Introduc- THE forests of the Indian Empire extend between the
tion. eighth and thirty-fifth degrees of north latitude, and flourish
at elevations varying from sea-level to 12,000 feet and more.
Although the changes in the characteristics of the vegetation
between these limits must necessarily be of considerable impor-
tance, yet those due to differences in latitude alone are not so
marked as might be expected from comparison with similar
circumstances in Europe, nor is any abrupt demarcation of
species apparent. While some trees are characteristic of
Southern or Northern India, others are distributed in suitable
localities over the whole area of the country; and it becomes
evident that the forest vegetation cannot be classified by dis-
tance from the equator alone, but that other and more effective
influences have to be considered. Of these the principal is
the rainfall, which by quantity and distribution, regulated
chiefly by the geographical position and physical features of
the locality, decides to a great extent the character of the most
important forest growths.
Natural For practical purposes Indian forest tracts may be divided
oarsess of into the following four zones: the Wet with a rainfall of over
75 inches, the Moist with a rainfall of over 50 inches, the In-
termediate with a rainfall of over 30 inches, and the Dry with
a rainfall under that amount. Within these zones the Ever-
green, the Deciduous, and the Dry forests of India may readily
be located, while, influenced even to a greater extent by eleva-
tion, tides, and inundations than by rainfall, we get Alpine,
Tidal, and Riparian forests to complete the classification.
Classifica- Of these classes by far the most important, as regards both
forests by extent and value, is that comprising the Deciduous forests.
types. From the foot of the Himalayas they extend throughout the
length and breadth of the Peninsula, and recur farther east in
Burma wherever rainfall and soil is suitable to their growth.
They furnish the valuable timbers of sal, ironwood, teak,
red sanders, sandal, rosewood, and ebony, as well as other