starting point
himalayan lands
geologic past
environmental problems
flora and fauna

traveler's corner
guided tour

Data central
search the site
test your knowledge
about the site

Flora and fauna

General Info
 ·  Flora
    ·  Tropical Forests
    ·  Temperate Forests
      Sub-alpine forests
        Alpine scrubs

 ·  Fauna
    ·  Mammals
    ·  Birds

Why are these animals endangered?

How much money do the poachers make?

Protected Areas
 ·  Nepal
 ·  India

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Flora and Fauna

Sub-alpine forests
These forests are found near the snow line all over the Himalayas, and even in the cold desert regions. The trees tend to be stunted due to the extremely harsh conditions in the areas.

High fir forests dominate the altitudes between 2900 and 3500m, especially in the transition zone between the main Himalayas and the dry cold deserts. At higher elevations the trees become stunted. Some broad leaved species also accompany the conifers in the lower altitudes. Average temperatures in summers range from 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures are usually well below the freezing point accompanied by lots of snow. Birch forests join the fir forests at an elevation of above 3000m.

Low rhododendron evergreen forests can also be found alongside the birch forests. The forests are open with the occasional grasslands in between. The winters are so severe in the region that vegetative growth virtually stops in the winters.

Alpine Scrubs
Alpine scrub grasslands take over from the dwarf sub-alpine forests. These grasslands start at an elevation of above 3000m grow up to the region just below the snowline. They are common in both the main Himalayan regions as well as the barren cold deserts of the Transhimalaya. Low alpine grasslands are common with the vegetation not growing higher than 1.5m. Trees are stunted and occur sporadically between thickets of shrubs and grasslands. Climatic conditions vary from the sub-arctic to arctic, with snow covering the ground for over 5 months a year. The growing season for the plants is thus stunted. Pastures are grazed by migratory cattle in summer.

In the inner dry valleys and parts of the transhimalayas, dwarf rhododendrons grow along with patches of grasslands. This vegetation succeeds the sub-alpine forests and merges with the snowline at a higher elevation.

Just below the snowline is a growth of dry alpine scrub. Trees are absent. Shrubs along with patches of pasture. The scrub thrives in shady depressions and along streams formed by snow melt waters. Dwarfed junipers also occur sporadically. The soil is very poor in nutrients. Dry arctic conditions are experienced, and snow covers the area for 5 to 6 months ever year. In the summers. migratory cattle graze on the shrubs.

Previous Topicmap top of page Index Next Topic
Make a submission View new Stories

© 1997 ThinkQuest team 10131
All rights reserved