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Indian Rainforest

The rainforest in India are found mostly in the northeastern states of India. The state of Arunachal Pradesh has the highest rainforest cover though it is also found in the Assam Valley, the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and few areas of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur where the rainfall is above 2300 mm per annum. The forests of northeast have become the sole representative of the bountiful wealth associated with rainforests in India. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Western Ghats also have lush rainforest cover while few patches are found in the eastern sate of Orissa.

Characteristics: Rainforest occurs in places witnessing heavy annual rainfall of around 1750 to 2000 mm. It is seen in places with warm, moist hot and humid climate close to the equator and the tropic of cancer. Rainforests are usually warm and wet throughout the year. They are a haven for millions of animal and plant life and for the ecology of the world. Some of the plants found in these forests have medicinal value and are extremely useful to men. The forests of northeast are evergreen, semi-evergreen rainforests, riparian forests, moist deciduous monsoon forests and swamps and grasslands. They are characterised by the presence of three storied vegetation based on their height at elevations up to 900 metres.

The rainforest in south India are found in patches in the Western Ghat in the areas of Nilgiris, Annamalai and Palani hills. They closely resemble those found in northeast India. The lush vegetation and forest cover in Andaman and Nicobar Islands also come under the equatorial belt of tropical rainforest.

Animals Found: About 350 species of mammals, 2, 100 kinds of birds both domestic and migratory, and about 350 species of reptile and insects are found living in the forests. The most common types of animal found are elephant, sloth, howler monkeys, pythons, vinesnake, varieties of bats, jaguars and tapirs. Chameleon, crested guan are found living in the lowland areas while tiger, king cobras, gecko live in the higher altitudes. Plenty of endangered animals are also found such as the clouded leopard, flying squirrel, leopard, tiger and Indian bison and endangered birds like pheasants, eagles, owls, wood ducks and hornbills.

Vegetation: Today, the evergreen covering of the rainforest have been reduced to semi-evergreen forest probably due to human interference. Over 4,000 plant species thrive in the Western Ghats today of which 1,800 are endemic to the region. The higher mountain areas are dominated by trees belonging to the laurel family including litsea, phoebe, and cinnamomum while the lower-elevation south has moist deciduous forests.

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