Tropical Thorn Forests in Indian Subcontinent

Tropical Thorn Forests in Indian Subcontinent

Tropical Thorn Forests in Indian Subcontinent

The Thorn Forests are found in the semi-arid areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. Tropical thorn forests occur in the areas which receive rainfall less than 50 cm. These forests occur in the areas where annual rainfall is between 20 to 70 cm, the dry season is hot and very long. They are found in South Punjab, most of Rajasthan, and part of Gujarat. These consist of a variety of grasses and shrubs. It includes semi-arid areas of south-west Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

The main animals found in Thorn forests are as follows:- Wolf, Rats and Mice, Rabbits, Fox, Tigers and Lions, Wild Ass, Horses, Camels, Spotted Dear, Tibetan Antelope, Wild Sheep, etc.

Thorn Forest is a type of desert formation which has scrub-like vegetation. In these forests, plants remain leafless for the most part of the year and give an expression of scrub vegetation. Acacias, palms, euphorbias, and cacti are the main plant species. Important species found are babool, ber, and wild date palm, khair, neem, kheiri, palm, etc. Tussocky grass grows up to a height of 2 m as the undergrowth. They are mostly tropical and subtropical forests having trees and plants with armed thorns and spines. The forests remain leafless for the most part of the year and are sometimes called thorn scrub or scrub jungles. Trees are scattered and have long roots penetrating deep into the soil in order to get moisture. Leaves are modified into spines (thorns) and are small to minimize transpiration. The vegetation found here is often short and small with few tall trees set against the sparse ground where grass lacks.

A thorn forest is dense, scrub like vegetation characteristic of dry subtropical and warm temperate areas with a seasonal rainfall averaging. The plants and trees found across the Thorn forests are adapted to the semi-arid and arid nature of the land. This vegetation covers a large part of southwestern North America and southwestern Africa and smaller areas in Africa, South America, and Australia. The vegetation is adapted to the hot temperatures and harsh climatic conditions. Trees typically do not exceed in height, usually averaging between tall.

Climatic Conditions

  • The Thorn Forests and Scrubs are found in regions where the rainfall is less than 70cm.
  • Humidity is less than 50 percent.
  • The mean temperature is 25°-30°C.
  • Thorn forests experience very little rainfall and are prevalent in the arid regions.


  • The trees are low (6 to 10 meters maximum) and widely scattered.
  • The vegetation in these forests is thorny trees and bushes.
  • Acacias and Euphorbias are very prominent.
  • The Indian wild date is common. Some grasses also grow in the rainy season.
  • The leaves of the trees and shrubs found have thick and small leaves which helps in minimizing evaporation.
  • The plants are leafless for the majority part of the year and are scattered.
  • The general length of the trees ranges between 6 to 10 meters, which is low as compared to other forms of vegetation or forests.