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Ecosystem and its components/Ecosystem Functions/Ecological Pyramids


Ecosystem and its Components Ecosystem Functions Ecological Pyramids

Ecosystem and its components

An ecosystem is defined as a structural and functional unit of biosphere consisting of community of living beings and physical environment, both interacting and exchanging materials between them. Ecosystem is a self-contained, dynamic system composed of a natural community along with its physical environment.
Components of an ecosystem
The components of the ecosystem are divided as:
• Abiotic Components
Abiotic components are non-living chemical and physical factors on an ecosystem. The non-living factors are either resources or conditions. Important abiotic components can be listed as follows:
1. Physical factors: They sustain and limit the growth of organisms in an ecosystem.
a) Light: Light energy (sunlight) is the primary source of energy in nearly all ecosystems. It is the energy that is used by green plants (which contain chlorophyll) during the process of photosynthesis; a process during which plants manufacture organic substances by combining inorganic substances. The intensity of the light that reaches the earth varies according to the latitude and season of the year and also effect geographical and seasonal vegetation distribution. Many species of small plants (herbs and shrubs) growing in forests are adapted to photosynthesis optimally under very low light conditions because they are constantly overshadowed by tall, canopied trees. Many plants are also dependent on sunlight to meet their photoperiodic requirement for flowering.
b) Temperature: The distribution of plants and animals is greatly influenced by extremes in temperature.
c) Water: The life on earth originated in water and is unsustainable without water.
d) Atmospheric gases: The most important gases used by plants and animals are oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Oxygen is used by all living organisms during respiration. Carbon dioxide is used by green plants during photosynthesis. Nitrogen is made available to plants by certain bacteria and through the action of lightning.
e) Soil: Various characteristics of the soil such as soil composition, grain size and aggregation determine the percolation and water holding capacity of the soils. These characteristics along with parameters such as pH, mineral composition and topography determine to a large extent the vegetation in any area. This in turn dictates the type of animals that can be supported.
2. Organic compounds: They are the building blocks of living systems and therefore, make a link between the biotic and abiotic components. Examples are: Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and humic substances.
• Biotic components
The biotic components in an ecosystem include the living organisms. They are grouped in to 3 classes based on the organism’s role in the flow of material and energy within the ecosystem:
1. Producers (autotrophs): Autotrophs produce organic compounds from carbon dioxide as a carbon source. They take energy from the sun (or from inorganic sources in some cases) to convert it into organic molecules or food, e.g., plants, algae, bacteria, etc. A portion of food synthesized, is used by autotrophs for their growth and other biological functions and remaining is stored for future use. This stored food in autotrophs is utilized as food by other organisms (called heterotrophs).
2. Consumers (heterotrophs): They are called heterotrophs and they consume food synthesized by the autotrophs. Based on food preferences they can be grouped into three broad categories. Herbivores (e.g. cow, deer and rabbit etc.) feed directly on plants, carnivores are animals which eat other animals (eg. lion, cat, dog etc.) and omnivores organisms feeding upon both plants and animals e.g. human, pigs and sparrow.
3. Decomposers: Decomposers are organisms (often fungi or bacteria) that break down organic materials to gain nutrients and energy. Decomposition is a natural process but decomposers accelerate it. The role that decomposers perform in an ecosystem is extremely important. When an organism dies, it leaves behind nutrients that are locked together. Decomposers unlock these nutrient and release as raw nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium) in a form which are usable for plants. Decomposers also convert organic carbon into Carbon dioxide, which can be trapped by photosynthesizers.

Other terms associated with Ecosystem
• Primary production is defined as the amount of biomass or organic matter produced per unit area over a time period by plants during photosynthesis. It is expressed in terms of weight (g –2 ) or energy (kcal m–2). The rate of biomass production is called productivity.
• Gross primary productivity of an ecosystem is the rate of production of organic matter during photosynthesis. Gross primary productivity minus respiration losses (R), is the net primary productivity (NPP).
• Secondary productivity is defined as the rate of formation of new organic matter by consumers.
• Detritivores are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces).Detritivores (e.g., earthworm) break down detritus into smaller particles.
• Catabolism: When Bacterial and fungal enzymes degrade detritus into simpler inorganic substances, this process is called as catabolism.
• Humification leads to accumulation of a dark coloured amorphous substance called humus that is highly resistant to microbial action and undergoes decomposition at an extremely slow rate. Being colloidal in nature it serves as a reservoir of nutrients. The humus is further degraded by some microbes and releases of inorganic nutrients occur by the process known as mineralisation.



