Forests are the incredible gifts of nature. The tall trees, laden with green leaves, the undergrowth of plants near the foot of the trees, and the jewels of vivid flora and fauna make the forest ecosystem unique. Far from the hustle and business of the car honking cities, we can immerse ourselves amid bird chirping environment only in a forest. Humans are designed to be close to nature and relish in the lush greenery. Presently India has forest covers of 21.67% (2020), which qualifies our country to be ranked in the top ten forest covers in the world. Let’s learn more about the forest richness of the country. Here we have listed 12 magnificent forests in India that will bring you close to nature.
Types of Forests in India
Primarily there are six types of forest in India. Each class has distinct characteristics. They vary based on temperature zone, rainfall they require, height, and density.
1. Tropical Evergreen Rain Forests
Tropical evergreen forest is found in Eastern India, Andaman and Nicobar Island, and the Western Ghats. It receives the rainfall above 200 cm annually. Therefore it is quite dense, and the trees raise high to receive sunlight. It is found in hot and humid areas of India. Some commonly known tropical evergreen trees are ebony, rubber, palms, etc.
2. Deciduous or Monsoon Type of Forests
Deciduous forest types are majorly found in the Ganga valley, Shiwaliks, North East India, and the Western Ghats. It receives rainfall of 100-200cm annually. You can call it the home of economically high-value trees like sandalwood, deodar, mahua, shisham, teak, and more. The trees grow up to 45 m. In summers the trees face a shortage of water as the water table goes down so the loose leaves.
3. Tropical dry Deciduous Forests
Tropical dry deciduous forests are primarily found in central Deccan Plateau, Eastern Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana. The trees grow in agricultural areas. It has long roots and thick bark to optimize water retention. It lies in the area where the average rainfall is around 50-100 cm. The trees like mangoes, pipal, and neem grow there.
4. Arid Forests and Desert Vegetation
As the name suggests, arid forests are found in the region of the lowest rainfall. It receives a rainfall of less than 50cm annually. You can find this type of forest in Rajasthan, southwest Punjab, some parts of Gujarat and Punjab. The trees of this forest generally have thick bark, long roots, and tiny leaves. Some plants have a waxy cover on leave to reduce the loss of water. You can find trees like acacia, babul, bushes, and thorny plants.
5. Tidal or Mangrove Forests
Tidal forests are found at the coastlines of deltas. The trees that grow here are Sundari, and Mangroves are famous here. These trees have a unique ability to tolerate salinity in water called Halophytes. You can find these plants near the deltas of Sundarbans, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and minor deltas of the Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna.
6. Mountain Forests
This type of forest is primarily found on the slopes of the mountains. The shape and nature of tress vary as we go up the altitude. Up to 1500m from the foot of Himalayas, you will find trees like sal, bamboo, teak, etc. When you climb up to 3500m, you will find deep-rooted trees like oak, pine, cedar, and more.
List of Largest Forests in India
1. Sunderban Forests
The UNESCO world heritage, Sunderban forest, lies in the delta in the Bay of Bengal. West Bengal has one of the longest coastlines in India of 210 km. The delta is formed along the coast, where five major rivers meet: Ganga, Brahmaputra, Padma, Meghna, and Hooghly. It is the world’s largest mangrove forest. It is one of the most beautiful forestry scenes where ocean coasts merge with forests, and the chain of trees will tie you there with its beauty.
Forest cover-10,000 km2 (4110 km2 in India)
Forest type– Mangrove forest
Fauna- Royal Bengal Tigers, Spotted Dear, White Tigers, Macaques, Rare Birds
Flora-Sundari Trees, Mangroves, Passur, Goran
2. Gir Forest
Gir forest is a famous Gujarat forest, which is the only area where Asiatic lions are found. These lions are endangered species, and the Indian government protects it. Gir forest is a fond place for people who love safari and adventure. If you are a jungle lover, a wildlife photography enthusiast, or adventurist, this is the best forest in India.
Forest cover-1412 km2
Forest type– Dry Deciduous forest
Fauna-Asiatic Lions, Sloth Bear, Mugger Crocodile, Indian Cobra
Flora- Teak, Acacia, Tendu, Banyan
3. Kaziranga Forest
Kaziranga is the largest forest which homes one-horned Rhino in India. This forest lies in the state of Assam. The forest comes under Kaziranga National Park, which is rich in flora and fauna. The marshland of the forest grows trees with broadleaf and strong bark. The government and locals protect the forest because they understand the value of the area.
Forest cover– 430 km2
Forest type-Deciduous forest
Fauna-One-Horned Rhino, Swamp Deer, Wild Water Buffalo
Flora- Water Hyacinth, Lotus, Elephant Grass
4. Nilgiri Forests
The Nilgiri forest or blue hills of Western Ghats is one of the most beautiful forests in India. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage, which is protected under Nilgiri Biosphere Reserves. It is rich in flora and fauna. The mesmerizing beauty of the hills in monsoon will take your breath away.
