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FLORA - Forest of Jammu and Kashmir

Forest of Jammu and Kashmir Forest is referred to as an area occupied by different kinds of tree, shrubs, herbs and grasses.

Forest of Jammu and Kashmir

Forest of Jammu and Kashmir

Forest is referred to as an area occupied by different kinds of tree, shrubs, herbs and grasses and maintained for the production of wood products. 

Technically forest is an area set aside for the production of timber and other forest produce, or maintained under woody vegetation for certain indirect benefits which it provides.
Important Points
  • Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department came into existence in 1883. 
  • J&K forest conservation Act was passed in 1997. 
  • District with highest forest area= Doda (5555 km²) 
  • District with lowest forest area is Kargil (481 km²) 
  • Forest area in Anantnag is 2068 km² Reserved Forests is 87.21% 
  • Protected Forests is 12.61%
  • Unclassed Forests is 0.18% 
  • Present Forest cover  is 22686 km² 
  • Very dense forests is 4298 km²
  • Moderately dense is 8977 km²
  • Open forests is 9411 km²
Jammu and Kashmir has 20230 sq km under forest area cinstituting about 19.95 percent total geographical area of 101387 sq km on this side of actual line of control. 

Out of this, area under reserved forest is 2551 sq km which accounts for 12.61 per cent of total forest area, protected forest forms 87.21 per cent with an area of 17643 sq km and the remaining 36 sq km (0.18 per cent) are classified. 

Looking at division-wise distribution of forest cover 8128 sq km are in Kashmir valley, 12066 sq km in Jammu division and 36 sq km in Ladakh region constituting 50.97 per cent, 45.89 per cent and 0.06 per cent respectively of the geographical area. 

Per capita forest area accounts for 0.17 per cent hectare as compared to 0.07 hectare at the national level. 

Species-wise forest area reveals 90.68 per cent under coniferous with 5.32 per cent Deodar, 9.02 per cent Chir, 9.73 per cent Kail, 16.81 per cent Fir and 49.80 per cent others. 9.32 per cent forest cover is claimed by non-coniferous non-commercial reserves. 

There are five forest types found in J&K viz., Subtropical Dry Evergreen, Subtropical Pine, Himalayan Moist temperate, Himalayan Dry Temperate and Sub-alpine and Alpine Forests.
Kashmir 8128 50.97
Jammu 12066 45.89
Ladakh 36 0.06
Total 20230 19.9
Sub-Tropical Dry Evergreen Forests 
These forests are characterized by low scrub with small evergreen restricted trees and shrubs. The most predominant spices of these forests are: olive, babool and kakkar. These forests are found in Shivaliks at an altitude about 1000 m above sea level. 

Sub-Tropical Pine Forests 
Sub-tropical Pine forests are found in Western Himalayan region at an altitude about 1000 to 2000 m above sea level. The most predominant spice of these forests is ‘chir’ which is used for furniture making and for buildings. 

Himalayan Moist Temperate Forests 
These forests are mainly found in the Kashmir valley region at an altitude about 1500 to 3300 m in the temperate zone of the Himalayas. These are open forests with dense growth of shrubs. The most predominant spices of these forests oak and conifers. 

Himalayan Dry Temperate Forests 
These forests are found in the inner dry ranges of the Himalayan region in Ladakh. Important spices of these forests are xerophytes shrubs with conifers forests which include deodar, oak, olive trees species. 

Sub-alpine and Alpine forests
The alpine and or-alpine forests in the inner valley of Kashmir are locally known as Margs. Sub-alpine forests are a part of alpine forests which are found at an altitude between 3100 to 3500 m mainly Ladakh region. The important characteristics are presence of a mixture of coniferous trees and broad leaved trees like fir, spruce, and rhododendron species. 

Jammu and Kashmir state forest policy 2010
This forest policy for Jammu & Kashmir describes various strategies for sustainable management of forest resources. It also emphasises on enhancement of forest carbon stocks and provides for 100 percent incentives flow to the local community. 

The basic objectives of the State Forest Policy of Jammu and Kashmir are as follows :
  • Conservation of biodiversity and natural habitat through preservation of natural forests with the vast variety of flora and fauna. 
  • Rehabilitation of degraded forests so as to optimize their productivity and restore their potential to provide ecosystem goods and services on sustainable basis. 
  • Poverty alleviation by meeting livelihood needs of forest dependent communities through sustainable supply of forest produce by improving productivity of existing forests, and through forestry activities, schemes and programmes. 
  • Extending tree cover outside forests to reduce pressure on natural forests for supply of forest produce. 
  • Checking denudation and soil erosion in catchments through integrated watershed management techniques and practices.
  •  Maintenance of the health of forest vegetation and forest soils for augmenting water supplies through recharge of underground aquifers and regulation of surface water flows, sediment levels and water quality. 
  • Optimally utilising the mitigation and adaptation potential of forests in the context of climate change. 
  • Reducing pressure on forests through appropriate interventions  including development of forest fringe belt into high production tree strips. 
  • Utilisation of natural resources using best management practices including development of non-timber forest produce and institutionalization and operationalization of concepts of ecotourism and nature tourism. 
  • Creating a sustained people’s movement for achieving the aforementioned objectives, so that environmental security is ensured. 
Forests of Jammu and Kashmir
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