Himachal Forest

 

The Forests of Himachal Pradesh known for their grandeur and majesty are like a green pearl in the Himalayan crown. This life supporting systems are presently under great stress due to impact of modern civilization, economic development and growth in human and cattle population.

According to national Forest Policy, 1988, atleast two third i. e 66% of the geographical area should be under forest in the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh. However, keeping in view that about 20 % of the area is inaccessible and beyond the tree limit, the State Government aims to bring 50% of the geographical area under forest cover.

The forests of the State have been classified on an ecological basis as laid down by Champion and Seth, and can be broadly classified into Coniferous Forests and broad-leaved Forests. Distribution of various species follows fairly regular altitudinal stratification. The vegetation varies from Dry Scrub Forests at lower altitudes to Alpine Pastures at higher altitudes. In between these two extremes, distinct vegetational zones of Mixed Deciduous Forests, Bamboo, Chil, Oaks, Deodar, Kail, Fir and Spruce, are found. The richness and diversity of our flora can be gauged from the fact that, out of total 45,000 species found in the country as many as 3,295 species (7.32%) are reported in the State. More than 95% of the species are endemic to Himachal Pradesh and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, while about 5% (150 species) are exotic, introduced over the last 150 years.

 

The forests of Himachal Pradesh are rich in vascular flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover. Out of total 45,000 species of plants found in the country as many as 3,295 species (7.32%) are reported in the State.

More than 95% of species are endemic to Himachal and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, while about 5% (150 species) are exotic introduced over the last 150 years.

   Geographical Distribution of Forest (As per FSI Report 2009)

Area Km²

%age of Geographical area.

% age of ForestArea

1.

Geographical Area

55,673

100.00

2.

Forest Area (Legally classified)

37,033

66.52

100.00

3.

Area under Tree Cover

14,668

26.35

39.61

i) Very Dense Forest

3,224

5.79

8.71

ii) Moderate Dense Forest

6,383

11.47

17.24

iii) Open Forest

5,061

9.09

13.66

 

 

 

 

Legal Classification of Forest

Area ( Km² )

Percentage

1. Reserved Forests

1896

5.12

2. Demarcated protected Forests

11387

30.75

3. Un-demarcated Protected Forests

21656

58.48

4. Unclassed Forests

976

2.63

5. Others (managed by Forest Department

370

1.00

6. Not managed by Forest Department.

748

2.02

Total

37033

100.00

 

 

Forest Types in Himachal Pradesh

1. Moist Tropical Forests
2. Dry Tropical Forests
3. Montane Sub-Tropical Forests
4. Montane Temperate Forests
5. Sub-Alpine Forests
6. Alpine Scrub

 

 

 

 

 

District wise Forest in Himachal Pradesh

As per Forest Survey of India Report – 2009
Area (Sq.Kms.)

District

Geo. Area

Forest Area

Tree covered area

% of Geo. Area

Very Dense Forest

Moderate Dense Forest

Open Forest

Total Forest Cover

Bilaspur

         1,167
       428
          24
           171
            167
           362

31.02

Chamba

         6,522
    5,030
        853
           773
            810
        2,436
37.35

Hamirpur

         1,118
       219
          39
              92
            114
           245
         21.91

Kangra

         5,739
    2,842
        310
        1,221
            531
        2,062
         35.93

Kinnaur

         6,401
    5,093
          82
           263
            257
           602
            9.40

Kullu

         5,503
    4,952
        586
           789
            583
        1,958
         35.58

Lahaul & Spiti

       13,841
 10,133
          15
              32
            146
           193
            1.39

Mandi

         3,950
    1,860
        373
           735
            565
        1,673
         42.35

Shimla

         5,131
    3,418
        739
        1,037
            608
        2,384
         46.46

Sirmaur

         2,825
    1,843
        130
           568
            685
        1,383
         48.96

Solan

         1,936
       728
          55
           404
            390
           849
         43.85

Una

         1,540
       487
          18
           298
            205
           521
         33.83

Total

     55,673
 37,033
   3,224
      6,383
      5,061
    14,668
       26.35

Forests Wealth

Name of species Forests Area ( Km² ) Growing Stock ( 000 M³ )
Deodar

811

16129

Kail

809

15074

Chil

1436

12648

Fir/spruce

1343

46357

Sal

183

2,563

BanOak

540

7988

Mohru Oak

35

893

Kharsu

246

5880

Maple

N.A

778

Horse Chestnut

N.A

513

Walnut

N.A

331

Bird Cherry

N.A

256

Others

258

2315

Total

5661

111725


Wide altitudinal ranges and varied topography of Himachal Pradesh has resulted in making the state a very rich repository of wild fauna and flora. The rugged terrain and clearly distinct agro-climatic/ physio-graphic zones in the State harbour area specific animals and plants. 

 Whereas, Snow Leopard, Ibex and Snow Cock have made cold deserts their home, the cold temperate regions of the state form natural habitat of Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Brown Bear, Monal and Western Tragopan.  The lower reaches of the state abound with Sambhar Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Ghoral and Leopard amongst mammals and pheasants including Cheer and White Crested Kaleej.  The state has an inventory of more than 3,500 higher plants, many of which are endemic to the region and many form the basis of local health traditions.

To conserve the entire range of biodiversity in situ, the state has established a network of Protected areas, comprising 2 National Parks and 32 Wildlife Sanctuaries.  Appropriate legislation related to wildlife conservation has also been put in place. 

Wildlife Fact Sheet in Himachal 

Ø      Area under Protected Area Network
National Parks (2)                                        : 1440 km2
Wildlife Sanctuaries (32)                            : 5562 km2
Ø      Recorded taxa of higher plants                 : >3500
Ø      Recorded species of mammals               : 77
Ø      Recorded species of birds                         : 463
Ø      Recorded species of reptiles                    : 44
Ø      Recorded species of fishes                       : 80
Ø      Recorded species of aquatic fauna        : 436    

 

National Park

The State of Himachal Pradesh has declared two areas of very high ecological, geo-morphological and biodiversity significance as National Parks with the objective to accord its wildlife resources the highest legal protection status available to wildlife in the country. 

A National Park is an area established under section 35 (4) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and no right is allowed within the National Park.  Once constituted, boundaries of the National Park can be altered only on a resolution of the State Legislature.  Grazing is prohibited in these areas and the general public is legally restrained from destroying, exploiting, or removing any wildlife from the National Park, or destroying or damaging the habitat of any wild animal, or depriving any wild animal of its habitat in the Park.   National Parks have a clearly defined core and buffer zones.  Whereas, the core zone is free from any local rights and acts as sanctum sanctorum to allow wildlife to enjoy protected natural habitat, the buffer zone absorbs most of the impact of human activities.  Process to settle rights in the two National Parks in the State is in progress.

The National Parks in the State beckon the visitors to enjoy the serene natural surroundings, experience the wilderness and understand the dire necessity of joining hands to conserve Nature in its pristine state. 

 

 

 

 

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