Forest cover– 5,520 km2
Forest type-Tropical evergreen
Fauna- Black Panther, Mongoose, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Marten
Flora-Neelkurinji, Sholas, Eucalyptus, Blue Sonki
5. Jim Corbet Forest
Well-known for the Jim Corbett National Park, Jim Corbett forest is the precious biosphere gem in Uttrakhand. It falls under the most splendid type of forest in India, i.e., deciduous forest. The river Ramganga follows directly through the forest, adding to the beauty of the scene. Jim Forest is also one of the most favored wildlife sanctuaries for safari excursions in India.
Forest cover– 4,496 km2
Forest type-Moist Deciduous Forest
Fauna- Tiger, Chital, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Rhesus Monkey
6. Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur
The Keibul Lamjao is the beautiful monsoon type forest found in the state of Manipur. The specialty of the forest is the floating sanctuary present in the marshy land. It is declared the Ramsar Site and recognized as an essential heritage for protecting specific endangered species like Sangai, also called Eld’s deer.
Forest cover– 40 km2
Forest type– Deciduous Forest
Fauna- Sangai, Hog Deer, Indian Civet, Otter
Flora-Wild Rice, Alpine, Buckwheat
7. Kanha National Park
The vast stretch of meadows, open forest and bamboo trees gives you the perfect view of the endangered species protected in the Kanha National Park. It is situated in Madhya Pradesh. You can visit there for safari adventures and admire the beauty of nature.
Forest cover– 940 km2
Forest type– Deciduous Forest
Fauna- Sambar, Four-Horned Antelope, Swamp Deer
Flora- Sal, Bamboo, Ghost Tree
8. Bhitarkanika Mangroves
Bhitarkanika in Odisha is the second largest mangrove ecosystem found in India. It received the status of the Ramsar site for its mangrove wetland. The incredible flora and fauna of the site display the captivating beauty, which is a pleasant treat for the eyes.
Forest cover-650 km2
Forest type-Mangrove wetland
Fauna- Saltwater Crocodile, Olive Ridley Turtle, Darters, King Cobra, Indian Python
Flora-Mangroves, Indigo Bush, Casuarinas
9. Bandipur forest
It is one of the famous forests in India, which lies in the land of Karnataka. Under Project Tiger, Bandipur National Park was established. Today it is home to numerous endangered tigers. You can visit other breathtaking hills of Karnataka and adore the divine range of biomass.
Forest cover-874 km2
Forest type– Deciduous Forest
Fauna- Tigers, Sloth Bears, Indian Rock Panther, Four0horned Antelope, Dholes
Flora- Sandalwood, Rosewood, Indian Kino Tree, Giant Clumping Bamboo
10. Vandalur Reserve Forest, Chennai
At the heart of South India, Vandalur Reserve Forest is found in Chennai. It is a beautiful biosphere right next to a busy city. The forest gives an amazing glimpse of beautiful nature. The city dweller often visits the forest to relish the greenery.
Forest cover– 1,265 acres
Forest type– Dry Evergreen Forest
Fauna- Blackbuck, Barking Deer, Sangai, Baboon, Leaf Capped Langur
Flora- Cashew Tree, Eucalyptus Trees
11. Pichavaram Mangrove Forests
Pichavaram Island in the Bay of Bengal is a delightful place for all nature lovers. It offers views to experience waterscape and backwater scenery beauty. The major attraction of this mangrove forest is the numerous migrated and local birds that hover all over the island. It is a real paradise for birdwatchers. It is one of the biggest forests in India under mangrove forests.
Forest cover– 1100 hectare
Fauna- Spoonbills, Storks, Egret, Finfishes, Shells
Flora- Mangroves, Avicennia, Rhizophora
12. Baikunthapur Forest
Located near the foothills of Eastern Himalayas, Baikunthapur forest is a hotspot for nature lovers. If you are near Darjeeling or Jalpaigudi, it is a must-go place. The fantastic place lies where mountains merge with forest, and the birds hover chirping around by the flowing river. It is one of the most mesmerizing forests in India located in East India.
Forest cover-88 km2
Forest type-Moist deciduous forest (Subtype- Terai Forest)
Fauna- Bar-Headed Goose, Pochard, Pintail, Black Ibis
Flora- Sal, Cyprus, Piper, Climbers
It is usually said by the poets that beauty lies in the beholder, but when it comes to natural beauty, it just gets reversed. Here, the beauty of nature beautifies the beholder in one way or the other. Forests are one place where the entire sphere merges and displays the richness of our beautiful planet. It is just a tiny fine slice of what heaven would look like. In this blog, we have listed the largest and unique forests in India. We hope you liked our list. Share with us other forests you think we should include on the list.
The heartland of India, Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in India.
There are many famous forests in India, Sundarban is famous for Mangrove forests, Gir forest is famous for Asiatic lion and more. Go through the list above to know the list of famous forests in India.
The Forest area of Buxa tiger reserves is considered to be the most dangerous forest in India.
There are primarily six types of forest types in India, namely, Tropical Evergreen Rainforest, Moist Deciduous, Tropical Dry Deciduous, Arid, and Mountain forests.
Pichavaram Mangrove Forests is one of the smallest forests in India, with forest coverage of only 1100 hectares.