Flora and Fauna
The region is immensely rich with 4000 species of plants, having remarkable diversity in it's natural vegetation by virtue of its being at a great range of elevation. In addition to its' climatic variations, particularly in temperature and precipitation associated with the alignment and altitudes of ranges and nature of valleys, determine the altitudinal growth and variety of vegetation. The flora of this region may be classified into tropihcal, Himalayan sub-tropical and sub alpine and alpine vegetation. The alpine and sub alpine zones are considered as the most natural abode of the largest number of medicinal plants. Considering the various parameters, the vegetation of this region, can broadly be divided into four parts
This kind of forest zone lies between the altitude of 300 m and 1500 m and comprises of the following forest communities
- Sal (Shorea robusta) Community :- This is a deciduous type of plant community ranges from 300 m to 1000 m altitude. The tree species of this community are Semecarpus anacardium, Haldu (Adina cordifolia), Bauhinia vahlii, Madhuca longifolia, Cassia fistula etc..
- Chir / Pine (Pinus roxburghii) Community :- This evergreen plant community is mainly found in dry hill slopes between 1200 m to 1800 m. The forest floor is often clear. However, Pyrus pashia, Dalbergia sericia, Caseana elliptica, Syzygium Cumini are other species grow with pine.
- Vijaysar (Engelhardtia spiicata) Community :- It is a deciduous type of plant community found in shady and and wet place ranging from 800 m to 1500 m in altitudes. The trees Sapium onsigne, Dalbergia sissoo, Syzygium cumini are few among other species.
- Ramal (Macaranga pustulata) Community :- This is a deciduous plant community mainly found on eroded slopes or riverine area. This community has mainly Mallotus philippinensis, Toona serrata etc plants.
- Faliyal Oak (Qurecus gloca) Community :- This is evergreen community found in shady and moist place upto 1500 meter altitude. The trees such as Pyrus pashia, Emblica officinalis and shrubs Callicarpa arborea, Rubus ellipticus are the other associates of this community.
- Chair Pine and Bany Oak Community :- This community is mainly found between the altitude 1500 m to 1800 m. Myrica esculenta, Rhododendron arboreum, Pyrus pashia etc are the other tree species of this community.
The forest communities of this zone are generally found 1800 m to 2800 m altitude. The plant communities which belong to this zone are :-
- Deodar (Cedrus deodara) Community :- The evergreen communities of plants is found between 1800 m to 2200 m altitude. The shrubs which belong to this community are Rubus ellipticus and Berberis asiatica.
- Utis (Alnus Nepalensis) :- This deciduous plant community generally found between 1400 to 2200 m altitude. Some of the important species of this community are Rubus ellipticus and Betula alnoides.
- Horse chestnut (Esculus indica) Community :- This deciduous community occurs between 2000 and 2500 m altitude. The species of trees which belong to this community are Betula alnoides, Juglans regia and Litsea umbrosa.
- Kal (Pinus walechina) Community :- This ever green forest resides from 2100 mts to 2800 mts altitude.
- Banj oak (Quercus leucotriochophora) Community :- This is also an evergreen plant community found between 1800 m and 2200 m altitude.
- Rianj Oak (Quercus lanuginosa) Community :- Same as above two this community is also evergreen and is found from 2000 to 2500 m in altitude. Myrica esculenta, Betula alnoides, Pyrus pasia are among the other tree species of this community. This community also attains the same attitudinal range as mentioned for banj oak forest.
- Tilonj oak (Q florebunda) Community :- This community occurs between 2200 m and 2700 m altitude. The co-dominant species of this forest are R.arboreum, Lyonia ovalifolia, Litsea umbrosa etc.
Sub Alpine Forest Community
This plant community is found from 2800 to 3800 m altitude. Bhoj patra, Betula utilis Kharsu oak, Q.semecarpifolia and Silver fir (Abies pindrow), are the main species of this community.
The most interior community of this region lies between 3800 and 5000 m altitude. Low shrubs and grassy meadows are more common categories of this community. With the increase in altitude the plant shape become more small and cushion like.
The sub-alpine zones of Almora and outskirts are a natural sanctuary for leopard, Langur, Himalayan black bear, kakar, goral etc. Whereas the high altitude zones abound musk deer, popularly called Kastura Mrig, snow leopard, blue sheep, thar etc. The entire zone is rich in a remarkable variety of birds possessing plumage of magnificent design and colours like peacock, which include grey quail, Kala Titar, Whistling thrush, Chakor, monal pheasant cheer pheasant, koklas pheasant etc. The relation between the fauna and their favorite flora would be clear from the following table :-
||Wild Life / Birds
||Tiger, Chital (Axis axis) Leopard (Panthera Pardus), Fox (Vulpes vulpes montanus), Boar (Sus scrofa)
|Tropical rain Forest
||Goral (Nemoahaedus goral), Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelana), Peora Patridge (hill Patridge, Chir Pheasant)
|Mixed Cane Forest
||Himalayan Thar, Monal, Koklas
||Musk Deer (Moschus moschiiferus), Himalayan Thar, Black Bear
||Blue Sheep / 'Bharal' (Pseudois nahoor) Monal
||Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia), Monal, Black Beer, Marmot, Bharal, Snow Cock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), Snow Patridge (Lerwa lerwa) etc.
Source : District Administration-Almora, Uttarakhand, Last Updated on 29-12-2016