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Forest and Wildlife Resources
1. Which one of the following is NOT on the verge of extinction?
(a) Asiatic Cheetah
(c) Pink headed duck
(d) Mountain Quail
Answer : (d) Mountain Quail
2. In which states, Corbett National Park is located?
Answer : Uttarakhand state
3. Analyse any four reasons for the depletion of forest resources in India.
Answer : Reasons for depletion of forest resources in India are:
(i) Extensive use of forest products such as wood, barks, leaves, rubber, medicines, dyes, food, fuel, fodder, manure etc.
(ii) Agricultural expansion, development of railways, mining, commercial and social forestry.
(iii) Substantial forests in the tribal belts of north-eastern states have been degraded by shifting cultivation (Jhumming) or slash and burn agriculture.
(iv) Large scale developmental projects like Narmada Sagar Project of Madhya Pradesh which would inundate 40,000 hectares of forests.
(v) Mining is another important factor, as in the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal is seriously threatened by dolomite mining. It has disturbed the natural habitat of many species and migration route of animals, especially the great Indian Elephant.
4. In which year was the 'Indian Wildlife Protection Act' implemented in India? Describe the main thrust area of this programme.
Answer : In the 1960s and 1970s, the conservationists demanded some rules to protect the wildlife. Conceding to their demand, the government enacted the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Under this act, an all India list of protected species was published. Hunting was banned to protect the remaining population of some endangered species. Trade in wildlife was restricted and the habitats of wildlife were given legal protection. Many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries were established by various state governments and the central government. Several projects were announced for protecting specific animals, e.g. Project Tiger. Project Tiger was launched in 1973 to protect tigers from becoming extinct.
5. 'Forests and wildlife are vital to the quality of life and environment'. Justify the statement by giving three reasons.
Answer : Forests and wildlife are vital to the quality of life and environment. This is because destruction of forests and wildlife leads to (a) Loss of cultural diversity – In addition to the loss of flora and fauna in the forest; the communities that depend on various forest produce suffer a lot. (b) Impact on women – In almost all rural societies women bear the responsibility to collect fire wood, fodder and water. Depletion of these resources makes them work much harder and the tasks become more time taking. This often leads to various health problems in them. (c) Poverty – When the poor tribal population fail to get their supplies of basic items , they have to buy those by spending money which is in short supply. Thus, greater economic pressure is created on them.
6. Describe the steps taken to conserve the flora and fauna of the country.
Answer : The various steps taken to conserve the flora and fauna of the country include:
(a) Implementation of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
(b) Desired control on deforestation and implementing afforestation programs.
(c) Providing legal protection to animals by bringing and implanting laws such as banning of hunting and poaching.
(d) Spreading the awareness about the values of forests and its flora and fauna among the public.
(e) Setting up of biosphere reserves; 18 Biosphere Reserves have been set up in India. Providing financial and technical assistance to many botanical gardens.
(f) Implementation of specific focused projects such as : Project Tiger, project Rhino, project Great Indian Bustard and many other eco developmental projects. 103 national parks, 530 Wildlife sanctuaries and zoological gardens (Government of India, July 2015) are setup to take care of natural heritage.
7. 'Large-scale development projects have also contributed significantly to the loss of forests'.
1. (a) Endangered species
2. (d) Mountain Quail
3. Uttarakhand state
Answer : (i) Since 1951, over 5000 sq km forest was cleared for River Valley Projects.
(ii) Clearing of forests is still continuing with projects like the Narmada Sagar Project in Madhya Pradesh which would inundate 40, 000 hectares of forest.
(iii) Mining is another important factor behind deforestation.
8. Why do we need to conserve our forest and wildlife resources? Explain any three reasons.
Answer : Wildlife and forests must be conserved for the following reasons :
(a) Biodiversity persists in a particular region because of forests so it is important to save a different kind of species with the help of the forests.
(b) The ecological stability is completely dependent on the forests.
(c) Forests release pure air which is important for human beings and keep a stable climatic condition for human health.
9. What are extinct species? Describe any two factors that caused fearful depletion of biodiversity of India.
Answer : Extinction of a particular animal or plant species occurs when there are no more individuals of that species alive anywhere in the world - the species has died out. This is a natural part of evolution. But sometimes extinctions happen at a much faster rate than usual. Depletion of biodiversity happens because of
(a) Cutting of forests for developing agriculture. This leads to decline of habitat as well as prey for the wild animals.
(b) River water development projects submerging large forest areas.
