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Natural vegetation and wildlife

India is one of the 12 mega biodiverse countries in the world in plant and animal diversity.
In-plant diversity:
  • 10th place in the world and 4th is in Asia with having approximately 47,000 plant species in India.
  • Approx. 15000 flowering plants comprise 6 % of the world's total number of flower plants.
In animal diversity:
  • Approx. 90,000 animal species with a rich variety of fish in fresh as well as in marine water.
  • Natural vegetation;
  • It refers to plat communities that are grown naturally without the help of humans and left undisturbed by humans over a long period of time. It is also known as virgin vegetation.

Types of natural vegetation:
Two types of natural vegetation:
  • Endemic or indigenous
  • Exotic plants
Endemic :
The plants which are purely Indian are called endemic.

Exotic plants:
The vegetation which came from outside India is termed exotic plants.

Flora word is used to denote plants of a particular region over the period.

The species of animals are referred to as fauna.

The huge diversity of flora and fauna is due to the following factors:
  • Relief: land, soils
    • Land:
    • Different type of vegetation is found in mountain, plateau, and plain areas.
    • Fertile land is used for agriculture.
    • Rough terrain is for grassland and woodland.
    • Different types of vegetation are found in different soil.
    • Sandy soils: cactus, thorny bushes vegetation.
    • Wet, marshy, deltaic soils: Mangrove vegetation.
    • Hillslope with a depth of soil:
    • Conical trees.
  • Climate:
    • Three major deciding factors:
      • Temperature
      • Photoperiod ( sunlight)
      • Precipitation
    • Temperature:
      • Based on the temperature tropical, subtropical, temperate, and alpine vegetation are grown.
      • Tropical:
        • Mean temp. More than 24' C
        • Mean temp. In January: more than 18' C
      • Subtropical:
        • 17 to 24
        • 10 to 18 c
      • Temperate:
        • 7 to 17 ' C
        • -1 to -10 C
      • Alpine:
        • -7C
        • Less than -1 c
  • Photoperiod:
    • Due to the larger duration of sunlight in the summer season, the tree is grown faster.
  • Precipitation:
    • Dense vegetation is grown in heavy rainfall areas.

Importance of forest:

The following are important:

  • Enhance the quality of the environment
  • Forest modifies local climate, and temperature, and causes rainfall.
  • Control soil erosion
  • Regulate streamflow
  • Provide a scenic view
  • Provide humus to the soils
  • Habitats to wildlife
  • Support a variety of industries
  • Provide fuel
  • Control wind forces
  • Control soil erosion.

As per the 2011 India state forest report:

  • Forest cover in India is 21.05 %
  • Highest forest cover in %: Mizoram 90%
  • Lakhswadeep 85%
  • Andaman and Nicobar 81 %
  • Arunachal Pradesh 80 %
  • Punjab and Haryana: 5 %
Types of vegetation in our country

  • Tropical evergreen forest
  • Tropical Deciduous Forest
  • Tropical thorny shrub forest
  • Montane forest
  • mangrove forest
Tropical evergreen forest:
  • These forests are found in heavy rainfall areas ( more than 200 cm annual)
  • Great height: 60 meter
  • Since warm and wet climate all the year, hence luxurious vegetation of all types such as a tree, shrubs, creepers. It gives a multilayer structure of vegetation.
  • Vegetation appears green all the year, as no definite time to shed their leaves.
  • Vegetation such as Ebony, Mahogany, Rosewood, Rubber.
  • A common animal such as:
    • Elephant, one Horne rhinoceros, monkey, lemur, deer
  • Areas;
    • Western Ghats
    • Lakshadweep
    • Andaman Nicobar
    • Tamil Nadu coast
    • The upper part of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
Tropical deciduous forest:
  • It is also known as the monsoon forest.
  • Spread in a large part of India.
  • Rainfall 200Cm to 70 cm
  • Shed their leaves for about six to eight weeks in dry summer.
  • It is further divided into:
    • Moist tropical deciduous forest
    • Dry deciduous forest
    • Moist deciduous forest:
  • Found in areas between 200 to 100 cm rainfall.
  • Trees are:
    • Teak, Bamboos, Sal, Shisham, Sandal Wood, Khair.
  • Areas;
    • Eastern part of India
    • Northeastern states
    • Foothills of Himalayan
    • Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhatisgarh

