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Natural vegetation and wildlife exist only in the narrow zone of contact between the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere that we call biosphere. In the biosphere living beings are inter-related and interdependent on each other for survival. This life supporting system is known as the ecosystem. Vegetation and wildlife are valuable resources. Plants provide us with timber, give shelter to animals, produce oxygen we breathe, protects soils so essential for growing crops, act as shelter belts, help in storage of underground water, give us fruits, nuts, latex, turpentine oil, gum, medicinal plants and also the paper that is so essential for your studies. There are innumerable uses of plants and you can add some more. Wildlife includes animals, birds, insects as well as the aquatic life forms. They provide us milk, meat, hides and wool. Insects like bees provide us honey, help in pollination of flowers and have an important role to play as decomposers in the ecosystem. The birds feed on insects and act as decomposers as well. Vulture due to its ability to feed on dead livestock is a scavenger and considered a vital cleanser of the environment. So animals big or small, all are integral to maintaining balance in the ecosystem.
Tropical Rainforest :
The tropical rain forest or Evergreen forest, of India supports a diversity of plant and animal species and it's biotic system is constantly being stressed by various human activities. Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet forests. They are havens for millions of plants and animals and are extremely important in the ecology of the Earth. These plants are also very important to people in other ways; many are used in new drugs that fight disease and illness. They occupy about seven per cent of the earth's land surface and have more than half of the world’s plants and animals. They are found mostly near the equator. These forests are dense and multi-layered. The trees are evergreen as there is no period of drought. They are mostly tall and hardwood type. Leaves are broad and give out excess water through transpiration.
Area: In India, evergreen forests are found in the western slopes of the Western Ghats in States such as Kerala and Karnataka. They are also found in hills of Jaintia and Khasi, parts of West Bengal, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Climate: The tropical evergreen forests usually occur in areas receiving more than 200 cm of rainfall and having a temperature of 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. Flora: The trees found in Indian Tropical Forests are rosewood, mahogany and ebony. Bamboos and reeds are also common. Fauna: They provides shelter to elephants, gaur and other large animals. Himalayan animals such as tahr, pine marten and European Otter, live here. The other species found in this region are Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri brown mongoose, stripenecked mongoose, lion-tailed macaque, slender toris, malabar civet and spring mouse. In north eastern part, hoolock gibbon and golden langur are found. Binturong, red-pandas, slow lories are the characteristics of this part. Giant squirrel, civets and bats also dwell in these tropical rain forests.
Tropical Deciduous Forest
Deciduous forests have predominantly broad-leafed trees. They shed their leaves for six to eight weeks during the dry season, usually from March to May, to prevent the loss of moisture through evapo-transpiration. Area: They occur on the wetter western side of the Deccan Plateau, the north-eastern part of the Deccan Plateau and the lower slopes of the Himalayas, on the Siwalik Hills from Jammu in the west to West Bengal in the east.
They cover parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Climate: The tropical monsoon deciduous forests are found in areas receiving annual rainfall of 100 to 200 cms in India, with a distinct dry and rainy seasons and a small range of temperature. Flora: The principal trees of these forests are teak, sal, sandalwood, mahua, khair, mango, jackfruit, wattle and bamboo, semal, sisasm, myrobalan, arjun and the banyan tree. Fauna: Some important wild animals of these forests are Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus), Sambar (Cerves unicolor), Cheetal (Axis axis), Wild buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis), Tiger (Panthera tigris), Leopard (Panthera pardus), etc.
USES OF NATURAL VEGEGATION AND WILDLIFE
Many agricultural species are grown for single products and for specialized uses, but forest trees are often grown for more than just pulp or timber, and even those products have multiple end uses. People began life on this planet as forest dwellers. They were food gatherers and depended on the forest for all their needs: food, clothing, and shelter. They gradually became food growers, clearing a small patch in the forest to grow food. DIRECT USES:
1. Food: Plants are the basic producers which provide the human world with food to eat and survive. The food chain depends completely on these producers which is the only living component that can produce its own food. Much of human nutrition depends on land plants, either directly or indirectly.
Human nutrition depends to a large extent on cereals, especially maize (or corn), wheat and rice. Other staple crops include potato, cassava, and legumes. Human food also includes vegetables, spices, and certain fruits, nuts, herbs, and edible flowers. Beverages produced from plants include coffee, tea, wine, beer and alcohol. Sugar is obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beet. Cooking oils and margarine come from maize, soybean, rapeseed, safflower, sunflower, olive
and others. Food additives include gum Arabic, guar gum, locust bean gum, starch and pectin. Livestock animals including cows, pigs, sheep, and goats are all herbivores; and feed primarily or entirely on cereal plants, particularly grasses.
