the forest area and total forest area of the state.
Until 1947, India in its present form did not exist. Prior to this, present Pakistan and Bangladesh were included in what may be called as British India under the British rule. The country was honeycombed by a large number of princely states. Forests were either under the control and ownership of British government, or lying within the territories of princely states and owned by the state rulers, or under the ownership of private individuals.
In 1947 when the power was transferred by the British to the Indian the country was divided into present India and Pakistan (Pakistan having been divided in 1971 into present Pakistan and Bangladesh). All the princely states of the British India period were amalgamated to constitute the present ‘Union of India’. Most of the forests became public property and gradually private ownership of the forest was abolished by legislation such as “Kerala Private Forests (vesting and assignment) Act 1971” in Kerala and similar acts in other states.
India is a federal country consisting of 22 states and 9 centrally administered Union territories. Each of the states has its own government. The Union territories, though centrally administered, have separate administration of their own and for the purpose of this study can be considered equivalent to the state.
Most of the forest land (97.36%) in the country is under public ownership. These are controlled and managed by various Departments of the state governments. The large majority (85.13%) are under the control of Forest Departments of state governments and the rest with other Departments such as Irrigation, Public works, Revenue etc. Most of these latter are located in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.
The other types of ownership are: ownership by corporate bodies, such as local public bodies (municipality, cantonment) and other village bodies (village community), corporations and ownership by private individuals.
Most of corporate body forests are located in Uttar Pradesh and Meghalya and private forests in Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh. The area figures are these reported by state governments. Area figures of “forest land” (irrespective of vegetation) for different states are not given but a summary is provided in the following table.
Areas of “forest land” 1 by ownership category
(in thousand ha)
|Ownership category||Area||Percent of total forest area||Percent of total geographical area|
|Forest land under public ownership||(73780)||(97.36)||(22.44)|
|through forest departments||64513||85.13||19.62|
|through other departments||9267||12.23||2.82|
|Forest land under other ownership||(2001)||(2.64)||(0.61)|
1 whether covered by forest or not
Legal status and management
Only the forests publicly owned through the Forest Departments have a well defined legal status. Though terminology varies in different states three main legal classes are recognised.
- Reserve forests: these are forests most important for conservation or scientific management for various forest utilities and which have been properly demarcated and notified under provisions of the Indian Forest Act or other laws in force. These forests benefit from the highest degree of state control and exercise of its proprietary rights. In these forests local villagers do not have generally any rights. Every act by outsiders is prohibited except when specifically permitted by proper notification.
- Protected forests: these are similar to reserve forests but the government exercised a lower degree of control and proprietary rights. They may be properly demarcated or not but are constituted under the authority of the Indian Forest Act or other laws in force. Local villagers can exercise some rights unless otherwise specifically prohibited by proper notification.
- Unclassed forests: they are all the other publicly owned forests and may be demarcated or not. The state government exercises the lowest degree of its rights in such forests. The legal status is not well defined. Forests recently transfered from other Departments and these acquired by Forest Departments from corporate bodies and private individuals under suitable legislation are generally termed as ‘vested forests’ and also included in this category. Similarly all other forests which have no well defined legal status are also included as unclassed forests. There is a gradual process of constituting reserve and protected forests from unclassed forests.
- The present (end 1980) distribution of “forest land” (whether covered with forest or not) is as follows:
Within the framework of the above classification certain areas have been earmarked for specific preservation of wildlife, flora and natural ecosystems. This has been done through creation of national parks (central legislation) and wildlife sanctuaries (state legislation). Besides forests have also been earmarked under Tiger project and in the core area of these forests forestry activities are not carried out.
At present there are 16 national parks covering an area of 681 000 ha, 175 wildlife sanctuaries covering 13 349 000 ha, and 11 areas declared as project areas under Tiger project. These are generally covered with forests.
Shifting cultivation commonly called “jhum” has its own status in the states of the northeastern India i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Megalhya, Mizoram and Tripura. As per provisions of the “Jhum Land Regulations” which were promulgated in 1947–48, “everything except Jhum lands is technically unclassified state forests, which, within the meaning of Assam Land Regulation is land at the disposal of Government” (26). In these states the tribal population goes on extending the agriculture by clearing of forests year after year and then returns to the same land after a cycle which varies from 6 to 10 years. The extent of forest area involved in shifting cultivation in these states has been determined by interpretation of Landsat (satellite) imagery and findings appear in annex 1. In this region the tribal population is primarily depending on shifting cultivation. Shifting cultivation is also practised in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh but the dependence on shifting cultivation is only partial. In Orissa 8 civil districts out of 22 have shifting cultivation. For Orissa a study by Landsat imagery has been conducted and findings appear also in annex 1. For the state of Andhra Pradesh no such study has been conducted but there has been separate estimates by Gupta (19) and Mukherjee (20). The average of the figures provided by these two studies has been used for Andhra Pradesh. On this basis the extent of shifting cultivation in India is summarised in the following table:
|State||Forest area affected by shifting cultivation|
(in thousand ha)
Besides the above unauthorised shifting cultivation is also practised in the states of Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Sikkim but the population is only marginally dependent on shifting cultivation and the extent is not significant. No estimates for the area are available.
