Flora (Botany):

 

Botanical Divisions, ;According to the type of flora and the nature of vegetation found in it , the forests of Assam may broadly be divided into (I) Evergreen forests, (II)Mixed Deciduous forests, (III) Riverain forests and (IV) Savannah. However ,the above classifications are not wholly uniform in all the forests areas of the State . Variations here and there are noticed as to the type of flora and nature of vegetation found in them.

Generally ,evergreen forests are found in the undivided districts of Cachar , Goalpara, Nagoan ,Kamrup ,Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh ,Darrang and the Hills districts of the state .Most of the reserved forests of the State are evergreen in character . In 1992-93,there were 47 Forests Divisions in the state and they covered 21 ,488sq.km. In area .The statement below provides the names of the Forest Divisions and area covered during the years 1979 to 1993.25

Area of Total Reserved Forest in sq.km. (Excluding unclassed State Forest )

 

 

      Forest                   1979-80         1985-86            1991-92             1992-93

     Divisions             (Provisional)

 

1.  Goalpara                 298.22               377.89            385.25                392.03

 

2.  Dhuburi                   549.30               506.15            512.40                512.48

 

3.  Kachugaon              824.18              824.15             925.15                824.15

 

4.  Haltugoan                976.05              693.63             641.86                641.45

 

5.  Aie Valley                507.97              548.97             550.64                547.43

 

6  .Kamrup West           691.64             708.88             705.88                684.56

 

7.Kamrup East              527.99             588.70             588.03                587.83

 

8. North Kamrup            704.78             615.24             665.34                600.05

 

9.Darrang West             820.10             836.91             836.90                847.38

                                                                                                         (Sonitpur West)

 

10.Darrang East             757.24             760.63             762.62               760.63

                                                                                                            (Sonitpur East)

 

11.Nagoan                      875.24             990.16             990.16              478.99

 

12.Golaghat                   1049.60          1040.64            1041.66           1040.66

 

13.Sibsagar                    593.55              594.17             594.17             594.17

 

14.Lakhimpur                  947.41             936.80             940.80               936.77

 

15.Dibrugarh                   458.96             458.96              458.96             458.96

 

16.Doom Dooma             417.25             414.97               434.60             419.23

 

17.Digboi                        638.00             639.01               646.26              648.09

 

18.Karbi Anglong West    1233.11            1026.46            1026.46           1026.46

 

19.Karbi Anglong East     706.26             1118.55             1118.55            1118.55

 

20.N.C. Hills                    633.58             663.17              617.66              617.66

 

21.Silchar                       1761.78            1746.01           1620.94            1520.94

 

22.Karimganj                    634.42              606.84            904.90              909.61

 

23.Western Assam           588.72             614.95             518.95              622.60

    

       Wild Life

 

24.Eastern Assam             576.89             498.07              498.07            490.42

 

   Wild Life ,Bokakhat

 

25.Hamren -                         ...                 105.38             105.38              105.38

 

26.Nagoan South                  ...                  ...                     ...                  512.75

 

27.District Council             2980.32             2798.25            3592.91        3588.91

 

Assam total                     20,753.30          20686             21684.522     21488.14

 

 

The reserved forests of the State are distributed mainly in a few definite areas .These are along the foothills of the Himalayas; in deep alluvial land commonly known as the Bhabar and Terai tracts; along the southern edge of the Brahaputra Valley , touching the foothills of the central hilly region and lastly in the hills surrounding valley of the Barak and its tributaries.

The evergreen forests of most of the districts are composed of broad leafed species where rainfall is usually heavy .Both evergreen and semi-evergreen forests flourish in alluvial soil having capacity to retain water .Heavy rainfall exceeding 254cms. a year is required for their growth. Distribution of plants depend on rainfall and geographical configuration of the country. In heavy rainfall areas, the incidence of plants of different varieties is also heavy. The main species found in these forests are Sal, Bonsum, Titasopa, Hollock ,Khokan, Gameri and other species .Usually these forests contain from Sal (Shorea robusta) to miscellaneous evergreen forest trees .In tre riverine forests ,Simalu (Bombax malabaricum )and Sisso (Dulbergia Sissso) are found .In the district of Kamrup ,evergreen trees contain Bhelu (Trameles grandis),Satiana ,Amari, Gandhsorai, Poma ,Bogipoma ,Titasopa, Bota (Morus Lacvigata) Bhomora ,Silikha, Paruli (Stariospermum Chelenoides), Dhuna, Gogra, Maz, Seling, Borhamthuri, Jaipoma, Gohara, Owtenga, Sal, Jamuk, Koliori, Uriam, Letaku, Ritha, Rudrakhya, Thekera, etc. Most of these trees as useful as timber,medicinal matter and food. It appears that both evergreen and semi-evergreen forests are represented by varieties of important trees. It may also mentioned that Sal is one of the important naturally durable timber species of India,which predominates in the southern part of Kamrup district.