Pre-Historic India


Pre-Historic India

Pre-Historic India

• The fossils of the early human being have not been found in India. Recent reported artifacts from Bori in Maharashtra suggest the appearance of human beings in India around 1.4 million years ago.
• The archaeological remains that are found in different parts of India to reconstruct the history of this period include the stone tools, pottery, artifacts and metal implements used by pre-historic people.

• The technique of radio-carbon dating is commonly used for dating of the prehistoric period. It is based on measuring the loss of carbon in organic materials over a period of time.
• Another dating method is known as dendro-chronology. It refers to the number of tree rings in wood. By counting the number of tree rings in the wood, the date of the wood is arrived at.
• By this study the past of humankind has been divided into three broad categories viz. Prehistoric, protohistoric and historic.
• Prehistoric period belongs to the time before the emergence of writing and the historic period to the time following it.
• The prehistoric period is divided into three ages, namely the stone, bronze and iron ages. These ages, besides being technological stages, also have economic and social implications.
• In India, the prehistoric period is divided into the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), Neolithic (New Stone Age) and the Metal Age.
• The suffix lithic indicates that technology in these periods was primarily based on stone.
• Economically the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods represent the hunting-gathering stage while the Neolithic represents the stage of food production, i.e. plant cultivation and animal husbandry.
PALEOLITHIC OR OLD STONE AGE (5,00,000 B.C. – 10,000 B.C.)
• In India, the Palaeolithic Age developed in the Pleistocene period or the Ice Age and was spread
• In practically all parts of India except the alluvial parts of Ganga and Indus.
• Food gathering and hunting were the main occupations of the people of this phase. They had no knowledge of agriculture, fire or pottery of any material.
• Man during this period used tools of unpolished, undressed rough stones and lived in cave and rock shelters.
• They mainly used hand axes, cleavers, choppers, blades, scrapers and burin.
• Their tools were made of hard rock called ‘quartzite’.
• Hence Paleolithic men are also called ‘Quartzite Men’.
• Homo sapiens first appeared in the last phase of Paleolithic age.
• The Paleolithic Age in India has been divided into three phases according to the nature of stone tools used by the people and also according to the nature of change in the climate – Early or lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic.
a) The Early Paleolithic Age covers the greater part of the Ice Age. Its characteristic tools are hand axes, cleavers and choppers. Such tools have been found in Soan and Sohan river valley (now in Pakistan) and in the Belan Valley in the Mirzapur district of UP. In this period climate became less humid.
b) Middle Paleolithic Phase is characterized by the use of stone tools made of flakes mainly scrapers, borers and blade like tools. The sites are found in the valleys of Soan, Narmada and Tungabhadra rivers. During this phase, Pithecanthropus or Homo erectus evolved.
c) In the Upper Paleolithic Phase, the climate became warm and less humid. This stage is marked by burins and scrapers. Such tools have been found in AP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bhopal and Chhota Nagpur plateau.
• The Old Stone Age sites are widely found in various parts of the Indian subcontinent and are generally located near water sources.
• In the Old Stone Age, food was obtained by hunting animals and gathering edible plants and tubers. Therefore, these people are called as hunter-gatherers.
• The hunting of large animals would have required the combined effort of a group of people with large stone axes. Their way of life became modified with the passage of time since they made attempts to domesticate animals, make crude pots and grow some plants.
• A few Old Stone Age paintings have also been found on rocks at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh and other places. The period before 10000 B.C. is assigned to the Old Stone Age.
• Some of the famous sites of Old Stone Age in India are:
a) The Soan valley and Potwar Plateau on the northwest India;
b) The Siwalik hills on the north India;
c) Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh;
d) Adamgarh hill in Narmada valley;
e) Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh; and
f) Attirampakkam near Chennai.
• At Chopani-Mando in the Belan valley of the Vindhyas and the middle part of the Narmada valley a sequence of occupation from all the three stages of the Paleolithic to Neolithic stage have been found in sequence. Chopani Mando is an important site where fossil animal bones have been found.
• The Son and the adjacent Belan valley (Mirzapur, UP) provide a sequence of artifacts from lower Paleolithic to Neolithic.
MESOLITHIC OR MIDDLE STONE AGE (10,000 B.C. – 6000 B.C.)
• The next stage of human life is called Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age which falls roughly from 10000 B.C. to 6000 B.C. and was the transitional phase between the Paleolithic Age and Neolithic Age.
• Various Mesolithic sites are found in the Chhotanagpur region, Central India and also south of the Krishna River.
• Mesolithic remains are found in Langhanj in Gujarat, Adamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and also in some places of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
• In the sites of Mesolithic Age, a different type of stone tools is found. These are tiny stone artifacts, often not more than five centimeters in size. These characteristic tools of the Mesolithic Age are known as Microliths-pointed, cresconic blades, scrapers, etc, all made of stone.
• The paintings and engravings found at the rock shelters give an idea about the social life and economic activities of Mesolithic people. The hunting-gathering pattern of life continued during this period.
• However, there seems to have been a shift from big animal hunting to small animal hunting and fishing. The use of bow and arrow also began during this period.
• Also, there began a tendency to settle for longer periods in an area. Therefore, domestication of animals, horticulture and primitive cultivation started.
• The last phase of this age saw the beginning of plain cultivation. Animal bones are found in these sites and these include dog, deer, boar and ostrich.
• Occasionally, burials of the dead along with some microliths and shells seem to have been practiced.
NEOLITHIC AGE (6000 BC – 1000 B.C.)
• A remarkable progress is noticed in human civilization in the Neolithic Age. In the world context, the New Stone Age began in 9000 B.C.
• The only Neolithic settlement in the Indian subcontinent attributed to 7000 B.C. lies in Mehrgarh, which is situated in Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan.
• In India, Neolithic Age is not earlier than 6000 BC and at some places in South and Eastern India; it is as late as 1000 B.C.
• These include the Kashmir valley, Chirand in Bihar, Belan valley in Uttar Pradesh and in several places of the Deccan.
• The important Neolithic sites are:
a) Burzahom and Gufkral in J&K (famous for pit dwelling, stone tools and graveyard in house),
b) Maski, Brahmagiri, Tekkalakota in Karnataka, Paiyampatti in Tamil Nadu,
c) Piklihal and Hallur in AP,
d) Garo hills in Meghalaya,
e) Chirand and Senuwar in Bihar (known for remarkable bone tools),
f) Amri, Kotdiji, etc.
• Koldihawa in UP revealed a threefold cultural sequence: Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron Age.
• The chief characteristic features of the Neolithic culture are the practice of agriculture, domestication of animals, polishing of stone tools and the manufacturing of pottery.
• The cultivation of plants and domestication of animals led to the emergence of village communities based on sedentary life.

