(Last Updated on : 22/01/2009)
Himalayan subtropical pine forests are renowned for being the largest in the whole of the Indo - Pacific areas. It comprise of `subtropical coniferous forest eco region` . It covers areas of India and also other countries like Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan. In India, the Himalayan subtropical pine forests stretch across the low hills of the Great Himalayan range and also several states of north India like Jammu and Kashmir
, Himachal Pradesh
Various types of pine trees are found in this region of Himalayan subtropical pine forests
Amongst them, the prevalent tree is the Chir Pine. Its scientific name is Pinus roxburghii and is resistant to drought. Fire is quite frequent in the Himalayan subtropical pine forests.
All the burnt slopes of this
Himalayan subtropical pine forests region shows a rampant growth of grasses like Imperata cylindrica, Arundinella setosa, Themeda anathera, and Cymbopogon distans . Quite a multitude of shrubs are found in several species like Berberis, Rubus, and other thorny bushes.
Especially in the Himachal Pradesh, wide-ranging tracts of Chir pine are produced in places like the lower portion of districts like Kangra
and Una . This stretches toward the eastern portions of the same state and also in the lower region of the mountains of Uttar Pradesh
. According to several dendrologists, Chir pine is strewn here and there and grow usually along with Shorea robusta, Anogeissus latifolia, and Cordia vestita. Comprehensive Chir pine plantations are prevalent in states like Himachal Pradesh and in northwestern portion of Uttar Pradesh.
Unlike like the adjoining `broadleaf forest`, the Himalayan subtropical pine forests are not ideal abodes for species. However, as per the record of some of the experts , these Himalayan sub tropical forests provide habitation to multitudes of endemic bird species that came to this region from the nearby eco regions .
Several mammals too are found in every nook and corner of the region of the Himalayan subtropical forests. It is to be noted that majority of these mammals are also being found in other parts of the region as well. Near about one hundred and twenty species of `mammal fauna` are found here. Some of the characteristic mammals that belong to the family of `focal species` of this region of Himalayan subtropical pine forests are barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), goral (Nemorhaedus goral), and yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula).
Due to deficiency in under woods and crops, the herbivores do not find the eco region of Himalayan sub tropical forests suitable for living.
Bird fauna too throng various places of the Himalayan subtropical pine forests . There are about 480 species . Maximum of these birds are not restricted to this eco region of Himalayan subtropical pine forests and also build their nests in other nearby areas. Birds like Chestnut-breasted partridge, Cheer pheasant, Ludlow`s fulvetta, Rusty-bellied shortwing, Elliot`s laughingthrush, immaculate wren-babbler, Snowy-throated babbler, Hoary-throated barwing, Spiny babbler, Mishmi wren-babble and Western tragopana deserves mentioning.
Over the years, the Himalayan subtropical pine forests have faced several threats from the modern day society. Overgrazing, cultivation, exploitation for fuel woods etc have brought about degradation of this eco region.