The forests of Rajasthan cover approximately an area of 32,737 sq km which is 9.57% of the total geographical area of the state. The state has teak forests, which is northern most limit of teak zone in India. Apart from meeting the fuelwood and fodder demand, forest resources of Rajasthan contribute Rs.7160 million to the state domestic product (SDP).
The forests of Rajasthan are spread unequally in Northern, Southern, Eastern and South Eastern parts, and the western region of Rajasthan is devoid of any forest cover. Most of the forests are in hilly regions of Udaipur, Rajasamand, Kota, Baran Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Sirohi, Bundi, Alwar, Jhalawar and Banswara districts.
However, The extent of Natural Forests in Rajasthan is not only one of the lowest in the country but also in terms of productivity of forest, it is the lowest. On the contrary The State is endowed with the largest chunk of wasteland which is about 20% of the total wastelands of the country.
The forests of Rajasthan can be divided into four broad forest types.
- Tropical Thorn Forests,
- Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests,
- Central India Sub-tropical hill forests.
- Mixed Miscellaneous Forests
Tropical Thorn Forests of Rajasthan
- Tropical thorn forests are found in arid and semi-arid regions of western Rajasthan, namely Jodhpur, Pali, Jalore, Barmer, Nagaur, Churu, Bikaner etc.
- These extend from western Indo -Park border and gradually merge with the dry deciduous mixed forests of the Aravalli hills and the south-eastern plateau.
- The main species found in this kind of forests are Acacia nilotica , Acacia leucophloea, Prosopis cineraria, Capparis aphylla, Zizyphus spp., Flacourtia spp. etc.
Tropical Dry Deciduous (Dhol) Forests
- These forests are mostly found in small patches in few parts of the state. the northern and eastern slopes of aravalli ranges, mostly in Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts, are covered with this type of forests.
- Sporadic growth of certain species of dry deciduous forests is found along the dry river beds of Jalore, Nagaur, Ganaganagar and Bikaner, districts.
- The main species found in this kind of forests are Babul
- Bamboo covers about 2.5% of the area occurring mostly in Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Kota & Abu hills.
Central Indian Sub – tropical Hill Forests
- These forests which are most abundant in central India, as in Madhya Pradesh, parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra, are found in Sirohi district of Rajasthan also, mostly on the hills girding Mt. Abu.
- These forests have semi-evergreen and some evergreen species of trees.
- The vegetation of Mt. Abu consists of many plants which are similar to the sub – tropical region of Himalayas. Around Mt. Abu, they are well represented between 700 to 800 m altitudes.
Mixed Miscellaneous Forests
- These forests are mostly found in south-eastern and eastern part of Rajasthan including Chittorgarh, Kota, Udaipur, Sirohi, Banswara, Dungarpur, Baran and Jhalawar distrists.
- Average rainfall in these forest is more than 60cm and cover approximately 20% of the forest cover.
- These Forests mainly have Anogeissus pendula, Anogeissus latifolia, Terminalia tomentosa, Terminalia arjuna , Terminalia chebula, Albizia lebbeck, Dalbergia paniculata etc. and its associates.