Forest and Wildlife Resources

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forest and wildlife resources


INTRODUCTION We human beings 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 very existence. Forest play a key role in the ecological system as these are also the primary procedures on which all other living beings depend upon....


BIODIVERSITY Biological diversity : Rich wildlife and cultivated species, diverse in form and function but closely integrated in a system through multiple network of interdependencies. In this planet we share immense biodiversity.

Types and distribution:

Types and distribution In India, much of its forest and wildlife resources are either owned or managed by the government through the Forest Department. These are classified as Reserved forests, protected forests, unclassed forests….


FLORA AND FAUNA India is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of its vast array of biological diversity and has nearly 8% of the total number of species in the world which are estimated to be 1.6 million.

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These diverse flora and fauna are so well integrated in our daily life that we take these for granted by us. Lately, they have been under great stress mainly due to our insensitivity to our environment . At least 10% of India’s recorded wild flora and fauna are on threatened list.


DO YOU KNOw ?? Over 81,000 species of fauna and 47,000 species of flora are found in India !!. Of the estimated 47,000 plant species, about 15,000 flowering species are endemic (indigenous) to India. rate…

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Among the larger animals in India, 79 species of mammals, 44 species of bird, 15 species of reptiles and only 03 species of amphibians are threatened !! Nearly 1,500 plant species are considered endangered. Flowering plant and vertebrate animals have recently become extinct at a rate estimated to be 50 to 100 times the average expected natural

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The forest cover in the country is estimated to be 637,293, which is 19.39% of the total geographical area. Dense forest : 11.48% Open forest : 7.76% Mangrove : 0.15%. According to the state Forest Report -1999, the dense forest cover has increased by 10,098 since 1997. This increase is due to the plantation by different agencies and also Report does not differentiate between natural forests and plantations, therefore, these reports fail to deliver the accurate information. VANISHING FORESTS


DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF EXISTING PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES – based on the IUCN IUCN : International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources. Normal Species : Species whose population levels are considered to be normal for their survival, such as cattle, sal , pine, rodents etc.

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Endangered Species : These are the species which are in danger of extinction. The survival of such species is difficult if the negative factors that have led to their decline continue to operate. Ex : Black buck, crocodile, Indian Rhino, tailed macaque, Sangai , Lion, tiger etc. Vulnerable Species : 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. Ex : Blue Sheep, Asiatic Elephant, Gangetic Dolphin etc.

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Rare Species : Species with small population may move into the endangered or vulnerable category if the negative factors affecting them continue to operate. Ex : Himalayan Brown, Wild Asiatic buffalo, Desert fox and Hornbill etc. Endemic Species : These species are only found in some particular areas usually isolated by natural or geographical barriers. Ex : Andaman Teal, Nicobar Pigeon, Andaman wild Pig, Mithun in Arunachal Pradesh. Extinct Species : These 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. Ex : Asiatic Cheetah, Pink head Duck.

Asiatic Cheetah:

Asiatic Cheetah World’s fastest land mammal is a unique and specialized member of cat family and can move at the speed of 112 km/hr. Cheetah is often mistaken for leopard but has distinguishing marks like the long tear dropped shaped lines on each side of the nose from corner of its eyes to its mouth. Prior to 20 th century Cheetah’s were widely distributed in Asia and Africa, i.e. today nearly extinct due to decline in habitat and prey. The species were declared extinct in India long back in 1952

Factors CAUSING depletion of flora and fauna:

Factors CAUSING depletion of flora and fauna The greatest damage inflicted on Indian forests was by the colonial period due to the expansion of the railways, commercial and scientific forestry and mining activities. Agriculture expansion is one of the major causes depletion of forest resources. As per forest survey of India between 1951-1980 over 26.200 of the forest area was converted into agriculture land all over India.

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Tribal belts especially in North-Eastern and Central India, have been deforestation or degraded by shifting cultivation ( jhum ), a type of ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. Large scale development projects have also contributed significantly to the loss of forests. Since 1951, over 5, of forests have been cleared for river valley projects and it is still being continued like the Narmada Sagar project in MP, which would inundate 40,000 hectares of forests.

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Mining is another important factor behind deforestation. Example : The Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal is seriously threatened by the ongoing dolomite mining and it has disturbed natural habitat of many species and blocked the migration route of several others, including the great Indian Elephant. Many environmentalists hold the view that the greatest degrading factors behind the depletion of forests is the grazing and fuel wood collection and the substantial part of the fuel fodder demand is met by lopping rather than by felling entire trees. Forest ecosystems are the repositories of the country’s most valuable forests products, minerals and other resources that meet the demand of the rapidly expanding industrial urban economy.

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ARE THE COLONIAL POLICIES TO BE BLAMED ?? Some environmentalists say that the promotion of few favored species in many parts of India termed as “enrichment plantation”’ in which single commercially valuable species was extensively planted and other species eliminated. For Example : Teak mono cultural has damaged the natural forests in South Indian and Chir Pine ( Pinusroxburghii ) Plantations in the Himalayas have replaced the Himalayas oak and Rhododendron forests.




HABITAT LOSS The second most critical factor in species extinction.

Poaching and hunting:

Poaching and hunting Another major cause of animal species extinction. Poaching and illegal trade in animals are worth US $2 billion to $3 billion.

Habitat loss and deforestation:

Habitat loss and deforestation Extensive human demand resulted into habitat loss. Rainforests are the main habitats which are now cleared for constructions and industries. Tropical rainforests are cleared for : Wood / timber resources Development of petroleum resources Mineral resources For cash crop plantations and substantial farming.

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RESERVED FORESTS PROTECTED FORESTS UNCLASSED FORESTS More than half of the total forests have been declared as reserved forests. They are regarded as the most valuable as far the conservation of forest resources are concerned Almost one third of the total forest area is protected forest, as declared by the forest department. This forests land is protected from any further depletion. These are other forests and wastelands belonging to both government and private individuals and communities. Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra have large percentages of reserved forests. Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan have a bulk of it under protected forests. All the North-Eastern states and parts of Gujarat have very high percentage of their forests as unclassed forests managed by local communities.

Government’s role in conservation of wildlife:

Government’s role in conservation of wildlife Wildlife protection act 1972 Project Tiger 1972-73 Forest Protection Act 1980-88 Anti Poaching Agencies State wildlife dept. State forest dept. Ministry of Environment and Forest Army ( if applicable) Police Border security Force and Coast guards Wildlife Conservation Society .


SACRED GROVES Nature worship is an age old tribal belief based on the premise that all creations of nature have to be protected. Such belies have preserved several virgin forests in pristine from called sacred groves. The Mundas and the Santhals of Chhota Nagpur region worship Mahua ( Bassi latifolia ) and Kadamba ( Anthocaphalus cadamba ) trees and the Tribals of Orissa and Bihar worship the Tamarind ( Tamarindus indica ) and Mango ( Mangifra indica ) trees during weddings.


MOVEMENTS Chipko Movement Beej Bachao Andolan Navdanya In India Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme furnishes a good example for involving Local communities in the management and restorstion of degraded forests.


Conclusion Forests and wildlife are the renewable natural resources and if all the planned programmes are effictively executed, in a few decades the flora and the fauna will start flourishing.

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