Dry deciduous forest:
  • Found in rainfall areas between 100 to 70 cm
  • Trees:
  • Teak, sal, peepal, and been
  • Parts of peninsular plateau, plain areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The thorny forest and shrubs:
  • Rainfall was less than 70 cm.
  • Plants:
    • Acacias
    • Palm
    • Eupharhias
    • Thorny trees and bushes
  • Animals:
    • Lion, rats, tiger, fox, deer, camel, horses, wild ass, rabbit
  • Trees have a long roots and penetrate deep into the soil to get moisture.
  • Leaves are small and thick to minimize evaporation.
Montane Forest:
  • In mountainous areas, the decrease in temperature with increasing with height leads to a change in vegetation.
  • The succession of natural vegetation belts in the same order as we see in tropical to tundra regions.
  • 1000 to 2000 meters: wet temperate forest, evergreen broadleaf trees such as oaks.
  • 1500 to 3000 meters: Temperate forest. Coniferous trees such as pines, deodar, silver for, and cedar. These trees mostly covered the southern slope of the Himalayan.
  • 3,600 meters or more altitude: Alpine vegetation
  • Higher altitude: Mosses and lichens form parts of tundra vegetation.
  • Common animal:
    • Kashmir stag, spotted deer, yak, snow leopard, wild sheep, Tibetan antelope.
Mangrove forest:
  • The mangrove forest is found in coastal areas where the least influence of tides, Mud, and silt gets accumulated.
  • Root if plants submerged under Water.
  • Sundary trees are found in Ganga Brahmaputra delta.
  • Animals:
    • Royal Bengal tiger, turtle, crocodile, gharial, and snakes.
  • Medicinal plants:
    • 2000 plants described by Ayurveda.
    • Sarpgandha: use to control blood sugar.
    • Jamun: use to control diabetes.
    • Neem: has high antibiotics And anti-bacterial properties.
    • Tulsi uses to cure cough and cold.

India has:
  • 90,000 animal species
  • 2000 bird species which comprises 13 % of the world
  • 2,546 species of fish 12 % of the world's total.
  • India has 5 to 8 % of the world's reptiles and mammals.
  • The elephant in life in hot wet Forest
  • One Horne rhinoceros: lives in swamps and marshy lands.
  • Wild ass and camels: arid areas of rann of Kachchi, Thar desert.
  • India's Bison, deer, and several species of monkey.
  • 1972: wildlife protection act.
  • India is the only country that has both a lion and a tiger.
  • Gir forest in Gujarat is home to an Indian lion.
  • Mp, Sundarbans, and Himalayan region are home to Tiger.
  • In the Himalayan region yak, wild ox, Tibetan antelope, snow leopard, and red panda.
  • Every species has a role to play in ecosystems. Hence, conservation is needed.
  • As insects help pollination of crops.
  • Due to the excessive exploitation of plants and animal resources by human beings, the ecosystems have been disturbed.
  • 1300 plants species endangered
  • Many species are extinct and endangered.
  • The major threat by:
    • Hunting
    • Pollution is due to chemical and industrial waste and acid deposits.
    • Introduction of alien species
    • Reckless cutting of forests leads to habitat loss
Conservation measure:
  • 18 biosphere reserves are set up for flora and fauna. 10 of these included the world network of the biosphere reserve.
  • Financial and technical assistance to many botanical gardens such as Kachh, cold desert, Seschachalam, Panna
  • Project tiger, project Rhino, project great Indian Bustard.
  • 103 national parks, 535 wildlife sanctuaries, and zoological garden.

Try to solve the following question:

  • Identify the importance of biotic resource regions of India and highlight their problems. ( UPSC 2016,250 words, 20 marks)
  • Evaluate the impact of technology on resource utilization in India. (UPSC 2016, 200 words, 15 marks)

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