There is also variation as to the nature of the species found in the different mixed deciduous forests in Assam. The major portions of the mixed deciduous forests

are at stages of succession towards climax forests with the tendency towards turning to evergreen if left to nature without human interference or gazing. Usually moat of these forest are found along the main river banks. The principal species in the mixed deciduous forests are Sida, Jia poma, Kuhir, Simalu, Bhomora, Sonaru Bajiowe ,etc. It may also be noted that the major part of the mixed deciduous forests of poorly stocked,and comes under the category of open areas. In some cases bamboo and cane are also found extensively. Among smaller trees Hengunia, Jegau and Kusial are commonly seen in these forests. In certain forests under this categoty, Digalotu,Gochbhedeki, Leea, Sorat, Nal and other species and plants are noticed.

The riverine forests of the State are mainly found along the banks of big streams or Chaparis of big rivers. The forest areas found in Kanamakra, Manas, Beki, Pagladiya and Puthimari, Barnadi, Nanoi etc.,are instances of riverine forests. Usual combination or Khoir and Sissioais found in this group of forests.

In Kamrup, Nalbari and Barpeta districts, this type of forest with Sissoo first coming in and then khoir has the tendency to change over to the mixed decidious forests if left to nature alone,by subsequent invasion of species like Simul, Koroi, Udal, Kuhir, Khokan, Gomari, Sida,etc.,and hence is an early stage of succession towards the climax forests. In the Brahmaputra alluvium of the State,the principal species of this group of forests is Simul or Simalu.The Jamuna and the Kapili valley alluvoums in central Assam contain the mixed type of forests and is composed of trees like Koroi, Ajhar, Uriam, Simalu, Outenga,etc., and also in the well drained soils the better species like Sopa, Poma, Gandhsorai,Amari,etc, are to be seen.

Savannah type : This type of forests occur in patches in most of the reserved forests of the State particularly in North Kamrup, Darrang, Sonitpur, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Bangaigaon, Goalpara and Nowgong. In Central Assam,Dry Savannah type forest occurs in open areas in dry miscellaneous forests and are characterised by species like Ulu,Khagari and other grasses. Besides,grasses like Ikara and Nal are also in this type of forests. Sporadiccaly in certain areas under this type species like Bejaowe, Simul Sida, Udal, Jamuk ,Kuhir, Khoir, Bohera, Kum,etc.,are also found.

Natural lost of forests : The grass forests of Savannah type gets burnt every your making the soil very dry and unfit for the invasion and establishment of other species towards the climax forests. But whenever for some reasons fire cannot penetrate, there is a tendency towards mixed deciduous forests. Though at present such forests have not got much commercial importance except for catering to the needs of the villagers for the grazing of cattle and requirement of agricultural and constructional materials,great improvement can be made to such forests by improving the stock by artificial regeneration and complete protection from fire.

Forest Wealth :From the point of view of area and products, forest wealth occupies a very significant place for the economic development of the State. Every year the forest Department of the Government of Assam earns crores of rupees as State revenues. It may be mentioned here that except for some wood land grants under the tea estate,most of the forests of Assam are owned by the State. The acquisition of erstwhile Zamindary forests has brought a substantial part of forest areas to the state control.

 

Forest areas under the control of the State fall mainly under the broad categories,namely (i)reserved Forests,(ii) Unclassed State Forests and (iii) Forests under the control of the Autonomous Bodies in the Hills. The Reserved Forests are by far the most important which can be considered for scientific management. These forests,besides providing employment and earning handsome revenue to the State,also help for the growth and development of large number of local saw mills,plywood factories,match factory and various other forest-based industries in the State and outside. Moreover, most of the forest areas are also reach in respect of their wild life. The out turn of the forest wealth includes timber for various constructional purposes,round wood for bridges and for use by the State Electricity Board,for use in the plywood factories,and lastly as firewood for domestic purposes.

25. Statistical Hand Book,Assam,1981,p.86-87:1988.p 77-78: 1992.p.80-81;1993.p.86-87.