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Forest Types

RNP comprises six major vegetation types (out of 36 types) viz. Moist Alpine Scrub, Birch-Rhododendron forest, Fir forest, Upper Temperate Blue Pine forest, Spruce forest, and Lower Tropical Sal and Mixed Broad leaved forest. The forests of the park can be categorized into four major types: Blue Pine Forest, Fir Forest, Birch-Rhododendron Forest and Alpine Meadows. The edges of the forest-land have a number of berry-bearing plant species like Berberis, Cotoneaster, Rosa, etc. The lake is comprised of patches of marsh and reeds.


The area around the lake is dominated by Blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) and this dominance continues up to 3,200 m. Rhododendron, Black juniper, West Himalayan spruce, Khashru, and Himalayan cypress are other associated species. Above this elevation, the vegetation is replaced with mixed coniferous forest of pine, spruce and fir. At about 3,350 m., Pine and Spruce give way to Fir, Oak and Birch forest. Other deciduous tree species such as Indian horse-chestnut, walnut and Himalayan poplar are also found.


The dominant coniferous forest is between 3,200 m and 3,600 m comprised of Fir (Abies spectabilis). Quercus semecarpifolia is commonly associated with it and becomes dominant towards the top of the hill-side. Together with Birch (Betula utilis), Indian horse–chest-nut (Aesculus indica), Walnut (Juglans regia) and Himalayan poplar (Populus ciliata) are other associates as in the lower altitudinal zone.


Above 3600 m Fir forest is replaced by Birch (Betula utilis) forest. Above 3700 m, Birch tends to be dwarf and mixed with Rhododendron (Rhododendron campanulatum) forming a continuous cover. The other associated species are Prunus rafa, Potentilla fructicosa, Polygonatum cirrhifolium, and dwarf Rhododendron lepidotum as well as Juniperus indica.


The alpine vegetation occurring in this area above the tree line mainly comprises of alpine scrub (3700 m – 4400 m) that consists of Juniperus indica, J. lindleyana and alpine grasses (4,200 m – 5,000 m) which consists of Aletris paucifloraCarex atrofusca, Juncus himalensis, Kobresia duthiei, Parnasia nubicola, and Polygonum spp.