What is the region we have lost our natural vegetation and wildlife resources ?
Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
• The narrow zone of contact between the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere where natural vegetation and wildlife exist is called Biosphere.
• Ecosystem is a network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment living in a specific space.
• Usefulness of Plants:
→ Provide 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,
→ Provide us fruits, nuts, latex, turpentine oil, gum, medicinal plants and also the paper.
• Wildlife includes animals, birds, insects as well as the aquatic life forms.
• Usefulness of Wildlife:
→ Provide us milk, meat, hides and wool.
→ Insects like bees provide honey
→ Help in pollination of flowers
→ Play important role as decomposers in the ecosystem.
→ 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.
Distribution of Natural Vegetation
• The growth of vegetation depends primarily on temperature and moisture.
• Major vegetation types of the world:
• Heavy rainfall = Huge Trees. Forests flourish in the areas having abundant water supply.
• As the amount of moisture decreases the size of trees and their density reduces.
• In the regions of moderate rainfall short stunted trees and grasses grow forming the grasslands of the world.
• In dry areas of low rainfall, thorny shrubs and scrubs grow which have deep roots and leaves have thorny and waxy surface to reduce loss of moisture by transpiration.
• Tundra vegetation of cold Polar Regions comprise of mosses and lichens.
• Division of forests depending on when they shed their leaves:
→ Evergreen forests: do not shed their leaves simultaneously in any season of the year.
→ Deciduous forests shed their leaves in a particular season to conserve loss of moisture through transpiration.
• Deciduous Forests further classified on their location in different latitudes.
Conservation of Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
• Plants give shelter to the animals and together they maintain the ecosystem.
• Changes of climate and human interferences can cause the loss of natural habitats for the plants and animals.
• Many species have become vulnerable or endangered and some are on the verge of extinction.
• Factors (Natural and Man-made) responsible for the process of extinction of great natural resources:
→ Soil erosion
→ Constructional activities
→ Forest fires
→ Tsunami and landslides
• Poaching activities are also increasing that result in a sharp decline in the number of particular species. The animals are poached for collection and illegal trade of hides, skins, nails, teeth, horns as well as feathers.
→ Some animals who are poached: Tiger, lion, elephant, deer, black buck, crocodile, rhinoceros, snow leopard, ostrich and peacock.
• Measures for Natural Vegetation and Wildlife:
→ National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves are made to protect our natural vegetation and wildlife.
→ Conservation of creeks, lakes, and wetlands is necessary to save the precious resource from depletion.
→ Awareness programmes like social forestry and Vanamohatasava should be encouraged at the regional and community level.
→ School children should be encouraged for bird watching and visiting nature camps so that they appreciate the habitat of varied species.
→ Killing and Hunting of birds and animals should be banned.
• In India, killing of lions, tigers, deers, great Indian bustards and peacocks have been banned.
• An international convention CITES has been established that lists several species of animals and birds in which trade is prohibited.