Bihar has TropicalMonsoon or Dry Deciduous Forests as it has a continental monsoon type of climate. In Bihar, forest areas are majorly located in the Terai belt of the Himalayas and the Southern Plateau region. The state receives its about 85% to 90% rainfall within 3 to 4 months and the rest of the months of the year remain almost dry. The vegetation of Kaimur hills region and Shiwalik range in Bihar is greatly affected by the high elevation.
Forests in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)
Bihar has geographical area of 94,163 sq km. As per India State of Forest Report, 2017, the Recorded (total) Forest area of the state is 6,877 sq km which is 7.30% of the state’s total geographical area. This percentage is very low in terms of environmental management, because as per National Forest Policy, 1988, each state of India must cover its 33.33% geographical area under forests.
Forest Cover in Bihar
According to India State of Forest Report, 2017, the total forest cover of Bihar is 7,299 sq km, which is 7.75% of the state’s geographical area. Out of this, Very Dense Forest is 332 sq km, (0.035%),Moderately Dense Forest is 3,260 sq km (3.46%) and Open Forests is 3799 sq km (3.94%). The total forest and tree cover of Bihar is 9562 sq km, which is 10.15% of the geographical area of Bihar. As per the India State of Forest Report, 2017, Kaimur district (Bhabua) has the largest forest cover (1,071 sq km), while Jehanabad district has the least forest cover (0 sq km) in Bihar.
District-Wise Forest Cover In Bihar (in sq km)
Geographical Area (GA)
Total Forest Cover
% of GA
* Source India State of Forest Report, 2017
Tree Cover in Bihar
Tree cover is defined as small tree patches and isolated trees outside Recorded Forest Area which are less than one hectare in extent. Tree cover of the state has been estimated using Tree Outside Forest (TOF) inventory data collected over a period of six years. As per India State of Forest Report, 2017, the estimated tree cover in the state is 2,263 sq km, which is 2.40% of its geographical area.
Forest and Tree Cover
Area (in sq km)
Total Forest and Tree
* Source India State of Forest Report, 2017
Classification of Bihar Forest (Bihar GK in English)
The forests of Bihar are classified into two types on the basis of administrative and on the basis of geographical conditions.
On the basis of climate and rainfall, forests in Bihar are classified into two types.
Dry Deciduous Forests
➤ These are the most abundant forest in Bihar. Dry deciduous forests are found in both, the plains and the peninsular region in the Southern districts.
➤ They are found in the regions with less than 120 cm rainfall. These forests are small in height.
➤ These forests are found mainly in East-central parts and Western parts of Southern plateau region in Bihar which are located in hills.
➤ Amaltas, shisam, mahua, khair, palash, amla, harr and bahera, sawai and kush are main tree species here. Sal mixed dry deciduous forests (Northern dry mixed deciduous forests) occupy major proportion under natural vegetation cover.
➤ The dry deciduous forests are found in both the plains and the peninsular region in the Southern districts of Bihar.
Moist Deciduous Forests
These forests are found in Terai belt and Someshwar and Doon hill ranges.Here, rainfall is more than 120 cm therefore, dense forests are found. Sal is the most abundant tree here. These forests shed their leaves in summer season. Semal, Champa, Ashok, Ken,Mango and Jamun, Karanj are other varieties found here.
Sal mixed moist deciduous forests (Northern moist Sal bearing forests) are distributed mainly inWest Champaran and partly in the valleys of Kaimur, Rohtas, Aurangabad,Gaya,Nalanda,Nawada, Jamui, Saharsa, Purnea, Banka and Munger.
These forests are classified into two parts:
i. Terai Region Forests
➤ These forests are found in the North-West and North-East Highlands and swampy lands of Terai regions of Shiwalik Himalayas. Swampy grounds are found in these forests.
➤ Terai forests are found in a narrow belt in the districts of Saharsa, Purnea, Araria and Kishanganj.
➤ In Terai region forests, sal trees are found only in the Northern most marginal areas.
➤ Bamboo, giant reed (Narkat), semal, bushes and grasses are important tree species here.
➤ Canebrakes (tropical seasonal swamp forests) are predominantly found in West Champaran district of Bihar.
ii. Someshwar and Doon Range Forests
➤ These forests receive more than 160 cm rainfall. These forests are found in West Champaran.
➤ Sal, Khair and Shisham are important tree species here.
➤ As these forest are located at great height thus, Savannah type of forests or small trees with grasslands are also found here.
➤ Someshwar series of Bihar consists of shrubs, grass and reeds and younger than Parasnath, Rajmahal and Kharagpur mountain series.
On the basis of protection, the forests of Bihar are classified into three groups such as:
Reserved Forests Those forests which are permanently earmarked either to the production of timber or other forest produced in which right of grazing and cultivation is not allowed are known as reserved forests.The reserved forest area of Bihar is 693 sq km (10.08% of total forest cover) as per India State of Forest Report, 2017.
Protected Forests Those forests where the right of grazing and cultivation are allowed subject to a few minor restrictions are known as the protected forests. The protected forest area of Bihar is 6,183 sq km (89.91% of total forest cover) as per India State of Forest Report, 2017.
