There are extensive forests in the district Pauri Garhwal. These forests are serving, as a basefor many industries, local needs of fuel wood, fodder resources and ecological stability. There is a considerable variation in the forest type, which occur in this area. Such variations are based on altitude, climate, rocks, soil etc. As per the statistics available for year 1999-2000, the total forest area of the district is 443977 which is 59% of total district land. Under ‘Forest Deptt.’ 366212 hectare land comes.
KHAIR/SISSO Forests, which are also termed as Reverie forests, occur in areas of lower elevations. Its main constituents species are: Acacia Catechu (Khair), Shorea robusta (Sal), Dalbersia sisso(Shecham), Bombex ceiba (Bamboo) etc. In these forests different varieties of bamboos occur in patches or mixed with the main species. Khair trees have become hollow on rocky patches and in depressions, which are moist and sheltered. The crop is of fairly open density. Regeneration is adequate in areas, which are away from habitation where the effect of grazing eloping is not very severe. Sal forests occur in Rathwadhab forests of Rikhanikhal and lower elevation of Jahrikhal block.
CHIR PINE Forests are the most extensively developed type in the Nayyar catchments. The main species is Pinus roxburghii which occurs in pure form. The altitudinal variation of this forest is from 900 mts. to 1500 mts. Besides chir pine, the other tree species which may occur Cedrela toonaToon) be, Anoegissous Latifolia, Ehertia laevis. The density of this forest varies from 0.3 to 0.6, the density tends to higher in areas away from human settlements, intensive grazing, on sandy soil etc.
OAK Forests occur at altitude ranging from 800 m. to the highest elevations of Pauri Garhwal area. The main species include Quercus semicarpifoliaBanj), Q. incanaBanj), Rhododendron arboreunBurans), Rhus punjabencis, cedrela toonaToon), vitis himalayansis. These forests occur on moist, shady depressions, declivaties on southern aspects. At times they are mixed with chir pine forests, the former occurring on moister sides and cooler aspects. The density of the forest ranges from 0.4 to 0.8. There is a thick layer of undecomposed humus in the soil. By and large it has been seen that this forest type is associated with moisture.
DEODAR Forests are confined to areas of higher elevation. It is one of the most beautiful types found in the Himalayan region. Individual trees may attain a height of over 35 mtr and a diameter of over 110 cms. The main species are cederus deodara which occur in pure form. In cooler aspects Deodar is accompanied by blue pine (pinus exelsa), silver fir and spruce. Regeneration is fairly adequate as these forests occur in areas, which are away from habitation. Deodar forests occur in Pauri, Tarkeswar, Dudhatoli etc.
Chir pine and Deodar are being used for supply of timber, paper and match industries. These industries are located in the Ganga plain adjoining the Garhwal hills. The khair forest occurring in the lower hills are feeding the Kattha industries located at Kotdwar and other foothill towns of U.P. The pine forests are being extensively tapped for the production of resin. Individual trees not below the 35 cm. Diameter class are being tapped all over the district. This resin is transported to the resin and turpentine factories. These forests are also yield pulpwood (for paper industry), wood for match industry, Gums, Tannins, Paint fibre, Canes and minor forests products. The local people depend on these forests to a great extent. They derive their fuel wood for cooking & heating purpose, fodder for cattle, grasses for thatching of roofs, small wood for agricultural implements, timber for house building & furniture from these forests. In this area over 90% of the cattle owned by local people graze in these forests.
Riverine forests are found upto 500 m. to the south of the district, along its rivers and streams. The tree species that are reported to be dominant are Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo, Holptelea intergrifolia, interspersed with shrubs like Adhatoda zeylanica, Pogostemon benghalense and Murraya Koenigii, etc. Occasionally, pure patches of Dalbergia sissoo and Acacia catechu are also found along riverbeds. Forests of the Bhabar area are mainly composed of miscellaneous deciduous species such as Mallotus philippensis, Bombax ceiba, Adina Cordifolia, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Cassia fistula, etc. The main shrubs found in association are Zizyphus mauritiana, Z.oenophilia and Helicteres isora, etc.
The sub-deciduous Shorea robustais the most significant of species that is generally found upto elevations of about 750 m. on southern slopes and upto 1200 m. on northern slopes. This widely distributed species is mainly found in association with Anogeissus latifolia, Desmodium oojeinense,Bauhina roxburghiana, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia alata, Butea monosperma etc. among tree-species and Clerodendrum viscosum, Desmodium spp., Murraya koenigii etc. among shrubs.
In moist localities along riverbanks, evergreen forests are found upto elevations of 800 m. The dominant tree-species here are Syzygium cumini, Trewai nudiflora, Mallotus philippensis, Alstonia scholaris etc., with Ardisia solanacea, Murraya koenigii, Adhtoda zeylanica and Golfussia delhousianna etc. as the main shrub species.
Hill slopes upto an elevation of 1200 m. are dominated by miscellaneous deciduous forests. Pinus roxburghii grows on the higher elevations of these forests with the other dominant species being Anogeissus latifolia. The mail tree associates are Terminalia alata, Bauhinia app., Mallotus philippensis, Aegle marmelos, Bombax cieba, Phyllanthus embelica etc., with the undergrowth made up of shrubs like Rhus parviflora, Woodfordia fruticosa and Indigoferra spp. It is observed that Pinus roxburghii forming pure stands occupy a large part of the area between 800-1500 m.
The Querchus leucotrichophora or Banj forest occurs in the main Himalayan range between 1500-2300 mts. and is extensively distributed. The comman associates of the Banj forest are Rhododendron arboreum, Pyrus pashia, Lyonia ovalifolia and Myrica esculenta. Luxuriant stands of Quercus dilatata or Maru and Q.semecarpifolia or Kharsu occur between 2000-2800 m. Patches of mixed coniferous forest consisting of Abies pindrow, Pinus wallichiana, Cedrus deodara and cupressus torulosa are frequently reported between 2000-3200 mts.