The hillocks on the plateau mostly form part of the dolerite dykes that run criss-cross all over the plateau. They are very low and in chains. Their top boulders are exposed. The thin soil has scrubs and bushes, chiefly some chasmophytes
The hills fringing the central plateau are granitic in nature, low and covered with a few small trees or are completely barren. Lantana and other exotic weeds are seen. The wooded hillocks show sal or a mixed forest of deciduous species or bamboo.
All such lands as are too far from towns and villages or are protected from grazing and cutting are followed by Anona squamosa, Eugenia species, Palms, Gynnosporia montana and Butea mono sperma, ultimately leading to a pioneer monsoon forest. Cultivated fields surrounding isolated villages, which are located mostly near the roads and railways, occupy the major part of the plateau.
The northern and western faces of the hills are covered over with almost pure stands of sal and other species.
As the railway lines and roads have been taken to the most distant parts for easy exploitation of mineral resources, numerous railway stations and townships have sprung up, near which there has been much cutting of forest and grazing. In such areas are seen combretum decandrum, Acacia species, bamboo, neem, holarrhena, Flacourtia, woodfordia, Phoenix acaulis and Lygodium species and Lantana camara, croton sparsiflours, cassia species and hyptis suaveolens near the fringes
In the Dhalbhum area the forests are mainly on the open ridges and in the undulating valleys and belong mainly to the reserved and protected types. The forests are very dense and contain tall trees both evergreen and deciduous standing close together and bearing lots of mistletoes, orchids and other epiphytes and thick undergrowth. The trees have mentioned before. Some of the hill tops barren due to exploitation for minerals.
The Ghatshila-Chakulia area, along the side of the railway line and the road is a comparatively level country much land having been brought under cultivation and only trees of importance to the villages such as mahua, Sahijana, neem, bargad, peepal, khajur, aam imli, papaya, katahall and ber are seen. On the hill side, in these areas there are forests present but they have been much exploited for a pretty long time and the jungles are in a poor state
The north Kolhan area and the South Porahat area – The condition here is bad so far as the vegetation is concerned. There has been much cutting and grazing. On the slopes of the hills are seen,sal with Gardenia Specics, Dillenia aurea, phoenix acaulis valleys sal with careya arborea and Dillenia pentagta, asan harra,kusum and pterocarpus marsupium. On the even lands, a few salai, dhaura, cheistanthus collinus, lannea grandis, Sterrculia urens, Co-chlospermum gossypium, bamboo and khajur are seen. Self introduced herbs like scoparia dulcis, Ageratum conyoides, clerodendron infortunatum are seen
The hill ranges on the north-eastern boundary between Anandpur and Bandagaon – There is a steep rise of about 1500 feet the mountain range being crossed by a ghat to reach the ranchi district. The ghat area is covered with protected forest. Being the southern face, the jungle is not very thick and the species are mostly xerophilous ones.
Sal is present but the plants are bot very tall and not close together. It is accompanied by many white barked trees (Sterculia urens) as elsewhere and also a few mahua, peepal, semal, palas, aam and kydia calycina accompained by climbers like combretum decandrum, discoreas, Smilax species, and vitis species the under shrubs are amla, woodfordia, Indigofera pulchella and tall grasses
Interesting Plants of the District
The Gymnosperm, Gnetum scandens is found in this district in the valleys. The stemless palm, phoenix acaulis, though seen elsewhere also on the Chotanagpur and Palamau plateaux is abundant. Especially in the area south of Tatanagar Cassytha filliformis, the green thread like parasite, several species of loranthus and several epiphytic orchids are seen here. The white barked gouty stemmed trees of Sterculia urens and Boswellia serrata are very conspicuous against the background of the black rocks
These forests are found scattered throughout the district but the bulk lies in south-western parts where it runs unbroken in long stretches covering a number of steep rocky hills and intervening valleys. This type of topography becomes a determining factor in the distribution, nature and type of vegetation which varies from a dry thorny type on very dry, exposed, badly eroded rocky hills to semi-evergreen type in sheltered damp valleys. But apart from these two extreme types, the ruling vegetation is moist tropical deciduous forest which tends to become dry deciduous on ridges and exposed spurs on open southern aspects.
Elephants are frequently met with in the forests of this district and their number seems to be on the increase. Wild elephants are common in the jungles on the Dalma range in the north of the district. Heavy damage is caused mainly in rains to cultivation, young bamboo clumps and regeneration areas. In drier periods of the year they confine themselves to damp valleys. Bisions are present but in more interior areas except in the rains when they are seen roaming about in open areas. Sasangda plateau of Karampada block may be mentioned in this respect where all kinds of animals may be seen roaming about especially by the end of rains.
Tigers and panthers are present but make very rare appearance. At times they do attack village cattle and in stray cases human beings. Bears are present in large number and attack at times human being and do heavy damage to crops and fruits. Pigs are present in fairly large number and cause damage to cultivation. Wild dogs are seen frequently
The reasons for the slow decrease in the number of sambhar and deer are several. With the opening out of the forests, the incidence of breeding of game has gone down. The Ho with his bow and arrow and his great fondness for hunting will not fail to kill a deer if he gets a chance. The practice of shooting from motor cars at night with the help of spotlight, though this is prohibited, is still prevalent and is another cause of the decrease of game.