• There was a great improvement in technology of making tools and other equipments used by man.
• Stone tools were now polished and theses polished axes were found to be more effective tools for hunting and cutting trees.
• Mud brick houses were built instead of grass huts.
• Neolithic people knew about making fire and making pottery, first by hand and then by potters wheel. They also painted and decorated their pottery.
• Pottery was used for cooking as well as storage of food grains.
• Large urns were used as coffins for the burial of the dead.
• There was also improvement in agriculture. Wheat, barley, rice, millet were cultivated in different areas at different points of time.
• Neolithic sites in Allahabad district are noted for the cultivation of rice in the sixth millennium B.C. Domestication of sheep, goats and cattle was widely prevalent.
• Cattle were used for cultivation and for transport.
• The people of Neolithic Age used clothes made of cotton and wool.
CHACOLITHIC OR METAL AGE
• The end of the Neolithic Period saw the use of metals of which copper was the first and a culture based on the use of stone and copper arrived.
• Such a culture is called Chalcolithic which means the stone-copper phase.
• The new technology of smelting metal ore and crafting metal artifacts is an important development in human civilization.
• But the use of stone tools was not given up. Some of the micro-lithic tools continued to be essential items.
• People began to travel for a long distance to obtain metal ores which led to a network of Chalcolithic cultures and the Chalcolithic cultures were found in many parts of India.
• Generally, Chalcolithic cultures had grown in river valleys.
• Gold was probably one of the earliest discoveries, but it served as a material for ornaments only.
• Important sites of this phase are spread in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, MP, etc.
• In South India the river valleys of the Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra, Pennar and Kaveri were settled by farming communities during this period. Although they were not using metals in the beginning of the Metal Age, there is evidence of copper and bronze artifacts by the end of second millennium B.C.
• Several bronze and copper objects, beads, terracotta figurines and pottery were found at Paiyampalli in Tamil Nadu.
• The Chalcolithic people used different types of pottery of which black and red pottery was most popular.
• These people were not acquainted with burnt bricks and generally lived in thatched houses.
• It was a village economy.
• The Chalcolithic age is followed by Iron Age. Iron is frequently referred to in the Vedas.
• The Iron Age of the southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials.
• Megalith means Large Stone.
• The burial pits were covered with these stones. Such graves are extensively found in South India.
• Some of the important megalithic sites are Hallur and Maski in Karnataka, Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Adichchanallur in Tamil Nadu.
• Black and red pottery, iron artifacts such as hoes and sickles and small weapons were found in the burial pits.
PRE-HISTORIC ART
Although man struggled for his survival in the Paleolithic era, the artistic attitude made him develop several rock cut paintings in the walls of the caves. By piecing together the information deduced from these cave drawings, scholars were able to construct the history of the Paleolithic man.
• Remnants of rock paintings are found in the rock shelters located in Bhimbetka near Bhopal.
• Several other sites are situated in several districts of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
• The paintings were carved in the walls of caves with a sharp weapon.
• The paintings mainly consist of man’s struggle for survival. Hunting scenes pre-dominate.
• Paintings have 3 motifs- MAN, ANIMAL and GEOMETRIC PATTERN.
• Green and red colour paintings are found in Bhimbetka caves.
• Community dancers provide a common theme.
• Some of the pictures like women and children depict a kind of family life.

