THE  FOREST
Recorded Forest 

 Forest types&Species

 Management    

                                           species of Timber & Non-timber 

                                                                                                                                                                           

STATUS 

     Due to a tropical hot and humid climate with abundant rains, all the major islands support a very luxuriant and rich vegetation. As per the State of Forest Report, 2003 published by the Forest Survey of India, 84.4% of the total geographic area of Andaman & Nicobar Islands is under forest cover. Of the total forest cover, 42.1% are very dense forest, 34.1% are moderately dense forest, 8.2% are open forest and mangrove constitute 9.6%. District-wise and Category-wise forest cover is given in the following table

           Details of forest cover in A & N Islands  

 

 

(Area in Sq.km.)

District/ Category

Dense

Open

Mangrove

Total

Andaman

4,864

90

929

5,883

Nicobar

1,651

35

37

1,723

Total

6,515

125

966

7,606

  RECORDED FOREST

    Total area recorded (notified) as forests is 7170.69 sq.km. which constitute 86.93% of the geographic area of these islands.

 

Tropical Evergreen forests Andaman Semi-evergreen forests

 District-wise and category-wise details of recorded forests are given in the following table :

 Details of recorded forests:

(Area in Sq.km.)

District/ Category

Reserved Forests

Protected Forests

Total Forests

Andaman

2928.76

2699.86

5628.62

Nicobar

-

1542.07

1542.07

Total

2928.76

4241.93

7,170.69

                                                                                                                                                        

FOREST   TYPES 

         Vegetation of these islands has been classified into following twelve forest types by Champion and Seth. However, these forest types are not distinctly demarcated and they imperceptibly merge into one another and form an intimate mixture.

1.       Giant evergreen forests (1A/C1)

2.       Andaman tropical evergreen forests(1A/C2)

3.       Southern hilltop evergreen forests(1A/C3)

4.       Andaman semi-evergreen forests(2A/C1)

5.       Andaman moist deciduous forests(3A/C1)

6.       Andaman secondary moist deciduous forests(3A/C1/2S1)

7.       Littoral forests(4A/L1)

8.       Mangrove (Tidal swamp)forests(4B/TS2)

9.       Brackish water mixed forests(4B/TS4)

10.   Sub mountain hill valley swamp forests (4C/FS2)

11.   Cane brakes (1/E1)

12. Wet bamboo brakes (I/E2)  

 The Giant Evergreen Forests mostly occurring in deep alluvial soil near the banks of larger streams. 

Major species: Dipterocarpus spp., Calophyllum soulattri, Artocarpus chaplasha, Amoora wallichii etc.  

       The Andaman Tropical Evergreen Forests similar to the giant evergreen forests but not so luxurient and occur mostly on hilltops.

  Major species Dipterocarpus grandiflorus, Xantho-phyllum andamanicum, Artocarpus chaplasha, Myristica andamanica etc.  

       The Southern hilltop evergreen forests occur on the exposed upper slopes and tops of hills and sometimes on steep slopes lower down.

 Major species  Dipterocarpus costatus, Mesua ferrea, Canarium manii, Hopea andamanica etc.  

       The Andaman semi-evergreen forests are luxurient types of forests with many giant trees both of evergreen and deciduous nature. Climbers are often heavy. Occur in valleys.

Major species : Dipterocarpus spp., Pterocymbium tinctorium, Sterculia campanulata, Terminalia bialata, T.procera, Albizzia chinensis, A.lebbek etc.  

      The Andaman moist deciduous forests are distributed extensively in Andamans but not that much in Nicobar group of Islands. Top storey is irregular with tall deciduous trees followed by a second storey which comprise numerous species including some evergreen trees.

Major species Pterocarpus dalbergioides, Terminalia bialata, T.Manii, T.procera, Pterocymbium tinctorium, Tetrameles nudiflora, Dillenia pentagyna etc.  

       The Andaman secondary moist deciduous forests occur in worked over areas of the primary type. 

Major species : Canarium euphyllum, Pterocymbium tincto-rium, Salmalia insignis, Tetrameles nudiflora, Terminalia manii, T.procera, Albizzia lebbek etc.  