(c) Development of roads and railway network.
(d) Hunting/Poaching of wild animals.
(e) Commercial plantation of certain trees at the expense of other varieties.
(f) Pollution of water bodies and land areas.
10. What is bio-diversity? Why is bio-diversity important for human lives? Analyse.
Answer : Biodiversity refers to diverse flora and fauna that exist in a given area. Plants, animals and human beings are interdependent. It is necessary for human beings as we get fresh air, water, food, etc., from them. Thus, the existence of human beings depends on them. Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play. For example, a larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops. Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms. Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters. And so, while we dominate this planet, we still need to preserve the diversity in wildlife. Each species depends on the services provided by other species to ensure survival. It is a type of cooperation based on mutual survival that is provided by a balanced eco system. That is why when the ecosystem is disturbed survival of the species becomes difficult.
11. Explain any three factors responsible for the depletion of flora and fauna in India.
Answer : There are five major reasons which are responsible for depletion of flora and fauna in India:
(i) Agricultural expansion : After Independence agricultural expansion became the major cause of depletion of forest resources. Between 1951 and 1980, according to the Forest Survey of India over 26,200 sq. km of forest area was converted into agricultural land all over the India.
(ii) Mining : It is another major factor responsible for deforestation, e.g. dolomite mining has seriously threatened the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal. This ongoing mining has disturbed the natural habitat and blocked the migration route of great Indian elephant.
(iii) Large-scale development projects : Since 1951, over 5000 sq km of forest was cleared for River Valley Projects. Large hydro projects have inundated large forest areas.
(iv) Rapidly expanding industrial-urban economy : It leads to huge consumption of forest based product such as rubber, medicines, dyes, fuel wood. This has increased the depletion of forest resources.
12. Explain the two famous programmes which have resisted deforestation and involved local communities.
Answer : (a) The Chipko Movement is a good example of community participation in conservation program. The Chipko movement was a forest conservation movement where people embraced the trees to prevent them from being cut. The first movements date back to 1730 AD when in Khejarli village of Rajasthan, 363 Bishnois sacrificed their lives to save khejri trees. In modern India, it began in 1973 in Uttarakhand (then in Uttar Pradesh) and went on to become a rallying point for many future environmental movements all over the world.
(b) The Beej Bachao Andolan or BBA was started in Jardhargaon in Tehri Garhwal to conserve and promote indigenous seeds and agricultural practices. It has its roots in the Chipko Movement. Vijay Jardhari a farmer and social activist realized that modern agriculture was destroying traditional farming. He formed the BBA. He decided to discontinue the cultivation of chemical dependent seeds. He and his colleagues found out about traditional varieties of seeds. They got to know about a distinctive variety of red rice called chardhan. Thapchini, jhumkiya, rikhwa and lal basmati were other indigenous varieties. They organized food marches, get-togethers and meetings to create awareness about the importance of protecting traditional seeds. BBA actively promotes the use of traditional farming methods like baranaja.
13. What are endemic species?
Answer : Endemic species are plants and animals that exist only in one geographic region. Species can be endemic to large or small areas of the earth: some are endemic to a particular continent, some to part of a continent, and others to a single island.
14. How have communities conserved and protected forests and wildlife in India? Explain.
Answer : (i) Conservation of forests has been a part of Indian culture and folklore and it has been prevalent among the village communities since ancient times.
(ii) Many tribal communities and other government officials have raised their voice towards protection of forests and wildlife in the name of certain beliefs.
(iii) For example, the inhabitants of five villages in Alwar district in Rajasthan have announced 1200 hectares of land as the Bhairodev Dakav ‘Sonchuri’ as protection of wildlife from hunting by anyone.
(iv) Some trees and animals were considered sacred by certain communities which helped in the species preservation of forests and wildlife. For example, The Mundas and Santhals of Chhota Nagpur worship mahua and kadamba trees. The tribals of Odisha and Bihar worship tamarind, and mango trees during weddings.
(v) Other trees like tulsi, neem and peepal are also considered sacred. Certain animals like macaques and langurs are found in some temples.
(vi) The Bishnoi tribes of Rajasthan played an important role towards preservation of black buck, nilgai and peacocks. Thus, conservation was considered as an essential part of the community and any damage caused to the trees and animals had serious repercussions.
15. Asiatic cheetah belongs to which of the following types of species?
(a) Endangered species
(b) Rare species
(c) Extinct species
(d) Normal species
Answer : (a) Endangered species