2. Grazing animal husbandry: Animal husbandry involves the process of increasing the population of cattle animals so as to provide their milk, meat, wool, hides etc. This involves the grazing of these cattle in vegetation areas. This is now leading to overgrazing which leads to soil erosion. But the vegetation is the main producer which provides the animals to feed. 3. Employment: Forests provide employment opportunities to rural and tribal folk and provides wood and to rural and tribal folk and provides wood and forest products like honey, herbs, fruits, berries and materials for domestic use. Other people of the urban I areas are employed in the forests for lumbering and other vegetation products for industrial use. 4. Fodder: Fodder from the forest forms an important source for cattle and other grazing animals in the hilly and the arid regions and during a drought. There are many varieties of grasses, trees, and shrubs that are nutritious for the livestock. Care is taken to see that trees poisonous to cattle are not grown. Trees that produce a large crown above the reach of cattle are preferred.
5. Wildlife preservation: Forests are the natural habitat for wild life. Wildlife have four basic requirements: food, cover, water and space. Different wildlife species require different stages of forest growth to meet these needs. Several aspects of your property determine how many species can live and thrive in your forest - plant cover, harvest operations, water resources and topography. Your forest may have streams, swamps, rivers, ponds, and areas that adjoin fields, pastures, roads and other openings. Even managing these "edges" of your forest is crucial to abundant populations of some wildlife species. The relationship between vegetation management and wildlife species habitat is well established. Hence forming a natural habitat for the fauna. 6. Shelter: In many parts of the world wood is used for creating proper shelter against the elements. Items found in the wooded structures we call home are also made with wood, a plant product. Furniture, for example, is made up mainly of wood and cloth, from the fibers of plants. Walls in homes may be decorated with wallpaper, and many paints are derived from plant extracts. 7. Wind breaks and shelter belts:
Trees grown for wind breaks should be bushy and sturdy to withstand strong winds, both hot and cold. Along the Saurashtra coast in India, casuarina has successfully been planted to check degradation due to salt laden coastal winds. A species of prosopis, called P. juliflora, planted along the desert border in Haryana and Gujarat has successfully halted the advance of the desert. 8. Fencing: Fences created with trees and shrubs are preferred in developing countries as they are cheap to maintain yet give protection. Species that have thorns or are prickly and have stiff branches and leaves that are not edible are preferred. These species should be fast growing, hardy, and long lived.
1. Industrial raw material: Forests supply materials, required for various industrial purposes. Paper industries mainly depend on forests for its raw material. Forests supply other material such as gums, resins, oil extracts, dyes etc. 2. Environment protection: Vegetation is the only natural factor which has the ability to gain control over almost all the environmental factors. Rainfall is a strong factor that is controlled by forests. About 30 percent of land surface is covered by forest, making the world green. These forests release lot of water vapour, thereby increasing the moisture content of the atmosphere. Forests obstruct wind movement and force it to go up. When the moisture laden air goes up, condensation takes place and rainfall occurs. In forests and grasslands, leaves, grass and other vegetative parts that fall on the ground decay and enrich the soil which enhances soil fertility. Natural vegetation is responsible for Oxygen cycle and Nitrogen cycle to occur. These cyclic activities will get disturbed if the forest cover is removed. Also, transpiration from this natural vegetation helps in cooling the atmosphere. Vegetation cover also check landslides and reduce the danger of floods. 3. Soil Erosion: Natural vegetation acts as a natural barrier to reduce the wind velocity thus preventing soil erosion. The root system holds the soil intact and protects it from erosion by running water. 4. Medicines: Medicinal plants, herbs, spices and herbal remedies are known to Ayurveda in India since long times. The leaves of Tulsi plant, when eaten prevent infections of the throat. Neem, another useful plant, is used for curing skin problems, and for clearing the blood of impurities, etc. Cinchona, provides artificial quinine, which is used in the treatment of malaria. In this manner plants have a large number of uses from the ancient times till today. 5. Fuel wood:
Green plants, which lived on the Earth very long ago, are the origin for the coal, oil, and gas that humans use for heating and cooking purposes. Compression and heat have converted these plants into fossil fuels. In Ireland, a common fuel is peat, which is formed by the same process as coal. The oldest form of fuel is wood, burned to create heat for warmth and for cooking. 6. Paper: Papyrus, a grass like plant, was used more than four thousand years ago in the first endeavor, by Egyptians, to make paper. It is from this plant that paper has derived its name. The Chinese, around 100AD, invented a method of manufacturing paper that is still in use today. The fibers from the plant are placed in water, reduced to but a pulp. After the water has been sieved off, the remaining pulp is pressed, and then allowed to dry to yield a very thin sheet of paper. Almost any plant that is found to be high in cellulose is considered excellent for making the pulp which produces paper, the most common today being trees such as aspen and pine varieties.