A sizeable area under control of the Forest Departments is covered by working/management plans or working schemes. The areas covered by management are increasing: in 1965/66 it corresponded to 55.6% of the total forest area and in 1972/73 this percentage amounted to 67.7% (14).
In general, forest area outside the control of Forest Departments and forests not publicly owned are not scientifically managed. Among the forests under control of Forest Departments the reserve forests are almost entirely covered by management and next come the protected forests. Unclassed forests receive the lowest priority. In some states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, all forests are covered by regular management.
The primary object of forest management is to maintain the forests in such condition that the various goods and services (tangible and intangible) provided by the forests may be utilised for the maximum benefit of people in a sustained way. The management plan prescribes different treatments to different crops by constituting working circles depending upon the crop structure and local factors. The management can be divided into the following classes:
for wood production: Pinus and Cedrus forests are generally worked under uniform or irregular shelterwood system whereas Picea and Abies are managed under selection system. Broadleaved forests are worked under uniform or irregular shelterwood system. Clearfelling with artificial regeneration within uniform system is also practised. The wet evergreen forests particularly of the Andamans are managed under canopy lifting shelterwood system. Bamboos are worked under selection system with a cutting cycle of 4 to 6 years;
for fuel, fodder and grazing: separate working cirches are constituted in addition to those mentioned above primarily for supply of fuel and fedder. The forests constituted in these working circles are mainly uneconomic for timber production and are worked under selective felling or clearfelling with artificial planting or coppicing;
for environmental conservation: forests having primary function of soil and moisture conservation and those degraded forests which are required to remain as such is provide soil cover are grouped into protection or unregulated working circles of the management plan where no production is envisaged;
for wildlife and aesthetics: forests which are to be conserved either as habitat for wildlife or preservation of natural vegetation for the sake of studies or aesthetic reason are constituted into national parks, sanctuaries etc., where production is restricted by legislation;
for afforestation: such forest lands which are either devoid of woody vegetation or bear shrubby and uneconomic vegetation are afforested by constituting afforestation or plantation working circles.
Logging in India uses traditional tools or modern equipment depending on the locality. Extraction from forest to roadside can be by loads on human head, by bullock carts, elephants or by tractors, lorries and ropeways. Floating along rivers exists also, particularly in the Himalayas. Lorries and railways are used, for transportation from roadside to the depots and other destinations.
In most areas till recently, forests were leased out to contractors and private companies for logging on the basis of stumpage royalty commonly termed as open auction. Lately however, public undertakings, named Forest Corporations, have been established (one in each state) to take over logging operations. So far 17 such corporations are working which have replaced the private contractors. In most of the states the Forest Corporations are at present staffed by foresters on deputation from their Forest Department.
Recorded production figures for years 1974/75 and 1975/76 are given hereunder (38).
All India production of wood (in thousand m3 of roundwood equivalent)
|Sawlogs, veneer logs and logs for sleepers||767||3030||3797||785||3033||3818|
|Poles, pilings, posts pitprops and pulp-wood||1335||1335||1320||1320|
There are variable sources of fuelwood in the country. Villagers living in the vicinity of the forests have been granted concessions or rights depending upon the legal status of forests to remove fallen material from the forests for their domestic requirements. In the garb of this concession quite a substantial quantity is also removed unauthorisedly by way of lopping and cutting of small trees. According to various estimates the recorded fuelwood removals from the forests constitute only 7–10% of the total fuelwood consumed. Recorded extraction of fuelwood for the years 1974/75 and 1975/76 are given hereunder (38).
Recorded extraction of fuelwood from forests (including wood for charcoal)
(in thousand m3)
Other forest products
Besides wood for industry and constructions and fuelwood, there are large numbers of other forest products commonly termed as minor forest produce. Like for fuelwood, the concessionists and rightholders also remove these products for their domestic use. The balance is removed either through royalty contractors or through departmental agencies. The overall figures of some important minor forest products are quoted hereunder for 1972 (18) in the absence of reliable estimates over the whole country for later years.
