(Last Updated on : 24-05-2010)
Flora and Fauna is an inseparable part of Almora district. The region of Almora district is immensely rich with four thousand species of plants and a natural sanctuary of variety of animals. This district has remarkable diversity in its natural vegetation by virtue of its being at a great range of elevation. In addition to its climatic variations, particularly in temperature and precipitation associated with the alignment and altitudes of ranges and nature of valleys, determine the altitudinal growth and variety of vegetation. The flora of this region may be classified into tropical, Himalayan sub-tropical and sub alpine and alpine vegetation. The alpine and sub alpine zones are considered as the most natural abode of the largest number of Indian medicinal plants
Considering the various parameters, the vegetation of this region, can broadly be divided into four parts. The Sub-tropical Forest zone lies between the altitude of three hundred meters and fifteen hundred meters. The Sal Community is a deciduous type of plant community ranges from three hundred meters to thousand meters altitude. The tree species of this community are Semecarpus anacardium, Haldu (Adina cordifolia), Bauhinia vahlii, Madhuca longifolia, Cassia fistula etc. Pine Community is an evergreen plant community and is mainly found in dry hill slopes between twelve hundred meters to eighteen hundred meters. The forest floor is often clear. However, Pyrus pashia, Dalbergia sericia, Caseana elliptica, Syzygium Cumini are other species grow with pine.
Vijaysar Community is a deciduous type of plant community found in shady and wet place ranging from eight hundred meters to fifteen hundred meters in altitudes. The trees Sapium onsigne, Dalbergia sissoo, Syzygium cumini are few among other species. Ramal Community is a deciduous plant community mainly found on eroded slopes or river area. Faliyal Oak Community is evergreen community found in shady and moist place up to fifteen hundred meter altitude. The trees such as Pyrus pashia, Emblica officinalis and shrubs Callicarpa arborea, Rubus ellipticus are the other associates of this community. Chair Pine and Bany Oak Community is mainly found between the altitudes fifteen hundred meters to eighteen hundred meters. Myrica esculenta, Rhododendron arboreum, Pyrus pashia etc are the other tree species of this community.
The forest communities of Sub-temperate forest zone are generally found in between eighteen hundred meters to two thousand eight hundred meters altitude. Deodar Community of plants is found between eighteen hundred meters to two thousand and two hundred meters altitude. The shrubs which belong to this community are Rubus ellipticus and Berberis asiatica. Utis deciduous plant community is generally found between fourteen hundred to two thousand and two hundred meters altitude. Some of the important species of this community are Rubus ellipticus and Betula alnoides. Horse Chestnut Community is a deciduous community which occurs between two thousand and two thousand five hundred meters altitude. The species of trees which belong to this community are Betula alnoides, Juglans regia and Litsea umbrosa. Kal Community is an ever green forest which resides from twenty one hundred meters to twenty eight hundred meters altitude. Banj oak is also an evergreen plant community found between eight hundred meters and two thousand and two hundred meters altitude. Rianj Oak is found from two thousand to two thousand five hundred meters in altitude. Myrica esculenta, Betula alnoides, Pyrus pasia are among the other tree species of this community. This community also attains the same attitudinal range as mentioned for banj oak forest. Tilonj oak Community occurs between two thousand and two hundred meters and two thousand seven hundred meters altitude. The co-dominant species of this forest are Rarboreum, Lyonia ovalifolia, Litsea umbrosa etc.
The Sub Alpine Forest Community is found from twenty eight hundred to thirty eight hundred meters altitude. Bhoj patra, Betula utilis Kharsu oak, Qsemecarpifolia and Silver fir (Abies pindrow), are the main species of this community. The most interior community of this region lies between to thirty eight hundred and five thousand meters altitude. Low shrubs and grassy meadows are more common categories of this community. With the increase in altitude the plant shape become smaller and cushion like.
The sub-alpine zones of Almora and outskirts are a natural sanctuary for leopard, Langur, Himalayan black bear, kakar, goral etc. The high altitude zones abound in musk deer, popularly called Kastura Mrig, snow leopard, blue sheep, thar etc. The entire zone is rich in a remarkable variety of birds possessing plumage of magnificent design and colours like peacock, which include grey quail, Kala Titar, Whistling thrush, Chakor, monal pheasant cheer pheasant, koklas pheasant etc. in the Sub-tropical forests the main animals are Tiger, Chital (Axis axis), Leopard (Panthera Pardus), Fox (Vulpes vulpes montanus), and Boar. In the Tropical Rain Forest, Goral (Nemoahaedus goral), Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelana) and Peora Patridge (hill Patridge, Chir Pheasant) are found in mainly. Sub Alpine forest is a home to Blue Sheep, Alpine Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia), Monal, Black Bear, Marmot, Bharal, Snow Cock (Tetraogallus himalayensis) and Snow Patridge.