Unclassed Forests These forests are out of the categories of reserved and protected forests and there is no restriction on the cutting of trees and grazing of cattle. The unclassed forest area in Bihar is 0.68 sq km (0.01%) as per India State of Forest Report, 2017.
Importance of Forests of Bihar
Forests are important in order to maintain ecological balance and provide raw materials to various industries.Many finest products are found from the forests of Bihar which :
Sal Its wood is hard and durable. Its rasin is used for making incense sticks and medicines. Its wood is used for making furniture, buildings, boats, railway tracks, etc.
Semal It is soft, light and white in colour. It is known as ‘Cotton Tree’ as white coloured fibre is extracted from its fruits which is used in hospitals and for treatment at homes.
Shisham (Indian Rosewood) Its wood is very hard which is used to make furniture, buildings, etc. Its leaves and roots are also very important. Its leaves have protein which are used as pasture for animal.
Lac It is formed by Laccifer lacca insects which are found on banyan, kusum, sacred tree (Palash), cluster fig (Gular), etc. These insects colonize the branches of these trees and secrete the resinous pigment which after processing becomes lac.
Toona sinensis or ChineseMahogany This tree is found on the mountain slopes in Bihar. Its wood is very durable and hard which is used to make furniture and toys.
Bamboo, Tendu Leaves and Sabai Grass These are used to produce many products like baskets, toys, etc. Sabai grass is grown in Bhagalpur district.
Tussar It is a type of silk which is obtained from larvae of several species of silkworms which are found on Arjun trees in Bhagalpur forests.
Forest Development Agency in Bihar
This agency was established by Indian Government took decision for forestry development, security and its promotion in any state with the help of communities and local people.With the help of this agency a number of forestry development programmes and schemes are being implemented in the state such as National Afforestation Scheme,National Mission for Green India (GIM), Tussar Food Plantation, etc.
Under Green India Mission, a multi-dimensional plan has been developed for four regions of Bihar. These are Aghava (Kaimur),Dharahara (Bhagalpur), Banka and Imamganj (Gaya). In order to conserve environment and wildlife, 9th August is celebrated as Earth Day in Bihar every year.
Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Bihar
The conservation of the forest has attracted the attention of the government and other authorities of Bihar because of increasing problems of soil erosion, unbalancing ecological conditions and surface runoff, flood, drought, etc have increased.
After the recommendation of the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA 1972) many State Governments including Bihar established Forest Development Corporations (FDCs) in 1975. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) was formed in 1985. Each state including Bihar plans and implements its environmental policies according to its necessity.
Forest Development Schemes in Bihar
Important forest develpment schemes in Bihar :
MukhyaMantri Niji Paudhshala Yojana This scheme was launched in 2013 by the the state government. The aim of this scheme to plant more poplar trees and increase forestry. Under this scheme, farmers and entrepreneurs have to set up nurseries and grow plants of high quality which will help to achieve the aim of foresty. Under this scheme, semul, amaltas,mahua, Indian rosewood, shisham, bamboo, etc will be grown.
Har Parisar,Hara Parisar This scheme was launched in 2015 by the environment, forest and climate change department of Bihar. The aim of this scheme is to increase plantation in campuses of the state like, schools, colleges, religious institutions, offices, government and non-government organisations, etc. It also aims to increase the beautification of urban cities and purify the environment.
Agro Forestry Scheme This scheme was started in the year 2013-14. This scheme is being implemented with the help of Bihar’s farmers. The aim of this scheme is to make ‘Hariyali Mission’ successful.
A target of 5 years has been set up to plant 6 crore plants (3.6 crore poplar trees and 2.4 crore other tree species) under this scheme. An agriculture road map for 10 years (from the year 2012-2022) has also been set up to achieve afforestation which is known as HariyaliMission. Under this scheme, farmers will get plants during monsoon season.
It is a part of agro-forestry scheme. It aims to increase the forest cover of Bihar from the present forest cover i.e. 10.15% to 15%. The objects of this mission are to increase the income of farmers, provide livelihood to the families of Below Poverty Line (BPL), supply raw materials and to develop industrialisation in the state. Under this mission, afforestation has been done along the banks of rivers and along the canals, roads and on the lands which are not in use for agriculture. It also established ecological balance. Through this mission, the state government is planning to develop the concepts related to forestry research such as identification of high quality trees and programmes related to climate change and so on. The research is being done by the state government with the assistance of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, over the plant species of Agro- forestry such as poplar, Indian rosewood, China berry Eucalyptus, etc.
ChiefMinister Student Plantation Scheme This scheme was launched on the 60th Independence Day of India (15th August), in 2006 by the then Chief Minister of Bihar,Nitish Kumar. This scheme was launched to promote the Environmental Conservation Programmes at school level. This scheme includes all the students of Class-6 which are enrolled in the government and non-government schools in the state.
ChiefMinister Urban Forestry Scheme This scheme was launched in the year 2013-14. The aim of this scheme is to change the traditional urban forestry into ‘Green Belt’. Patna,Gaya, Bhagalpur,Darbhanga, Rajgir and Mazaffarpur districts have been covered under this scheme.