|Type of product and local name||Latin name||Quantity|
(in thousand tons)
|Bamboo culms||Bamboo||Dendrocalamus strictus and other species||3231.8|
|Leaves||Tendu patta||Diospyros melanoxylon leaves||312.3|
|Gum||Gum karaya||Sterculia urens||8.6|
|Oleoresin and resin||Resin||Pinus roxburghii and other species||47.7|
|Oil seeds||Sal seed||Shorea robusta seeds||705.0|
|Mahua seed||Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia seeds||110.8|
|Tannins and medicinal uses||Myrobolans||Terminalia chebula, T. belerica, Mmblica officinalis||115.1|
|Distillation products||Katha and Cutch||Acacia catechu||3.8|
|Essential oils||Palmarosa||Cymbosogon martini (grass)||55.0|
|Blue gum||Eucalyptus citriodora and E. globulus||140.0|
|Lemon grass||Cymbopogon flexuosus (grass)||800.0|
1 There are more than 500 divisions in the country
1.1.3 Present situation of the growing stock
The country is not covered at present by a national forest inventory and the total growing stock of the country can only be estimated. The ‘Task Force Report on Forest Resource Surveys’ quotes four different estimates of the total growing stock of the country, three from various sources and fourth of its own, which are summarised as under (10):
|Sources||Total growing stock|
|“Hundred years of Indian Forestry” (1961)||1126|
|“Indian Forest Statistics” (1959–60)||2510|
|“Progress Report: Forestry” (1960–65)||2606|
|Task Force Report on Forest Resources Survey (1972)||1733|
From the above figures it can be seen that there is wide variation among these figures which may derive partly from the different concepts of volume used. New estimates have been made as explained hereunder.
Forest areas under exploitation (NHCf1m, NSf1m and NNBf1m) are covered by intensive inventories. Each inventory is made for a working circle of a forest division and its results apply only to a very small area. There are more than two thousand such inventories. The classifications, concepts and specifications of these inventories vary also widely. They cannot therefore be used to provide a national picture. The inventories carried out by Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources (PISFR) have the same concepts and specifications. They are widely distributed throughout the country and encompass all the forest types present in a given area.
Weighted means per ha for growing stock from these inventories for each forest type are more reliable than the estimates quoted above and have therefore been used in this study.
Each forest type occurs in many localities with varying ecological conditions, growth rates, biotic interference, systems of management and other factors and any attempt to average out the growing stock can only be approximative.
Temperate and sub-tropical forests: in Chenab valley the volume has been estimated at 154 m3/ha (21), in Bhagirathi-Phillangana at 203 m3/ha (22) and in Rajgarh-Mahan (40) at 93 and 97 m3/ha. In the state of Manipur (northeastern region), volumes of 91 m3/ha and 123 m3/ha have been reported (25).
These findings are summarised in the following table:
(in thousand ha)
(in million m3)
The weighted average is approximately 127 m3/ha. The above refers to the total gross volume of the boles above 10 cm DBH, called VOB in this study.
Tropical deciduous forests: there are wide variations in the stocking: 26 m3/ha in Rajasthan (50), 62 m3/ha in Gujrat (47), 86 m3/ha in Himachal Pradesh (40), 35 m3/ha in Bihar (33), 65 m3/ha in Narayanpur, Madhya Pradesh (31). A weighted average has been estimated at 52 m3/ha.
The growing stock for other forest types in different categories has also been worked out in a similar manner on the basis of the inventory reports of Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources. The corresponding figures appear in the following table. Reliable growing stock figures for mangrove forests were not available and VOB has been estimated at 30 m3/ha on the basis of experience.
The figures of Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources give in fact the growing stock irrespective of utility classes and represent average figures. To be conservative in estimation and also to account for a sampling error of 10 to 15%, these figures have been adopted for “fluv” and “flm” categories. For “fluc” and “f2” these figures have been reduced to 40% and 60% on the basis of observations and experience.
Annual allowable cut (AAC) for a particular species depends on the object of management and silviculture system under which the forests are worked. These factors vary from place to place in the country. When we take into consideration a forest type the situation gets further complicated. Therefore there is no common factor available to calculate the AAC for a forest type in the region and, for this study, an average rotation for the predominant species, adopted in most of the management plans has been taken for calculation of AAC assuming that the forests are worked under ‘uniform system’. The unmanaged virgin forests (NHCf1uv/NSf1uv) are generally not exploited for commercial purposes. Therefore VAC, that is volume actually commercialised has no relevance. However if they are commercially exploited in the absense of management regulations, about 50% of volume of known commercial utility (70% of total volume - VCS) would actually be taken out of the forests though such a situation is not very likely because with the improvement of accessibility they will be covered by management.
The growing stock figures for bamboo have also been taken from the reports of Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources and calculations have been made in a manner similar to timber.