Major breakthrough in the artistic development took place in chalcolithic period when man started using pottery in his daily life. We find painted pottery with various designs in different areas. The vividness and vitality of earlier periods disappear in this new type of painting. They used many colures such as white, yellow, orange, red, green, black etc.
New developments:
• Brushes were made of plant fibre.
• Paints were made by crushing rocks. They got red from hematite, white from limestone etc.
• They engraved on rocks as a part of the rituals they perform at birth, at death, at coming of age and at the time of marriage.
• They also painted individual animal with a good pictorial quality which implies the mastery of painting skill compared to previous era.
The pre-historic paintings help us to know about the life style of man at that time, his food, his daily activities and above all, his mind-the way he thought.
OCP, BRW, PGW AND NBP WARE CULTURES
• The Chalcolithic people were the first to use painted pottery. More than a hundred sites in the Ganga-Yamuna region have yielded a type of pottery known as Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) and these sites are described as belonging to the OCP culture.
• The OCP culture is succeeded by Black and Red Ware (BRW) and Painted Grey Ware (PGW) cultures, which are characterized by diagnostic pottery types.
• In North India, there is a distinct concentration of PGW sites in Haryana and the Upper Ganga Valley.
• Iron makes its appearance in the PGW culture, and in the ensuing phase, known as the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP) culture.
a) Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP)
• The OCP culture flourished between 2000 BC and 1500 BC in a long stretch of area from Mayapur in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh to Saipai in Etawah district.
• This pottery is one medium grained clay and underfired and has a wash of ochre orange to red in colour and is inclined to rub off.
• The sites have yielded mainly objects of pottery including jars, flasks, bowls, pots, basins, terracotta bangles, animal figurines, beads of carnelian and cart wheels stone queens-and pestles. Rice, barley, gram and kesari were probably grown.
• Study suggests that the OCP pottery was a degenerated form of the late Harappan pottery style.
b) Black and Red Ware (BRW)
• Black and Red Ware (BRW) is sandwiched between OCP and Painted Grey Ware (PGW).
• The characterestic features of BRW are the black colour inside and near the rim on the outside, and red colour over the rest of the body. This colour combination was produced by inverted firing.
• Though the majority of the potteries are wheel turned, there are some handmade potteries also.
• Made of fine clay, BRW has a fine fabric.
• With thin walls BRW pottery with paintings has also been found in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar.
c) Painted Grey Ware (PGW)
• The PGW pottery type is wheel-made and was made of well-levigated clay.
• The colour of the pottery used to be ash grey from outside and the inner walls were painted with deep chocolate colour.
• Most of the sites found have been located on the river banks.
• Some of the important sites are- Rupar (Punjab), Bhagvanpura (Haryana), Noh (Rajasthan), Alamgirpur, Achchhatra, Hastinapur, Atranjikhera, Jakhera and Mathura.
d) Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP)
• The NBP ware was characterestic of the urban centres of the Gangetic Plain, and is thought to have developed from the technique of high-temperature firing used in smelting iron and from the use of hematite soil locally available.
• The NBP ware is of well levitated clay and has a glossy surface with a thin core. The ware was usually unpainted.
• It is extensively distributed as a luxury product, and the distribution helps the tracking of exchange and trade in different parts, of the Indian subcontinent.
• Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the main regions of NBP ware sites.
• It has been excavated in Ropariin Punjab, Raja-Karnaka-Quila (Haryana), Noh and Jodhpura (northern Rajasthan), Ahichchhatra, Hastinapura, Atranjikhera, Kaushambi, Sravasti, Vaishali, Patliputra. Sonepur in Bihar and Chandraketugarh in West Bengal.
The Chalcolithic people made commendable progress in ceramic and metal technology. The painted pottery was well-made and baked in kilns fired at a temperature range of 500-700°C. In the upper parts of the doab, Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) belonging to the time preiod 2100-1800 BC have been found.



