Southern Hill top Tropical Evergreen Forest
It is an inferior variety of the typical evergreen forest, reaching to a maximum height of only 10 m.
Distribution: This type of forest abounds in the Andamans and Western Ghats. They are usually seen on the slopes and tops of hills.
Locality factors: High winds, less favourable soil and climatic conditions restrict the formation of a climax. Rainfall is usually high, over 4500 mm and humidity is high even during periods of scanty rainfall.
Floristics: Top canopy trees & Second storey trees - Artocarpus heterophyllus, Canarium strictum, Cedrela toona, Cullenia exarillata, Dysoxylum malabaricum, Elaeocarpus seratus, Eugenia species, Holigarna beddomei, Mesua ferrea.
Bamboos :– Ochlandra travancorica
Shrubs: Pandanus spp, Strobilanthes spp
Climbers: – Calamus spp
West coast tropical evergreen Forest
These are dense evergreen forests with lofty trees of 45 m or more height. A large number of species occur mixed together. This makes the canopy extremely dense. Ferns, mosses, aroids and orchids are seen in plenty. The undergrowth consists of cane, creeping bamboo, and palms. With the increase in elevation and rainfall, the height of the forest diminishes, though it remains dense and evergreen, changing into the stunted wet sub-tropical forest.
Distribution: Enjoys a wide distribution over the Western Ghats
Locality Factors : It is seen in an altitudinal range of about 250-1200 m.The rainfall varies from 1500-5000mm.
Floristics: These forests are characteristic in having a high proportion of Mesua ferrea, Palaquium ellipticum, Cullenia exarillata and Calophyllum elatum. The absence of Hopea parviflora and Dipterocarpus indicus needs mention.
Top canopy trees: Artocarpus hirsutus, Bischofia javarnica, Canarium strictum, Calophyllum elatum, and Dysoxylum malabaricum
Second storey trees: Actinodaphne hookeri, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Euphoria longana, Myristica beddomei, Vateria indica.
Shrubs: Leea indica, Pandanus spp, Strobilanthes spp, Rubiaceae
No grass in undistributed forest.
Climbers :– Climbers on the whole are not woody
Wet evergreen and semi-evergreen climax forests
In Kerala, wet evergreen forests are mostly confined to the windward side of the WG, where the rainfall is above 2000mm. By taking into account the distribution pattern of certain charactristic species, which reflect the climatic variations, the forests are further subdivided into eight main floristic types and three facies. All these types are classified according to low (0-800m), medium (800-1450m) and high (1400-1800m). The medium elevation forests in some places may appear at lower elevation (650 m ) due to local variations in the moisture and exposure.