Growing stock estimated at the end of 1980
(totals in million m3)
Bamboo growing stock at end 1980 (pure bamboo stands only)
(total weights in million airdry tonnes)
Plantation activity in India is almost a century old. Various trials were carried out in the early times with exotic as well as indigenous species. Several species of Eucalyptus were tried in Nilgiri Hills in 1910 and none was found suitable with the exception of Bluegum (E. globulus). Wattles (Acacia) species were also introduced in Nilgiri Hills in this period. Afforestation of sand dunes started in Puri division of Orissa in 1916. Teak (Tectona grandis) was introduced in Nilambur in the later part of the 19th century. Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), khair (Acacia catechu) and Tamarix were planted in the dry tracts of Punjab and Sind under irrigated plantations in the early part of this century. Plantation of Mesua under teak was introduced in Lalsi (Assam) in 1874–75. Many other examples from all over the country could be quoted. However such afforestation works did not cover extensive areas and were almost confined to north Bengal and Assam in the east, to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the north and to Nilgiri Hills and Kerala in the south. A boost in the afforestation activity occurred with the introduction of the taungya system whereby agricultural crops are raised in between planted trees for a period of 2 to 6 years till the crown cover does not allow the agricultural crop to grow any longer. The cleared land is allotted to landless families who carry out the necessary work for plantation along with their agricultural activity. The system was first introduced for teak plantation in Burma in 1862 (then part of British India). Later the system was adopted in Bengal for sal plantation in 1911 and for teak in 1912. In 1923 it was adopted for sal plantation at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and later also spread to other parts with sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo) and khair (Acacia catechu) on canal banks. The system later became popular through-out the country under the generic term of agri-silviculture. However, afforestation till 1950 was not a regular and extensive activity and remained confined to the planting of specific sites such as denuded hills (e.g. Chamundi), dry tracts, canal banks and avenue plantations. This is confirmed by the fact that, in 1950, after almost half a century of afforestation, the extent of plantation in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh was only 1230 and 30130 ha respectively.
The second half of the century saw a radical change. In 1947 the country became an independent nation and planned economic development started in 1951 with the introduction of the first five-year plan which included afforestation for soil conservation in the catchments of the River Valley Projects. A National Forest Policy was declared envisaging efforts to extend the forests to one third of total land area. With the second five-year plan (1956) ‘afforestation of industrial economic species’ and plantation of fuel and fodder trees were started. In the third five year plan (1961) afforestation of fast-growing species was introduced. All these schemes became part of the planned development activity throughout the country and have continued until now. In 1970 various other schemes of plantations were added. Although different terms were used in the different states, practically all these schemes conformed to one of the categories mentioned above. Those schemes which do not correspond to any of them have been classified as ‘other plantations’.
1.2.2 Areas of established plantations
The records pertaining to the plantations established prior to 1950 are no longer available in proper form. Their total area being relatively very small they have been disregarded in our calculations. Many species have been planted with a particular objective. However, a species may be good for more than one end use. In this study the main end use of the plantation has been considered dominant and has served to classify it in one of the four following categories: industrial plantations, fuelwood plantations, environmental plantations (plantation for soil and moisture conservation) and other plantations.
These plantations started in 1956 with the main object of increasing the supply of raw material to wood based industries (pulp and paper, plywood and panelling, match wood and other mechanical wood industries).
Areas of established industrial plantations estimated at end 1980 1
(in thousand ha)
|PHL1||Hardwood species other than fast-growing||206|
|PHH1||Fast-growing hardwood species||379|
|PH. 1||Sub-total hardwood plantations||585|
|PS. 1||Sub-total softwood plantations|| 22|
|P.. 1||Total industrial plantations||607|
1 Figures in brackets correspond to areas reduced by 30% to account for an average survival/success rate of 70%.
Some remarks are needed for a proper understanding of the above table:
|●||PHL1:||in the northwestern himalyan region of Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh two main species are planted namely walnut (Juglans regia) and horse chestnut (Aesculus indica). In the rest of the country the main species are teak (Tectona grandis), sal (Shorea robusta), hollock (Terminalia myriocarpa), rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) and Chukrasia tabularis;|
|●||PHH1:||Eucalyptus species are the most common fast-growing hardwood species throughout the country. Other species are semal (Bombax ceiba), khair (Acacia catechu), shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), mulberry (Morus spp.), siris (Albisia spp.), toon (Toona cilista) and various species of bamboo. In the hills Ailanthus excelsa, willows (Salix spp.), and poplars (Populus spp.) have also been planted;|
|●||PS.1:||these plantations are confined to hilly regions of northwestern India and West Bengal. The plantations cover all the main indigenous coniferous species i.e. cedar (Cedrus deodara), blue pine (Pinus excelsa), chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) and silver fir (Abies pindrow). In northwestern Bengal Cryptomeria japonica has been introduced with great success;|