Get here the notes, questions, answers, textbook solutions, summary, additional/extras, and PDF of TBSE (Tripura Board) Class 10 (madhyamik) Social Science (Geography/Contemporary India II) Chapter “Forest and Wildlife Resources.” However, the provided notes should only be treated as references, and the students are encouraged to make changes to them as they feel appropriate.
Earth is home to different living beings, from the smallest microorganisms to the largest creatures like elephants and blue whales, and all these living beings are interconnected and form a complex ecological system, on which humans are dependent for their existence. Plants, animals, and microorganisms are responsible for creating the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil that produces our food.
Forests are very important to this ecological system because they are the main source of food for all other living things. India is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of biological diversity, with nearly 8% of the total number of species in the world. However, many of these species are under threat due to insensitivity to the environment. At least 10% of India’s recorded wild flora and 20% of its fauna are on the threatened list.
Deforestation is also a major issue in India, with forest and tree cover estimated at 79.42 million hectares, which is 24.16% of the total geographical area. While there has been an increase in dense forest cover since 2013 due to conservation measures, management interventions, and plantation, it is important to address the issue of deforestation to protect the country’s rich biodiversity.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has classified plants and animals into several categories based on their population levels and vulnerability to extinction. Normal species include cattle, pine, and rodents. Endangered species such as black bucks, Indian rhinos, and crocodiles are at risk of extinction, while vulnerable species like the blue sheep and Gangetic dolphin could move into the endangered category if negative factors persist. Rare species, such as the Himalayan brown bear, desert fox, and wild Asiatic buffalo, have small populations and could move into the endangered or vulnerable category. Endemic species like the Andaman teal and Nicobar pigeon are found only in certain areas, usually isolated by natural or geographical barriers, while extinct species such as the Asiatic cheetah and pink head duck are no longer found in known or likely areas.
The destruction of habitats, hunting, poaching, overexploitation, and other negative factors that have led to a decline in population levels are causing the depletion of flora and fauna. During the colonial period, the expansion of railways, agriculture, commercial and scientific forestry, and mining activities caused significant damage to Indian forests. Between 1951 and 1980, over 26,200 square kilometers of forest land was converted into agricultural land in India. Substantial parts of tribal belts, especially in northeastern and central India, were deforested or degraded by shifting cultivation.
The promotion of a few favored species, in many parts of India, has been carried through the ironically termed “enrichment plantation”, in which a single commercially valuable species was extensively planted and other species eliminated. Development projects, including river valley and mining projects, have contributed to the loss of forests. Grazing and fuel-wood collection are also contributing factors to the degradation of forest resources. The forest ecosystems, which are repositories of some of the country’s most valuable forest products, minerals, and other resources that meet the demands of the rapidly expanding industrial-urban economy, have become fertile ground for conflicts.
Conservation of forests and wildlife has become essential in India due to the rapid decline in their populations. Conservation helps to preserve ecological diversity and our life support systems such as water, air, and soil. It also helps to preserve genetic diversity for better growth and breeding of species, which is important in agriculture and fisheries.
In the 1960s and 1970s, conservationists demanded a national wildlife protection program, leading to the implementation of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act in 1972. This act provided legal protection to habitats and banned hunting and trade in wildlife. National parks and wildlife sanctuaries were also established by central and state governments to protect endangered species such as tigers, rhinoceroses, and crocodiles.
Conservation projects in India are now focusing on biodiversity rather than just a few components. Even insects are being included in conservation planning, and several hundred butterflies, moths, beetles, and one dragonfly have been added to the list of protected species under the Wildlife Act of 1980 and 1986. In 1991, plants were also added to the list, starting with six species.
Forest and wildlife resources in India are difficult to manage, control, and regulate. Much of it is owned or managed by the government through the Forest Department or other government departments. Forests are classified as reserved, protected, or unclassified, with reserved forests being the most valuable for conservation. Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under permanent forests, while some states have a large percentage of reserved forests, and others have a bulk of it under protected forests. The Northeastern states and parts of Gujarat have a very high percentage of forests managed by local communities as unclassified forests.
The conservation of natural habitats and resources has been a long-standing practise in India. However, it is important to recognise that these habitats are also home to traditional communities, which often rely on these resources for their livelihoods. In some areas of India, local communities have taken the initiative to conserve these habitats alongside government officials, understanding that it is essential for their own long-term survival.
For instance, in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, villagers fought against mining activities by citing the Wildlife Protection Act. In many other areas, villagers are taking charge of protecting habitats and rejecting government involvement. In the Alwar district of Rajasthan, for example, the inhabitants of five villages have declared 1,200 hectares of forest as the Bhairodev Dakav ‘Sonchuri’, creating their own set of rules and regulations that prohibit hunting and protect wildlife from outside encroachments. The Chipko movement in the Himalayas has also successfully resisted deforestation in several areas and demonstrated that community afforestation with indigenous species can be hugely successful.
Efforts to revive traditional conservation methods or develop new methods of ecological farming are also becoming more common. Farmers and citizen groups, such as the Beej Bachao Andolan in Tehri and Navdanya, have shown that adequate levels of diversified crop production without the use of synthetic chemicals are possible and economically viable.
The Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme in India is an excellent example of involving local communities in the management and restoration of degraded forests. The programme, which has been in existence since 1988, depends on the formation of local institutions that undertake protection activities on degraded forest land managed by the forest department. In return, members of these communities are entitled to benefits such as non-timber forest products and a share in the timber harvested through ‘successful protection’.
The clear lesson from the dynamics of environmental destruction and reconstruction in India is that local communities need to be involved in some form of natural resource management. However, there is still a long way to go before local communities are at the center stage of decision-making. It is crucial to accept only those economic or developmental activities that are people-centric, environment-friendly, and economically rewarding.
Textual questions and answers
1. Multiple choice questions.
(i) Which of these statements is not a valid reason for the depletion of flora and fauna?
(a) Agricultural expansion.
(b) Large scale developmental projects.
(c) Grazing and fuel wood collection.
(d) Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.
Answer: (c) Grazing and fuel wood collection
(ii) Which of the following conservation strategies do not directly involve community participation?
(a) Joint forest management
(b) Beej Bachao Andolan
(c) Chipko Movement
(d) Demarcation of Wildlife sanctuaries
Answer: (d) Demarcation of Wildlife Sanctuaries
2. Match the following animals with their category of existence.
|Animals/plants||Category of existence|
|Andaman wild pig||Endangered|
|Himalayan brown bear||Vulnerable|
|Pink head duck||Endemic|
Answer: Black buck – Endangered
Asiatic elephant – Vulnerable
Andaman wild pig – Endemic
Himalayan brown bear – Rare
Pink head duck – Extinct
3. Match the following.
|Reserved forests||other forests and wastelands belonging to both government and private individuals and communities|
|Protected forests||forests are regarded as most valuable as far as the conservation of forest and wildlife resources|
|Unclassed forests||forest lands are protected from any further depletion|
Answer: Reserved forests – Forests are regarded as most valuable as far as the conservation of forest and wildlife resources
Protected forests – Forest lands are protected from any further depletion
Unclassed forests – Other forests and wastelands belonging to both government and private individuals and communities
4. Answer the following questions in about 30 words.
(i) What is biodiversity? Why is biodiversity important for human lives?
(ii) How have human activities affected the depletion of flora and fauna? Explain.
Answer: (i) The variety of life that can be found in a given habitat or on the entire planet is known as biodiversity. The genetic diversity within each species of all plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms is also included. Because it gives us access to resources like food, clean water and air, and other resources, biodiversity is crucial to human existence. In addition, it aids in regulating the climate and maintaining fertile soils, both of which are necessary for growing crops. Additionally, biodiversity offers us leisure opportunities and aesthetic benefits while lowering the risk of disease.
(ii) We have transformed nature into a resource obtaining directly and indirectly from the forests and wildlife – wood, barks, leaves, rubber, medicines, dyes, food, fuel, fodder, manure, etc. So it is we ourselves who have depleted our forests and wildlife.
5. Answer the following questions in about 120 words.
(i) Describe how communities have conserved and protected forests and wildlife in India?
(ii) Write a note on good practices towards conserving forest and wildlife.
Answer: (i) Conservation strategies are not new in our country. We often ignore that in India, forests are also home to some of the traditional communities. In some areas of India, local communities are struggling to conserve these habitats along with government officials, recognising that only this will secure their own long-term livelihood. In Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, villagers have fought against mining by citing the Wildlife Protection Act. In many areas, villagers themselves are protecting habitats and explicitly rejecting government involvement. The inhabitants of five villages in the Alwar district of Rajasthan have declared 1,200 hectares of forest as the Bhairodev Dakav ‘Sonchuri’, declaring their own set of rules and regulations which do not allow hunting, and are protecting the wildlife against any outside encroachments. The famous Chipko movement in the Himalayas has not only successfully resisted deforestation in several areas but has also shown that community afforestation with indigenous species can be enormously successful.
(ii) Reducing human activities that lead to deforestation, overhunting, and overfishing are good practises for protecting forests and wildlife. Invasive species proliferation, pollution, and climate change must all be kept to a minimum. Including communities in the management of forest resources should be a priority, for example through the Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme. This programme has been effective in preserving and restoring forests, leading to an increase in the amount of forest cover and better wildlife habitats. Creating wildlife sanctuaries should involve communities as it has assisted in saving endangered species. Finally, it’s critical to promote sustainable growth and the use of renewable resources, such as solar energy, in order to reduce the harm that humans cause to the environment.
Additional/extra questions, answers, MCQs
1. What are forests and what do they provide?
Answer: Forests refer to a community of plant species that grow naturally and provide a large tract covered by trees and shrubs. They provide a wide variety of commodities such as timber, firewood, woodpulp, medicinal plants, and other produces of industrial and commercial use. Additionally, they play an important role in checking soil erosion and air pollution, and provide natural habitat to a variety of wildlife.
81. What is the purpose of observing wildlife week in India?
a) To increase awareness about the importance of wildlife in sustainable living
b) To promote eco-tourism in the country
c) To increase hunting and trade of wildlife
d) To provide financial aid to national parks and sanctuaries
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