(Last Updated on : 16/01/2015)
The Indian subcontinent
is a home to great diversity of ecoregions, which ranges from land covered with snow and ice to the tropical rainforests. There are ten varieties of ecoregions in India. The first variety is the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. The Andaman
Islands rain forests belong to this category. The Brahmaputra Valley semi evergreen forest encompasses an area of 56,700 sq. km. The Chin Hills Arakan Yoma montane forests are spread over an area of 29,700 sq. km. includes many Himalaya
n species and many endemic species. The Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests were the home to the Asian Elephant, which has become extinct from the region.
Encompassing an area of 38,200 sq. km. the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests is spread over India, Nepal and Bhutan. The Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests are spread over Bangladesh and eastern India. The Malabar Coast moist forests of southwestern India have been largely cleared for agriculture, grazing and teak plantations. The Meghalaya subtropical forests of eastern India have rich and abundant wildlife. The Nicobar Islands are situated in the southeast of the Indian subcontinent
and is separated by Bay of Bengal. The North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests are spread over an area of 48,200 sq km. and are positioned in the southwestern part of India.
The trees of the laurel family dominate the North Western Ghats montane rain forests. The Orissa semi evergreen forests lies in the coastal plains of Orissa
covering an area of 22,300 sq km. The South Western Ghats moist deciduous forest covers the southern portion of the Western Ghats range and the Nilgiri Hills
. The South Western Ghats montane rain forests are the home to numerous endemic species. The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests is spread over an area of 14,600 sq. km. The Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests, Maladives-Lakshadweep-Chagos Archipelago tropical moist forests and the Mizoram
- Kachin rain forests also belong to this variety.
Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests are another variety of ecoregion. The Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests belong to this category and occupy an area of 240, 200 sq. km. The Chota Nagpur dry deciduous forest is located in the Chota Nagpur Plateau covering the states of Jharkhand
The East Deccan dry Evergreen Forests are located in the southeastern region of India spread over an area of 25,500 sq. km. and is the home to two important wetlands, Kaliveli Lake in Viluppuram district of Tamil Nadu
Lake in the north of Chennai
The Kathiawar Gir dry deciduous forest is the home of the top predatory animals like Asiatic Lion, Bengal Tiger, Leopard and Indian Wolf. The Narmada Valley dry deciduous forest lies mostly in the state of Madhya Pradesh
and is the home to seventy-six species of mammals. The Northern dry deciduous forests extend across the Indian states of Bihar
, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh
. Tall trees that drop their leaves during the dry winter and spring months characterize the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forest.
The tropical and subtropical coniferous forests are the third variety of ecoregions. The drought resistant Chir Pine characterizes the Himalayan subtropical pine forests
. The Northeast India - Myanmar pine forests are dominated by the Tenasserim Pines at lower elevations and Khasi Pines and Blue Pines at the higher elevations.
The next variety is the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests is spread over an area of 83, 100 sq. km. and are characterized by diverse and abundant wildlife. The ecoregion has two predominant forest types, the Evergreen forests are characterized by oaks and the deciduous forests are dominated by Betula alnoides, Juglans regia and Betula utilis. The Western Himalayan broadleaf forests also belong to this category.
The Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests and the Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests belong to the category of temperate coniferous forests. Under the category of tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands comes the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands.
Montane grasslands and shrublands include the Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe, Northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows and the Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows.