Forest Department in Uttarakhand is responsible for managing some of the richest forests and biodiversity in India. These are spread over a landscape that includes plains where the tall Sal trees and myriad other plant species hold sway.
|Territorial Entity||Headed By|
|Sub-Division||Sub Divisional Forest Officer|
|Division||Divisional Forest Officer|
|Circle||Conservator of Forests|
|Mandal||Chief Conservator of Forests|
|State||Principal Chief Conservator of Forests|
ABOUT UTTARAKHAND :
Uttarakhand the 27th state of Republic of India lies between 28° 44' & 31° 28' N Latitude and 77° 35' & 81° 01' East longitude. It was carved out of UP on 9th November 2000 with 13 Districts. The geographical area of the state is 53483 sq. km and the terrain and topography of the state is largely hilly with large areas under snow cover and steep slopes. Uttarakhand is geopolitically also very sensitive state due to its international boundaries in North (Nepal & Tibet). It forms North-Western boundary with Himachal Pradesh, North and North-Eastern boundary with Tibet, Eastern with Nepal and Southern with plains of UP. Whereas, the Southern boundary is artificial, remaining namely Northern, Western and the Eastern boundaries are natural with Tons and Yamuna rivers in West, Kali in the East and the Indo-Tibetan watershed in the North. Thus the state is of immense importance not only for the states, downstream due to soil and moisture conservation but strategically also due to its international border with Nepal & Tibet (China).
Major portion of the state is mountainous and these mountains (Himalayas) are one of the youngest mountain systems of the world (40 million years in age compared to peninsular mountains of 1500-2500 million years old) and hence ecologically very fragile and relatively much more susceptible to earthquakes and landslides. There are four major river systems viz. Ganga, Yamuna, Ramganga & Sharda originating from the state along with their tributaries are major source of water for drinking, irrigation and hydropower. The major wealth of the state is its forests with very rich biodiversity. Therefore, any let up in land management, of which forest management is the core, will have a telling effect on state’s downstream with regard to water supply, soil erosion and consequent floods and impoverishment of agricultural land.
The state has 13 districts as administrative units with 78 Tehsils and 95 community development blocks .The human population of the State is 84.79 lacs (2001) compared to 25.18 lacs in 1951 and that of livestock is 49.4 lacs in 2003 as compared to 41.68 lacs (1993) and 38.692 in 1972. The human and livestock population is largely dependent on forests due to Agrarian economy and age old pastoralism leading to heavy pressure on forests and consequent degradation of ecology and environment of the area.
Although the State of Uttarakhand is well endowed with biological resources, the past decades have seen an increase in pressure on the state’s natural ecosystems. The entire Siwalik ecosystem of Uttarakhand has been virtually degraded of its forest cover, and forested landscape has been pushed to the Upper reaches of the State.
The state is represented by biographic zone 2B Western Himalaya and 7B Shiwaliks consisting of Kumaon and Garhwal two regions. Total geographical area of the state (53,483 sq.km) is 1.6 % of country’s geographical area, out of which 46,035 sq.km is hilly. The state has thus varied terrain, major portion of which is mountainous with unique ecological diversity consisting of high alpine areas to the Sub-tropical and Tropical regions.
Physiographically, the state can be divided into three zones namely, the Himalaya, The Shiwalik and the Tarai Region. The state has a temperate climate except in plain areas where the climate is tropical. The average annual rainfall is 1550 mm.
There are Four major river systems viz. Ganga, Yamuna, Ramganga & Sharda originating from the state along with their tributaries which are major source of water for drinking, irrigation and hydropower. The major wealth of the state is its forests with very rich biodiversity. The state ranks sixth among the other states in terms of percentage of recorded forest area.
ABOUT UTTARAKHAND FOREST :
Uttarakhand is beautiful state set at the foothills of the snow clad Himalayas with lush green vegetation. There is a diverse range of flora and fauna in Uttarakhand, India. The vegetation of the state majorly comprises alpine trees and tropical rainforests. Wildlife in Uttarakhand thrives in these dense forests. With the varied flora and fauna in Uttarakhand, a number of National Parks have been set up in different parts of the country, which not only serve as a natural habitat for Uttarakhand flora and fauna, but also as a huge source of information for tourists who visit these parks.
Uttarakhand comprises of 13 districts spreading over an area of 53483 sq km, floristically, it falls under the west Himalayan Biogeography zone and it is well-known for floral diversity similar to any other Himalayan region in the country with an estimated 4,000 species of flowering plants having great economic medicinal, aromatic and artistic value. The endemic plant wealth of Uttarakhand is worth mentioning as it ultimately forms part of the National heritage. Uttarakhand Himalayas have about 116 species as endemic group. Arenaria ferruginea; Chimonobambusa jaunsarensis, Gentiana tetrasepala, G. saginoides, Meeboldia solenoids, Microschoenus duthiei, Trachycarpus takil, Poa rhadina, etc. are some such species.
