The following points highlight the top four categories of forest biomes in India. The categories are: 1. Tropical Rain Forests 2. Tropical Deciduous Forests 3. Temperate Broad-Leaf Forests 4. Temperate Coniferous Forests.
Forest Biomes: Category # 1. Tropical Rain Forests:
The tropical rain forest makes an important biome across the earth as a whole. Tropical rain forests have high rainfall, high temperature all the year, and a great variety of vegetation.
In India, tropical rain forests are discontinuously distributed mainly along Western Ghats and in North-eastern Himalayas. Plant life is highly diverse reaching up-to a framework of 200 species of trees per hectare.
Dipterocarpus and Hopea are the most common tree species in Indian rain forests. The warm humid climate supports broad-leaved evergreen plants showing peculiar stratification into an upper storey and two or three understoreys.
These forests possess highest standing crop biomass among all biomes.
Many tree species show root buttresses, large leaves, with drip tips and round the year leaf fall.
Woody climbers and epiphytes are abundantly found in tropical rain forests.
Large amounts of nutrients in rain forests are stored in the tall vegetation, while nutrient storage in soil is low.
Such forests are rich in animal diversity, which is linked to plant-animal interaction for pollination and dispersal of fruits and seeds.
Forest Biomes: Category # 2. Tropical Deciduous Forests:
In India, the tropical deciduous forests occur widely in the northern and southern parts both in hilly areas and plains. Towards the north-west zone, they make scrub thorn forests. Sal (Shorea robusta) and teak (Tectona grandis) trees are the dominant tree species in tropical deciduous forest of India.
Other common species in deciduous forests are tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), chiraunji (Buchanania lanzan) and khair (Acacia catechu), which are of great economic importance. The trees of deciduous forests are generally short stature, only 10 to 20 metres high.
During rainy season, such forests are lush green, while the leaves of most trees fall before advent of summer and the whole forest becomes leafless along with dried herbs. The forests are rich in nutrients due to scarce leaching.
Forest Biomes: Category # 3. Temperate Broad-Leaf Forests:
In India, temperate broad-leaf forest mainly occur between 1500 and 2400 m altitude in the western Himalayas, i.e., Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Several species of oak (Quercus) are dominating in the temperate broad-leaf forests. The main species of oak found in western Himalayas are: banj oak (Q. ieucotrichophora), khrsn oak (Q. semecarpifolia), tilonaj oak (Q. floribunda) and rianj oak (Q. lanuginose). Though species of oak in western Himalayas are evergreen, yet their leaves drop during summer, but the trees never become naked.
The trees of oak of different species are 25 to 30 m in height. The trees are thickly populated, and tree canopy is dense. The epiphytes are common on oak trees.
Forest Biomes: Category # 4. Temperate Coniferous Forests:
They are also known as needle-leaf forests. In the Himalayas, the temperate coniferous or needle-leaf forests are generally distributed over 1700 to 3000 m altitude, a.s.l. Such forests mainly consist of gymnosperms, e.g., blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), deodar (Cedrus deodera), spruce (Picea smithiana) and silver fir (Abies pindrow).
The wood of these trees is of great economic value, and they yield resins, etc. The trees are quite tall (30 – 35 m) and possess evergreen needlelike leaves. The canopy is generally cone-shaped.