The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a tropical rainforest canopy, made of a mixed flora with elements from Indian, Myanmar, Malaysian and endemic floral strains. So far, about 2,200 varieties of plants have been recorded, out of which 200 are endemic and 1,300 do not occur in mainland India.
The South Andaman forests have a profuse growth of epiphytic vegetation, mostly ferns and orchids. The Middle Andaman’s harbors mostly moist deciduous forests. North Andaman’s is characterized by the wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers. The North Nicobar Islands (including Car Nicobar and Battimalv) are marked by the complete absence of evergreen forests, while such forests form the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group. Grasslands occur only in the Nicobars, and while deciduous forests are common in the Andaman’s, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. The present forest coverage is claimed to be 86.2% of the total land area.
This atypical forest coverage is made up of twelve types, namely:
- Giant evergreen forest
- Andaman’s tropical evergreen forest
- Southern hilltop tropical evergreen forest
- Cane brakes
- Wet bamboo brakes
- Andaman’s semi-evergreen forest
- Andaman’s moist deciduous forest
- Andaman’s secondary moist deciduous forest
- Littoral forest
- Mangrove forest
- Brackish water mixed forest
- Submontane forest