Natural Vegetation: Plants which grow on their own, without human intervention are called natural vegetation.
Wildlife: Animals which live in their natural habitat; usually away from human habitations, are called wildlife.
The flora and fauna of a place, or (in simple terms) the plant and animal life of a place is affected by the climate of that place.
Effect of Altitude on Vegetation
There is a close relationship between the height of land and the character of vegetations. As the height increases we are not able to find the thick jungles of sal and teak. We can find tall trees with thin pointed leaves and cone shaped canopies on mountain slopes. As the height increases further, we can find land covered with short grass and snow.
The growth of vegetation depends on:
- Thickness of soil
Types of Natural Vegetation
Forest: An area of land which is densely covered with trees is called forest. This type of natural vegetation can be seen where temperature and rainfall are plentiful to support tree cover. Depending on temperature and rainfall, forests can be dense and open.
Grassland: These grow in the region of moderate rainfall. Tall trees are very few in grasslands.
Shrub: Thorny shrubs and scrubs grow in the dry region.
Types of Forests
- Tropical Evergreen Forests
- Tropical Deciduous Forests
- Temperate Evergreen Forests
- Temperate Deciduous Forests
- Mediterranean Vegetation
- Coniferous Forests
Tropical Evergreen Forests
These forests are also called tropical rainforests. These forests are found in the regions near the equator and close to the tropics. These regions are hot and receive plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Since rainfall is throughout the year, there is no particular dry season. Hence trees do not shed their leaves altogether and they always appear green. This is the reason they are called evergreen. Trees in a rainforest are closely spaced. Thick canopies of these closely spaced trees do not allow sunlight to penetrate inside the forest even in day time. The following hardwood trees are common here: rosewood, ebony, mahogany, etc.
Tropical Deciduous Forests
These are the monsoon forests. They are found in large parts of India, Northern Australia and Central America. These regions experience seasonal changes. Trees shed their leaves in the dry season to conserve water. Due to this, these are called deciduous trees. Sal, teak, neem and sheesham are the common trees found in this forest. Tiger, lion, elephant, etc. are the common animals.
Temperate Evergreen Forests
These are located in the mid-latitudinal coastal regions. They are commonly found along the eastern margin of the continents e.g., in south east USA, South China and in South East Brazil. They comprise both hard and softwood trees like, oak, pine, eucalyptus etc.
Temperate Deciduous Forests
These forests can be found towards higher latitudes. The areas where they are found include, North–eastern part of the USA, China, New Zealand, Chile and Coastal regions of western Europe. Oak and birch are the common trees of this forest. Deer, fox and wolf are the common animals.