       The Littoral forests occur all round the coast wherever a fair width of sandy beach occurs.

  Manilkara littoralis is the most characteristic species of this type in these islands. Other species Scavela frutescens, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Morind citrifolia, Terminalia catappa, Pandanus tectorius etc.  

   The Mangrove forests (Tidal swamp forests) occupy shores, mouth of creeks and inland channels of these islands. These are salt tolerant species and occupy 966 sq.km. area of these islands. 

Important mangrove species : Rhizophora mucronata, R.can-delaria, Bruguiera conjugata, B.parviflora, Avicennia officinalis, Ceriops tagal, Kandelia candel, Sonneratia caseolaris, Excoecaria etc. 

    The Brackish water mixed forests are considered finest development of tidal forests and may be a closed forest of 35 m height. These are found in larger deltas and creeks along the outer periphery and at places where salt water mixes with fresh water.

 Major species : Heriteria littoralis, Barringtonia racemosa, B.asiatica, Brownlowia lanceolata, Nypa fruticans, Phoenix paludosa etc.

  The Sub-montane hill valley swamp Forests is an  irregular forest of a limited number of mainly evergreen species. Trees are usually low, crowded and branchy.

Major species:  Dense growth of Calamus, while Ficus and monocotyledons such as Alpinia often form the undergrowth.

  The Cane brakes are found through out the evergreen and semi-evergreen climaxes and locally in moist deciduous forests. Cane brakes are impenetrable thorny thickets sometimes with a few tall trees.

  Major species:  Calamus spp. and sometimes creeping bamboo – Dixochloa andamanica.

  The Wet Bamboo Brakes often very dense occuring  throughout tropical evergreen racts of Andamans.

 Major species:  Dendrocalamas brandisi, Oxytenthera spp, Bambusa schizostachyoides.

 

FOREST MANAGEMENT

        Forestry in these islands dates back to 1883. At that time there was no regular working plan and harvesting of timber was confined to a few species only viz ., Padauk, Silvergrey and koko.Which were there in demand. Owing to prevailing market demands in past, forestry in Andaman was selective, irregular and exploitation oriented till 1906.

        In 1906 Todd’ working plan prescribed, sustained and if possible periodically increasing yield, without depleting capital. This working plan could not be implemented due to various reasons. In 1914, Bomington’s working plan prescribed removal of excess stock of mature and over mature tress especially from accessible areas.

       This method of felling was strongly criticized by Inspector General of Forest’s   and advocated system of concentrated   regeneration felling. This system had also to be abandoned as this was not conducive to obtain   regeneration in this type of mixed irregular forests due to heavy incidence of weed growth which involved enormous cost.

        Dean’s working plan (1936 – 66) was the first working plan approved by Government of India. It prescribed for extraction of timber from worked areas and accessible areas of South Andaman and North Andaman. Due to inaccuracies in prescriptions regarding assessment of yield in worked areas and assessment of extent of accessible areas, the prescriptions were never adhered to. This was followed by  working schemes prepared by Chengappa from 1936 to 1939 and the Departmental operations were organised according to the prescriptions of these schemes. After second world war and partition of India, Chengappa prepared working plan in 1952 but due to various socio-political reasons, prescriptions of his working plans could not be implemented. This followed working plan prepared  by Shri J.C.Verma in 1960 which also could not be implemented. 

        With the formation of new division separate working plans were written. D’Cruz’s working plan (1970 –80) attempted separate working plan for each of the territorial division that existed then. The Government of India returned draft-working plan suggesting certain changes in the prescription.

South Andaman Division

        Sinha’s working plan (1970-80) modified and revised prescription's of D’ Cruz’s working plan. It besides others prescribed Conversion Working Circle   with a conversion period of 75 years. The silviculture system was conversion to uniform through Andaman Canopy Lifting Shelterwood system. Clear felling was prescribed   for plantation and plywood and Matchwood working circle. During this period   decision was taken to stop introduction of exotics in Islands and monoculture of any forest species was also to be stopped at a later stage.

Basu’s working plan (1990-2000) prescribed three working circles namely conversion, protection and Minor forests produce working circle. Conversion period remained at 75 years.

