Friday, November 1, 2013

Biogeographical classification of India

India has different climate and topography in different parts and hence is termed as a mega diversity country. India occupies 10th place among plant rich countries of the world. It is essential to acquire knowledge about the distribution and environmental interaction of flora and fauna of India.
Biogeographers have classified India into ten biogeographic zones with each zone having characteristic climate, soil and biodiversity. These zones are described below:
  1. Trans-Himaylayas The trans-himalayas is an extension to the Tibetean plateau. This region harbors the high-altitude cold desert in ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) and Lahaul Spiti (Himachal Pradesh). It accounts for 5.7% of the country's landmass.
  2. Himayalas The Himalayas are the northern boundaries of India. The entire mountain chain is running from Kashmir in the North-west to Assam in the north-east. The Himalayas comprise of a diverse range of biotic provinces and biomes. The himalayas cover 7.2% of the country's landmass
  3. Desert  The extremely dry area west of the Aravalli hill range, is comprising both  the salty desert of Gujarat and the sandy desert of Rajasthan. Deserts occupy around 6.9% of the country's land mass. The kinds of deserts found in India are:
    1. The desert of western Rajasthan
    2. The desert ofGujarat
    3. The high-altitude cold desert of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The Indian deserts have more diversified fauna.
  4. Semi-arid This zone lies between the desert and the Deccan plateau. It includes the Aravalli hill range. It overs approximately 15.6% of the country's landmass.
  5. Western Ghats The western ghats are a mountain range that runs along the western cost of India. They are a range extending north-south from southern tip of Gujarat in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.The mountains cover an area of about 160,000 sq. km. This ghat section covers an extremely diverse range of biotic provinces and biomes. It covers about 5.8% of the country's landmass.
  6. Deccan plateau It is a large triangular plateau south of the Narmada valley. Three sides of the plateau are covered by mountains slopes towards east. Satpura mountains cover the north while western ghats cover the west side and eastern ghats cover the eastern side of the plateau. It is the one of largest zones covering the southern and south-central plateau with mostly deciduous trees. It covers 4.3% of the country's land mass.
  7. Gangetic  plain This plain covers the area between the south himalayas to the tropic of cancer. These plains were formed by the Ganges river system and are relatively homogeneous. This region experience 600  mm rainfall annually. Sunderbans forests are located in this region and it covers 11% of the country's land mass.
  8. North-east India These are pains and non-himalayan ranges of northeastern India and have a wide variety of vegetation. It covers around 5.2% of the country's land mass.
  9. Islands The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal has almost 300 big and small islands. Among these, only five islands are inhabited. Only tribes are found in the island of Nicobar. These islands have a highly diverse set of biomes and occupy 0.03% of the country's biomass.
  10. Coasts India has a large coastline distributed both to the east and west with distinct differences between the two. The Lakshwadeep islands are included in this but the area of these islands is negligible.

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