By Iqbal Husain

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However, beginning in the late twentieth century, forest depletion accelerated considerably to make room for more agriculture and urban-industrial development. This has taken its toll on many Indian plant species. About 20 species of higher-order plants are believed to have become extinct, and already some 1,300 species are considered to be endangered. Tropical evergreen and mixed evergreen-deciduous forests generally occupy areas with more than 80 inches (2,000 28 IN D IA millimetres} of rainfall per year, mainly in upper Assam, the Western Ghats (especially in Kerala), parts of Orissa, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Far off the eastern coast, separating the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, lie the considerably larger and hillier chains of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, together with their tributaries, drain about one-third of India. The Ganges (Ganga), the longest river course in India and considered sacred by the Hindu population, is 1,560 miles (2,510 kilometres) long. Although the total length of the Brahmaputra (about 1,800 miles; 2,900 kilometres) exceeds that of the Ganges, only 450 miles (725 kilometres) of its course lies within India.

The climate India provides the world's most-pronounced example of a monsoon climate. The wet and dry seasons of the monsoon system, along with the annual temperature fluctuations, produce (with some variations) three general climatic periods over much of the country: (i) hot, wet weather from about mid-June to the end of September, (ii) cool, dry weather from early October to February, and (iii) hot, dry weather (though INDI A 25 normally with high atmospheric humidity) from about March to mid-June.

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