JAC Board Class 10 Social Science Notes Geography Chapter 2 Forest and Wildlife Resources
→ We share this planet with millions of other living beings, starting from micro¬organisms and bacteria, lichens to banyan trees, elephants and blue whales. This entire habitat that we live in has immense biodiversity. We humans along with all living organisms form a complex web of ecological system in which we are only a part and very much dependent on this system for our own existence.
→ Forests plays a key role in the ecological system as these are also the primary producers on which all other living beings depend.
→ Biodiversity or Biological Diversity is immensely rich in wildlife and ‘cultivated species, diverse in form and function but closely integrated in a system through multiple network of interdependencies.
→ Flora and Fauna in India
- India is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of its vast array of biological diversity, and has nearly 8 per cent of the total number of species in the world (estimated to be 1.6 million).
- Some estimates suggest that at least 10 per cent of India’s recorded wild flora and 20 per cent of its mammals are on the threatened list. Many of these would now be categorised as ‘critical’, that is on the verge of extinction like the cheetah, pink-headed duck, mountain quail, etc.
Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), we can classify as follows:
(a) Normal Species: Species whose population levels are considered to be normal for their survival, such as cattle, sal, pine, rodents, etc.
(b) Endangered Species: These are species which are in danger of extinction. The survival of such species is difficult if the negative factors that have led to a decline in their population continue to operate. The examples of such species are black buck, crocodile, Indian wild ass, Indian rhino, lion tailed macaque, sangai (brow antlered deer in Manipur), etc.
(c) Vulnerable Species: These are species whose population has declined to levels from where it is likely to move into the endangered category in the near future if the negative factors continue to operate. The examples of such species are blue sheep, Asiatic elephant, Gangetic dolphin, etc.
(d) Rare Species: Species with small population may move into the endangered or vulnerable category if the negative factors affecting them continue to operate. The examples of such species are the Himalayan brown bear, wild Asiatic buffalo, desert fox and hombill, etc.
(e) Endemic Species: These are species which are only found in some particular areas usually isolated by natural or geographical barriers. Examples of such species are the Andaman teal, Nicobar pigeon, Andaman wild pig, mithun in Arunachal Pradesh.
(f) Extinct Species: These are species which are not found after searches of known or likely areas where they may occur. A species may be extinct from a local area, region, country, continent or the entire earth. Examples of such species are the Asiatic cheetah, pink head duck.
→ Reasons for Depletion of Biodiversity (Flora and Fauna)
- The greatest damage inflicted on Indian forests was’ during the colonial period due to the expansion of the railways, agriculture, commercial and scientific forestry and mining activities.
- Even after Independence, agricultural expansion continues to be one of the major causes of depletion of forest resources.
- Large-scale development projects have also contributed significantly to the loss of forests. Since 1951, over 5,000 sq km of forest was cleared for river valley projects.
- Mining is another important factor behind deforestation. The Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal is seriously threatened by the ongoing dqlomite mining.
- Habitat destruction, hunting, poaching, over-exploitation, environmental pollution, poisoning and forest fires are factors, which have led tcfthe decline in India’s biodiversity.
- Other important causes of environmental destruction are unequal access, inequitable consumption of resources and differential sharing^ of responsibility for environmental well-being. Over-population in third world countries is often cited as the cause of environmental degradation.
→ Methods or Measures to Conserve Biodiversity
- Deforestation should be totally stopped. Instead, trees should be replanted on degraded land and on land where forest had been cleared earlier.
- People should initiate movement against tree cutting such as ‘Chipko Movement’.
- ‘Van Mahotsava’ and similar kind of events should be celebrated to conserve forest.
- Mass media, e.g., TV, radio, newspapers, etc., should be used for creating awareness.
- Govt, should pass and implement strict laws like Indian Wildlife Protection Act – 1972 against illegal cutting of trees, hunting and poaching.
- Various projects like Project Tiger, Project Rhino, etc., should be started.
- More National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserve should be identified.
- There should be frequent survey and census to count population of different species found in the forest.
→ Short Note on Project Tiger:
Tiger is one of the most important species among fauna. It was estimated that population of tigers has decreased rapidly in the last one hundred years. Major reasons identified behind depletion of tiger were hunting and poaching, deforestation, depletion of prey etc. Project Tiger was started in 1973 to protect the tigers from extinction. There are 50 tiger reserves in India. Project Tiger has successfully improved the condition.
→ Types of Forests in India
(a) Reserved Forests: More than half of the total forest land has been declared reserved forests. Reserved forests are
regarded as the most valuable as far as the conservation of forest and wildlife resources are concerned.
(b) Protected Forests: These forests are protected from further depletion. About one-third forests comes under protected forests.
(c) Unclassed Forests: These forests belong to government, private individuals and communities.
→ Distribution of Forest in India
- Only 24.16% land is under forest in India. Distribution of forest in India is not uniform.
- Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under pennanent forests with 75% of its total forest area. The other states like Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Maharashtra have large percentage of reserved forests.
- States like Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan have large areas of protected forests.
- All the north-eastern states and parts of Gujarat have large percentages of unclassed forests which are managed – by local communities.
→ Role of Community (local people) in Conserving Forest and Wildlife
- Community or local people are very helpful in conserving biodiversity i.e. plants and animals. Many communities live in the forest. Forest is home of many traditional people.
- In Rajasthan, local people came forward to stop.mining activities to protect Sariska Tiger Reserve.
- People of five villages in the Alwar district of Rajasthan have declared 1200 hectares of land as ‘Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri’ in which hunting is not allowed.
- In Jharkhand, Munda tribe worship Mahua and Kadamba trees and they protect them.
- Famous Chipko Movement in Himalayas was started by local community only. Beej Bachao Andolan in Tehri and Navdanya have produced crops without the use of synthetic chemicals.
- Joint Forest Management [JFM] started in Odisha is good method of involving local community in management and restoration of degraded forest.