The climate of the Himalayas ranges from tropical at the base of the mountains to permanent ice and snow at the highest elevations. The amount of yearly rainfall increases from west to east along the front of the range. This diversity of climate,
altitude, rainfall, and soil conditions generates a variety of distinct plant and animal communities. On the Indo-Gangetic plain at the base of the mountains, an alluvial plain drained by the Indus and Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems, vegetation varies from west to east with rainfall. The xeric Northwestern thorn scrub forests occupy the plains of Pakistan and the Indian Punjab. Further east lie the Upper Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and the Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Bihar and West Bengal. These are monsoon forests, with drought-deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season.
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