The Forests in Himachal Pradesh are known for their grandeur and majesty, like a green pearl in the Himalayan crown. This life supporting systems are presently under great stress due to impact of modern civilization, economic development and growth in human and cattle population.
According to National Forest Policy, 1988, at least two thirds i.e 66 of the geographical area should be under forests in hilly states like Himachal Pradesh. However, keeping in view, that about 20 percent of the area is inaccessible and beyond the tree limit, the State Government aims to bring 50 of the geographical area under forest cover (See Map Also).
The forests of the State have been classified on an ecological basis as laid down by Champion and Seth, and can be broadly classified into Coniferous Forests and broad-leaved Forests. Distribution of various species follows fairly regular altitudinal stratification. The vegetation varies from Dry Scrub Forests at lower altitudes to Alpine Pastures at higher altitudes. In between these two extremes, distinct vegetational zones of Mixed Deciduous Forests, Bamboo, Chil, Oaks, Deodar, Kail, Fir and Spruce, are found. The forests of Himachal Pradesh are rich in vascular flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover. The richness and diversity of our flora can be gauged from the fact that, out of total 45,000 species found in the country as many as 3,295 species (7.32) are reported in the State. More than 95 of the species are endemic to Himachal Pradesh and characteristic of Western Himalayan flora, while about 5 (150 species) are exotic, introduced over the last 150 years.
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