Besides, many plant species new to science have been added from different parts of Uttarakhand. Some such species are Anemone raui, Arenaria curvifolia, Carex nandadviensis, Listera nandadeviensis, Saussurea sudhanshui, Euphorbia sharmae, Androsace garhwalicum, etc. More interesting to note is the presence of one of the smallest flowering plants Arceuthobium minutissimum, parasitising over Pinus gerardiana (Chilgoza) and the tallest plant of Asia, the Pinus roxburghii, in Uttarkashi district. The sacred Mulberry, Morus serrata, said to have been planted by the Adi Shankaracharya at Joshimath, the tree fern Cyathea spinulosa, the gigantic Aesculus indica on way to Panwali, the tall Shore a Robusta (Raja Sal) near Byasi are some other curiosities of the area. The narrative of the plant wealth of Uttaranchal will not be complete unless a mentioned about the sacred plants commonly used in worship in "The Abode of Gods". Besides, the earlier mentioned "Brahmakamal", Zanthmlum armatum (Timur), Prunus puddum (Panya), Skimmia laureola, Primula denticulata, and Artemisia nilagirica, Eagle marvelous etc. are offered to deities. Some other representative and interesting plants of Uttaranchal are enumerated below with a brief description:
The vegetation of Uttarakhand can be divided in the following zones:
Sub-Tropical Zone of Uttarakhand
The sub-tropical zone has pure as well as mixed forests of Shore Robusta (Sa I), the others being Lannea coromandelica (Jhingan), Buchanania lanzan, Dalbergia disso (Shis ham), 411 Haldina cordifolia (Haldu), Syzygium cumini (Jamun), Mallotus philippinensis (Rohini), Mitragyna parvifolia, Terminalia spp. (Myrobalans), Ficus spp. (Figs), Macaranga pustulata, Callicarpa arborea, Diopoknema butyracea (Chyura), Bauhinia variegate (Kachnar), Bomb axcobia (Semal), Lydia claying (Pula), Schleicher oleos (Kokum), Holoptelea integrities (Karanj), Cassia fistula (Amaltas), Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Parijat), Anogeissus latifolia (Bakli, Dhaura), etc. The shrubbyvegetation is represented by Murraya koenigii, Carissa opaca, Clerodendrum viscous, Adhatoda vasica, Jasminum multiflorum, Solanum erianthum, Cal/icarpa macrophylla, Eranthem um nervosum, Phlogacanthus thyrsiform is, Jatropha curcas, Rhus parviflora, Dodonaea viscosa, Woodfordia fruticosa and many others.
Temperate zone of Uttarakhand
The Temperate zone is marked by the presence of Ouercus leucotrichophora (Banj oak), Rhododendron arboretum (Burans), Myrica esculenta (Kaphal), Leonia ovalifolia (Aynor), Ibex dipyrena, Ouercus semecarpifolia (Kharsu Oak), O. dilatata (Moru Oak), etc. The coniferous forests in this zone are unique. Pure stands of Pinus roxburghii (Chir Pine) and Cadres deodar (Deodar, Cedar), Abides windrow (Raga), Pinus wallichiana (Kali), Taxus wallichiana (Thuner, Himalayan Yew) at places give a pristine look to the slopes. The slopes in temperate zone also have insectivorous plants like Drosera peltata and species of Utricularia. Another such species is Pinguicula alpina seen in Martoli Bugyal, Kurnaon. The SaprophOes and Parasites are also well represented by Monotropa unitiora, Dendrophthoe falcata (Banda), Balanophora in volucrata, and species of Viscum, Korthalsella, Arceuthobium, Scurrula, etc. The zone has a varietyof useful plants, some of them well known for centuries. These include Cedrus deodar, Pinus spp, Abies pindrow, Quercus spp, Aconitum neterophyllum, Paeonia emodi, Swertia chiraOta, Bergenia ciliate, Dios corea deltoidea, Angelica glauca (Choru), etc.
Sub-Alpine and Alpine Zones of Uttarakhand
The altitude above 3,000 metres is general lyconsidered a zone of sub-alpine and alpine vegetation. The tree species are represented by Pinus wall ichiana, Abies pindrow, Prunus cornuta, Aber caesium., Betula utilis (Bhoj Patra) and Salix sp. Species of the genera Cotoneaster, Rosa, Berberis, Ribes, Junipers, Rhododendron anthropogenic, Rhododendron campanulas are the shrubby components of the zone. The herbaceous vegetation is represented by a number of species of genera Po ten till, Primula, Aster, Saxifrage, Achaean, Delphinium, Polygonal, Corydalis, Pleuras perm um , I'vleconops is, Pedicularis, Saussurea, Rheum, Silene, etc. The Bugyals of this zone are well known for a rich and diversified flora. Plant species like Nardostachys grand flora (Jatamansi), Podophyllurn hexandrum (Himalayan May-Apple, Papri), Picrorhiza kurrooa (Kutaki), Gentian burro, Atm enia berithonic (Bal char), Rheum moorcroftianum (Dole), Ephedra gerardiana, Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Hafthajari), etc., common in this zone, are of immense medicinal value.
The floral diversity is further exhibited bythe species that grow in the rain shadow areas of Uttaranchal. Such species develop adaptive characters to survive the wrath of adverse climate. Labium rhomboid, Thylacospermum caespitosurn, Acantholi mon lycopodioides, Dracocephalurn heterophyllum etc are a few such examples.
Orchids of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand has more than 225 species of this charming group, well known for ornamental flowers with great horticultural potential and long shelf life. Aerides, Cool ogyne, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Thunia and Rhynchostylis, for which Mandai, Baram, Shandev, Dafia Dhoora, Kaflani, etc are rich. Among the global orchids, species of Calanthe, Habenaria, Anoectochilus, Satytium, etc are fairly common while the Lady's Slipper Orchid-Cypripedium is scarcely distributed.
Many small river valleys offer wonderful experience to nature lovers and hikers. The vast open hay field, above the tree line present endless views of the variously colored Himalayan flowers. The most interesting of them, aesthetically or botanically are seen in the higher altitudes, from 2,450 meters and above. The arrival of spring brings forward an uprising of colours when the Semal and Palash put the lower altitude forests on fire with their blazing red flowers. It is also the time for Burans to spread its fire at a height of or above 2,450 metres adding colour to the blue and white panorama of snow. The flowers do not grow only in the Valley of Flowers but are found on different treks habitually up to great heights as also on the hayfield and even in rock cracks or moraines.