The following points highlight the top six types of natural ecosystems. The types are: 1. Forests 2. Grasslands 3. Wetlands 4. Mangroves 5. Coral Reefs 6. Deserts.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 1. Forests:
India is endowed with diverse forest types ranging from the tropical wet evergreen forests in North-Eastern to the tropical thorn forests in the Central and Western India.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 2. Grasslands:
The diversity of grasslands in India is high ranging from semi-arid pastures of the western part of the Deccan peninsula, the humid semi-waterlogged tall grassland of the Terai belt, the rolling shola grasslands of the western ghat hilltops, and the high-altitude alpine pastures of the Himalayas.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 3. Wetlands:
Wetlands are the habitat of some of the world’s endangered and threatened flora and fauna. For example, the Western and Central flock of Siberian crane, one of the most endangered cranes in the world, uses Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, as its winter site. Chilka Lake, Orissa, is the habitat of many threatened species, such as green sea turtle, Hawksbill turtle, dugong, and blackbuck.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 4. Mangroves:
Mangroves are salt-tolerand ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical regions. India harbours some of the best mangrove swamps in the world, located in the alluvial deltas of Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauveri rivers, and on the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands. The largest stretch of mangroves in the country lies in the Sunderbans in West Bengal.
The predominant mangroves species are; Avecennia officinalis, Heritiera forties, Ceriops decandra, Rhizophora mucronata, etc.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 5. Coral Reefs:
The coral reef cover in Indian waters is roughly estimated up-to 19,000 sq.Km.
Indian coral reefs are as follows:
Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar; Gulf of Kachchh; Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Lakshadeep Islands and Central West Coast.
Natural Ecosystem: Type # 6. Deserts:
Three kinds of deserts are noticeable in India:
a. The sand desert of western Rajasthan and neighbouring areas.
b. The vast salt desert of Gujarat
c. The high-altitude cold desert of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
Desert fox, desert cat, houbara bustard and some sandgrouse species are restricted to Thar Desert, Rajasthan.
In the Rann of Kachchh, lies the nesting ground of Flamingoes and the only known population of Asiatic wild ass.
The Distinctive Animals of Cold Desert are:
Kiang (relative of wild ass of Kachchh), snow leopard. Yak, Tibetan antelope. Ibex, Blue sheep, Tibetan gazelle. Woolly hare, etc.