Useful notes on Northern Montane Forests

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These forests grow in cool and cold climatic zones. They are temperate forests. The minimum temperature at some places falls below freezing point. The rainfall is more than 100 cm.The nature of vegetation changes according to the height.

(a) 1000-2000 metres.

The trees are tall in size and dense in the areas west of 99°E. In north-east India, mountainous areas of West Bengal, Bihar, U.P., dark green oak, chestnut, sal, ctc. Grow. The Terai forests are evergreen trees.

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(b) 1500-1800 metres.

Here pine (Pinus Roxburghii) make strands of tall trees. Grassy floors with bulbous plants, at some places stunted evergreen oaks, Pinus Khasaya in Khasi hills and Assam-Myanmar border are found.

The trees are commercially useful for making doors, windows, furniture, railway sleepers, boxes, etc. Forest wealth provides economic potential for manufacturing paper, cardboard, plywood etc. Maples, birches, laurels, alders, etc. grow where rainfall is sufficient.

(c) 2000-3000 metres.

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These are large areas having good grass. Trees also grow here and there where conditions permit. Wild olives (Olea Cuspadata), broad leaved evergreen forests, laurels, chestnuts, etc. are at lower heights.

At higher lands coniferous trees (Pine, Cedar, Silverfir, Spruce, etc.) grow in plenty. The most important tree is Deodar (Cedrus deodare). It is used for a variety of purposes like manufacturing furniture, railway sleepers, etc.

Walnut, Chinar, etc. are the basis of domestic industry in Kashmir. These are softwood trees useful as raw material for pulp, artificial silk, match box, sports goods etc.

(d) 3000-4000 metres.

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This is called the Alpine area. Large grassy areas are everywhere, however, trees also grow. The most important trees are silverfir, juniper, pine, birch, etc. The higher areas have only alpine grass.

The migrant population goes up the upper slopes in summer and descends to lower slopes in winter along with their animals. This activity is called transhumance. In JK, Gujjar tribe is well known for this type of migration.

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