Whenever going for a long trek it is always helpful to know the basic characteristics of a region. You then know what to look for. This is particularly true in the case of Chamoli since the area has a lot of diversity in altitudes and hence plant life. With an average elevation of 1,293 m, Chamoli can give any place a run for its money with its 60-80% forest cover, home to a mystifying assortment of foliage, flowers, birds, animals, fishes and butterflies.
The plant life in the Chamoli hills is beautifully adapted for the different altitudes and seasons. The pine tree cover between the elevation of 1, 000-2, 000 m flower every February and April with the seeds shedding in October. The trees are used as sources of resin and manure (dry leaves). In fact, the largest pine tree (60.5 m) in Asia is growing at Khoonidad, on the way from Arakot from Mori. Beyond an elevation of 2,000 m sees the population of Deodar, Oak, Rhododendron, Spruce, Birch and Fir trees.
Another common species in the area beyond 4,500 m is Bugyal shrubs. They are well-known for wild flowers carpeting the hills with their bright and fresh colors. The rare and exotic ‘Blue Poppy’ is also found in the area and its beauty is only matched by the Snow Lotus (or Hemkamal) with its silk like powder blue petals. Another exceptional flower is the Brahmakamal or 'the lotus of Brahma' which is often used in special religious practices.
The animal life certainly is a big competition to the diversity of the plants. Though most of the animals are wild, they are becoming rarer by the day due to illegal poaching. Animals like Snow Leopard, Leopard, Tiger, Leopard Cat, Civet Cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Bharal, Serow, Musk Deer, Barking Deer and Sambar are generally found here. The bears are usually very agile and dexterous, climbing extremely tall trees at one go. The Musk Deers have been illegally poached for their Musk pods but now they are exceedingly endangered and hence protected species.
The reptile population consists of the viviparous and Nocturnal Cobra, Russell’s viper snake and Necklace Snake. Another prominent species in Chamoli is the two feet Monitor Lizard, locally called the Goh or Gumla. The Avian population consists of Kalij, Kokla, Chir, Monal, Himalayan Snow Cock, Kala Titar, Chakor, Harial, Fakta, Malyo Or Blue Rock Pigeon, Magpie, Thrush, Paradise Fly - Catcher, Parakeet, Golden Oriole, Sunbird, Robin Swifts, Skylarks, Swallows, Warblers, Bulbuls And Mynahs.