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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. For example, the plants, animals and micro-organisms re-create the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that produces our food without which we cannot survive.
Forests play a key role in the ecological system as these are also the primary producers on which all other living beings depend. Flora and Fauna in India If you look around, you will be able to find that there are some animals and plants which are unique in your area. In fact, India is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of its vast array of biological diversity.
This is possibly twice or thrice the number yet to be discovered. You have already studied in detail about the extent and variety of forest and wildlife resources in India. You may have realised the importance of these resources in our daily life.
These diverse flora and fauna are so well integrated in our daily life that we take these for granted. But, lately, they are under great stress mainy due to insensitivity to our environment 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, forest spotted owlet, and plants like madhuca insignis (a wild variety of mahua) and hubbardia heptaneuron,(a species of grass). In fact, no one can say how many species may have already been lost.
Today, we only talk of the larger and more visible animals and plants that have become extinct but what about smaller animals like insects and plants? The dimensions of deforestation in India are staggering.
The forest and tree cover in the country is estimated at 807276 sq km which is 24.56 per cent of the total geographical area (dense forest 12.4 per cent; open forest 9.26 per cent; and mangrove 0.15 per cent). According to the State of Forest Report (2019), the dense forest cover has increased by 3,976 sq km since 2017.
However, this apparent increase in the forest cover is due to conservation measures, management interventions and plantation, etc., by different agencies. Let us now understand the different categories of existing plants and animal species. Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), we can classify as follows– Normal Species: Species whose population levels are considered to be normal for their survival, such as cattle, sal, pine, rodents, etc.
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 anter deer in Manipur), etc.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 Social Science Chapter 2 Forest and Wildlife Resources
What is biodiversity? Why is biodiversity important for human lives?
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, or on an entire planet. There are millions of living organisms on planet earth. All these living organisms, including man, are interdependent on each other.
How have human activities affected the depletion of flora and fauna? Explain.
Cutting down of forests for agricultural expansion, large scale developmental projects, grazing and fuel wood collection and for urbanization has led to the depletion of flora and fauna.
NCERT Class 11 Social Science Textbook Chapter 2 With Answer PDF Free Download