In Bhatt’s working plan (2000-2010) prescribed for conversion working Circle besides others .Due to Supreme Court’s intervention the plan could not be implemented as the Court banned felling of trees from unworked forest areas.

M.P Singh’s   working plan (2003-2013) prescribed for Eco- restoration   working circle besides others to bring forest into its natural profile. In this plan Mangrove and Littoral swamp, Coastal belt conservation and Eco- Tourism working circle were also constituted keeping in view of direction of Supreme Court of India and ecological consideration.

Baratang Forest Division - Till 1979, areas of Baratang forest divisions were under South Andaman Forest Forest Division, so the working plan prescriptions till 1980 were same. In B.K Basu’s   working plan (1987-97) three working circles were prescribed these were namely, conversion working circle, protection working circle and minor forest produce. P. M Bhatt’s Working plan (01.04. 1999 to 31. 03. 2009) besides other prescribed for Mangrove conservation working circle. This prescription could not be followed due to orders of Supreme Court of India   and the same is being revised.

Middle Andaman Forest Division : -  For the period 1970-1980 Sinha’s working plan  was followed  in Middle Andaman  forest division . It besides   others prescribed a circle called plywood and match hood working circle. In Basu’s working plan   (1993- 2003) three working circles were prescribed these were namely conversion, protection, and minor forest produce working circles .Due to Supreme Court intervention regarding restriction on felling of trees, prescription of this working plan could not be followed and exercise to write new working plan started. During interim period (2003-05) worked scheme for collection of NTFPs was approved by Central Empowered Committee (CEC) . In M.P Singh’s W.P working plan (2005-15) besides other Eco- restoration-working circle was constituted to bring worked over areas to its natural profile. Prescription of the plan are similar to that   for South Andaman Forest Division as mentioned above.

Mayabunder Forest Division :- While currency of Sharma  working plan (1979-89 ) , the  North Andaman Forest Division was bifurcated   to form two separate territorial division's that is Mayabunder  and Diglipur  forest division  from 11-05-1988 . P. M. Bhatt’s working plan (1997-2007) could not be followed as on 12.10.2001, Supreme Court of India imposed ban on cutting of naturally grown trees in A & N Islands. The Working Plan was being revised in accordance of ruling of Supreme Court of India and CEC approved the M.P. Singh’s Working Plan (2004-14). The prescription is similar to that of South Andaman Forest Division’s Working Plan written by M.P. Singh.

Diglipur Forest Division Sharma’s Working Plan (1979-89) was in vogue when North Andaman forest Division was bifurcated into Mayabunder and Diglipur Forest Division. During Currency of Bhatt’s Working Plan (1998-2008), Supreme Court of India on 12.10.2001 imposed ban on felling of naturally grown trees on recommendations  of Prof. Shekar Singh’s report, the court allowed felling of trees only from worked over areas as per working plan approved by CEC/Supreme Court of India .The Working Plan was being revised in accordance of ruling of Supreme Court of India and CEC approved the M.P. Singh’s Working Plan (2005-15). The prescription is similar to that of South Andaman Forest Division’s Working Plan written by M.P. Singh

The  Supreme Court of India in its order dated 7.5. 2002 made following orders.

 To preserve the eco–diversity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands the Supreme Court of India made orders on 07.05.2002 to protect natural forest and to ensure regeneration. It not only ordered for suspending felling of trees from forests of Little Andaman, National Park, Sanctuaries, the tribal reserved areas, but also declined to renew license of private sawmills. To minimize felling of timber, ban to export timber from Islands to any other part was imposed. For ensuring regeneration of forest, felling operations have to be proceeded by compensatory afforestation /regeneration. To ensure protection of forest   from encroachment it prohibited regularization of encroachment on forestland in any form including allotment /use of forestland for Agriculture/horticultural purposes. It ordered for removal of all post 1978 encroachments. To ensure coastal security it ordered for reducing sand mining to the level of 33% of present level with in a minimum period of five years. The diversion of forest land for non forestry purposes has been reduced to barest minimum need to serve emergency public purposes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

     

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