7. Rubber and gum: These are the daily products which we use in our life which is also obtained from the natural vegetation. Rubber is a yellowish, amorphous, elastic material obtained from the milky sap or latex of various tropical plants, especially the rubber tree, and vulcanized, pigmented, finished, and modified into products such as electric insulation, elastic bands and belts, tires, and containers. Gum is a viscous substances that is exuded by certain plants and trees and dry into water-soluble, non crystalline, brittle solids which is used as adhesives.
8. Wood: It is the most important product obtained from the forest. Wood is used for fuel wood, construction of buildings, and making musical instruments, and decorating items. Chemical treatment of wood leads to the production of plastics, rayon, synthetic rubber, cellophane and many mare such items. Wood can also be used to produce wood sugar, wood alcohol, useful chemical and dyes. In India 33 percent of the total energy is provided by wood.
Domestic animals are tamed and cared for by man. Wild animals roam free in forests
and mountains. Both are useful to us.
Animals keep the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in nature. They give carbon dioxide to plants that make oxygen and carbon dioxide in nature. They give carbon dioxide to plants that make food and release oxygen. They also provide us milk and other useful products and services. We get milk from cows, buffaloes and goats. Milk is rich in proteins and facts. It is called completed food because young babies live wholly on milk. Curd, cheese, butter, ghee and icecream are made from milk. Some people eat flesh and eggs of animals. But current scientific researches are against these. Flesh and eggs rot very soon and cause food poisoning and much communicable disease fro the animals and the environment. We get wool from the fleecy hair of sheep, yak, Angora rabbit etc. woolen clothes keep us warm in winter. Honey is sweet liquid. It is made by honey – bees. Honey bees also make wax. They use this wax to make their home. Men use this wax to make candles, medicines. Dog watches our house farms and animals. It is also a good companion people breed cats, rabbits, pigeons etc. for their beauty and grace. Parrot is beautiful bird which can talk like humans. People have been using cattle dung as manure and fuel. But now gobar-gas is made from it and the remaining waste it is used as good manure. This manure helps us to maintain the fertility of the soil. Horses, donkeys, mules and camels carry loads and pull carts for us. Camels are `ship of Deseret’. Bullocks are used to plough fields and to pull carts. Elephants are trained for shifting and carrying heavy logs in deep forests. Yaks carry loads on mountains. Some persons kill rabbits to get fur. Their skin with soft delicate hair is called fur. Fur coats and fur caps are made from it. Similarly silk worms, lac insects and oysters are killed for silk clothes, lac bangles and pearl garlands. These all are cruel practices just for fun and decoration. Man is the most developed animal. Plants, animals and humans all are members of one big family. So we should not kill our fellow members.
PROTECTION OF NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE
PROTECTION OF NATURAL VEGETATION (To be filled details from Environmental Education Evergreen Self Study – Ch.3 Pg. 23 to Pg. 24):
1. Planned Cutting of Trees: .............................................. (a)Clear Cutting: .................... (b)Selective cutting: .................... (c)Shelter wood cutting: ....................
2. Afforestation: ............................
3. Control Over Forest Fire: ...............................................
4. Control Over Forest Clearance for Agriculture: ....................................................................................
Proper Utilization of Forest Products: ....................................................................
6. Forest Fortification (Forest protection in text.):
7. Forest Protection Committees: ..........................................................
8. Forest Management: .........................................
9. Social Forestry: ...............................
10.Agro Forestry: ...............................
PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE(Refer to the Environmental Education Evergreen Self Study Ch.6 Pg. 52- 53, and Frank Middle School Geography Ch.14 Pg. 134 – Pg. 136):
Wildlife protection has become very important today due to the increasing number of endangered species. Wildlife protection should mainly contain the following three objectives: 1. To maintain ecological process and life supporting systems. 2. To preserve bio-diversity. 3. To ensure the continuous use of species i.e. safeguard and conserve the wildlife. The Indian Board of Wildlife has suggested the government to preserve wildlife. Hence, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and bio- reserves have come up. Destructive actions of man necessitate the conservation and protection of wildlife. Several methods have been suggested to protect and conserve wildlife. 1. National Park:
............................... Definition: en. Ed. Examples: geog
2. Wildlife Sanctuaries: .............................................. Definition: en. Ed. Examples: geog
3. Biosphere Reserves: ............................................. Definition: en. Ed. Examples: geog
4. Breeding Programmes: ................................................
5. Hunting, Poaching, and Bio-piracy: ................................................................... A wide network of 447 wildlife........................................................ (Geography text bk. Last paragraph of ch.14 on Pg. 136)............................................................. in the forest areas or by deforestation and poaching.
MODIFICATION OF NATURAL VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE
MODIFICATION OF NATURAL VEGETATION:
Vegetation is a new interdisciplinary science, studying the laws of evolution of watershed. Vegetation under the action of ecological stress, especially soil erosion. Ecological stress is defined as any kind of disturbances, natural or non-natural, on the vegetation development, which may change the vegetation cover or affect the evolution process of vegetation. Soil erosion is the most important natural ecological stress and human activities are the non-natural stress.
The ecological stresses impacting the vegetation are: (1) Natural stresses, such as the erosion, drought, storm, eruption of volcano, and the damages by animals, as well as pests and diseases; (2) Human stresses, such as air pollution, grazing, logging, reclamation, mining and road construction. In addition, indirect stress like acid rain is also caused by human activities. In many areas human activities exert much stronger impacts on the vegetation than natural stresses. The ecological stresses can be classified as long term stresses, such as erosion, air pollution, and grazing, short-term stresses, such as drought, pests and diseases, and acid rain, or instant stresses, such as volcano eruption, forest fire, logging and wind storms. Vigorous reduction and mortality of vegetation may result from short-term stress acting on trees that have been predisposed to injury by long-term ecological stresses. Different from other stresses, soil erosion not only impacts the vegetation but is also affected by vegetation. Ecological stresses, especially human activities, may disturb the balance and initiate a new cycle of dynamical processes. In this paper, the quantitative expressions of the long-term, short-term and instant ecological stresses are introduced based on the temporal characteristics of the stresses. Erosion is qualitatively represented by the rate of sediment eroded from unit area per year, and the vegetation is presented by ratio of vegetation cover, or simply vegetation cover, which is defined as the percentage of the area covered with trees and shrubs. Increased urbanization, industrialization and mining has entailed indiscriminate felling of trees which has resulted in large scale denudation. This practice has been going on since centuries. For man, forests are products to be exploited. Millions of hectares of forest lands are under depletion. India alone is using more than 1.5 million hectare of forest cover each year and 22 million hectare of forest are being destroyed during the last three decades due to overexploitation, misuse and their conversation into agricultural land. The depleted wealth would simply deprive man of economic and environmental values offered by vegetation. Deforestation has caused depletion of large number of species and their natural habitats. The causes of deforestation include population pressure for agricultural land, the demand for industrial timber production and export, and inappropriate government policies regarding land tenure, economic incentives, forest settlement and other population issues. Large tracts of forest lands have been cleared for the purpose of agriculture, fuel, timber, livestock, etc. The area under forest cover is therefore constantly falling. When vegetation cover is cut on a large scale, it becomes difficult for the revival.
MODIFICATION OF WILDLIFE:
During the last few decades, wildlife all over the country has come under intense pressure. Habitat destruction poses the most important threat to the survival of wildlife. Pollution, climate change, deforestation, industrialization and population explosion have destroyed the natural habitat of wildlife. Hunting, habitat reduction and land degradation have threatened the biodiversity in the industrial world. Large scale poaching of animals for their fur, skin, tusks, horns, antlers, and other body parts is responsible for the rapid extinction of many animals. Animals are sold on a large scale in international markets for handsome amounts of money. Animals are in great demand in zoos and as pets. They are also used in scientific research and experiments. Smuggling rare endemic species out of the country illegally is increasingly common. Today most of the animal species of the world stand at the edge of extinction. Over 600 species are officially acknowledged to be endangered. Large animals are especially at risk form habitat destruction. Their natural population tends o be quite small, because each individual requires proportionately more territory.
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