Notes on Montane Forests – Vegetation and Wildlife
i. In mountainous areas, decrease in temperature with increasing altitude leads to the corresponding change in natural vegetation belts in the same order as seen from the tropical to the tundra region.
a. The wet temperate type of forests is found between a height of 1000 and 2000 m.
b. Evergreen broad-leaf trees like oaks and chestnuts predominate these forests.
c. Between 1500 and 3000 m of height temperate forest grow well.
- They contain coniferous trees like pine, deodar, silver fir, spruce, and cedar.
- These forests cover mostly the southern slopes of the Himalayas, places having high altitude in southern and north east India.
At higher elevations, temperate grasslands are common.
ii. At altitudes of more than 3600 metres temperate forests and grasslands give way to Alpine vegetation:
a. Silver fir, Junipers pines and Birches are some common trees.
b. They get progressively stunted as they approach the showline.
c. At least through shrubs and scrubs they merge into Alpine grasslands.
- They are used extensively by nomads like Bakarwals and Gujjars.
iii. At higher altitudes tundra vegetation takes over,
Common animals found in these forests are Kashmir stag, spotted dear, wild sheep, Jack rabbit, Tibetan antelope, Yak, snow leopard, squirrels, shaggy horn wild ibex, bear and rare red panda, sheep and goats with thick hair.