Geographical Guide Himachal

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Flora and Fauna in Himachal Pradesh

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FLORA AND FAUNA - HIMACHAL PRADESH

The Himalayan mountain system plays an invaluable role in determining the quality of life on the Indian sub-continent. The climatic and geolocial diversity of the Himalayas has led to a unique ecosystem which is a reservoir of rich wealth of natural resources both fossil and living.

The sharp zoning of Himachal Pradesh into vegetational types has created distinct habitats which are the home of a large assemblage of birds and animals. Himalayan flora is unique in that it encompasses forests of all types -tropical swampy forests, deciduous forest, coniferous forests, rhododendron forests, alpine meadows and even hot and cold deserts. The Himalayas are, however, not just a refuge for primitive forms of life-human civilization and cultures flourish here. The mounts are a melting-pot of plants, animals and human groups. The Himalayas are more than the world’s youngest and highest mountains: they are a treasure house of knowledge that is waiting to be explored. As the Himalayas have yet to stabilize geologically and settle down into their final form, its ecosystem remains fragile.

GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING:’ The State of Himachal Pradesh lies in the capacious bosom of the Western Himalayas. It is situated between 30-22-40 33-12-40 north latitudes and 75-47-55 and 7004-20 east longitudes. The elevation varies from 350 meters in the foothills to 6975 meters in the highest hills.

FLORA AND FAUNA: Himachal Pradesh forms the catchment of various main rivers of Northern India, namely the Ravi, Chenab, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum and Jamuna. HP has diverse forms of rich flora because of varied physic-climate. Out of a total of 45,000 species of plants found in the country, some 3,295 species or 7.32 percent are reported in Himachal Pradesh. There are six main forest – Moist Tropical, Montane Temperate, Sub-Alpine and Alpine Scrub. The conifers consist of Chil (Pine) Fir. Spruce. Deodar, Juniperus, Taxas and Neora. etc. The broad-leaved varieties comprise Khair, Siris, Semul, Sal, Tun, Bahera, Kimish, Shisham, Khirik, Ash, Bhoj-Patra, Horse-chestnut, Poplar, Robinla, Walnut, Maple, etc. The flowering species include orchids.

WILD LIFE: Himachal Pradesh has 30 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 2 National Parks and 3 Game Reserves which cover an area of about 5940 square kilometers, to preserve its exceptional natural wealth. This area comprises more than eight per cent of the State as against the target of four per cent laid down by the Government of India. There has been a complete ban on hunting in the State since 1983-84, and all green felling has been stopped in National Parks and Sanctuaries. These protected areas also serve as biosphere and genepool reserves in the various attitudinal and climatic zones of the State.

The Wildlife species in Himachal Pradesh consist of Mammals 64 Spp, Birds 463 Spp, Reptiles 44 Spp and Aquatic Fauna 316 Spp. The threatened Wildlife includes the Himalayan Brown Bear, Cheer, Pheasant, Mount Quail, Western Tragopan, Monal Pheasant, Snow Cock, Snow Leopard, Leopard Cat etc.

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