Green Buildings and their Rating System in India


Green Buildings and their Rating System in India

A green building is one which uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the people living inside compared to a standard building.
• Energy saving to the extent of 30-40%.
• Enhanced indoor air quality.
• Higher productivity of occupants.
• Potable water saving to the tune of 20%-30%.
• Enhanced day light & Ventilation.
• Green buildings have a smarter lighting system that automatically switches off when no one is present inside the rooms.
• Simple technologies like air based flushing system in toilets that avoids water use by 100%.
• Use of energy efficient LED’s and CFL’s instead of conventional incandescent lamp.
Green building ratings in India
• Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is India’s own rating system jointly developed by TERI and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. It is a green building design evaluation system where buildings are rated in a three-tier process.
The GRIHA Rating System contains 34 evaluation criteria with 100 points. These criteria have been categorized into (i) Site Planning including conservation and efficient utilization of resources, health and wellbeing during building planning and construction stage (ii) Water Conservation (iii) Energy Efficiency including energy embodied & construction and renewable energy (iv) Waste Management including waste minimization, segregation, storage, disposal and recovery of energy from waste and (v) Environment for good health and wellbeing.
Commonwealth Games Village, New Delhi, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, CESE (Centre for Environmental Sciences & Engineering) Bldg, IIT Kanpur have received GRIHA ratings.
• Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design India
LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: Energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
The Indian Green Building Council has adapted LEED system and has launched LEED India version for rating of new construction.
• Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
BEE developed its own rating system for the buildings based on a 1 to 5 star scale. More stars mean more energy efficiency.
BEE has developed the Energy Performance Index (EPI). The unit of Kilo watt hours per square meter per year is considered for rating the building and especially targets air conditioned and non-air conditioned office buildings.
The Reserve Bank of India’s buildings in Delhi and Bhubaneshwar, the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre and many other buildings has received BEE 5 star ratings.

Diclofenac and Vulture Extinction

Diclofenac and Vulture Extinction

Nine species of vulture can be found living in India, but most are now in danger of extinction after a rapid and major population collapse in recent decades. The reason traced for their deterioration is the use of Diclofenac medicine.
Veterinary diclofenac caused a decline in the populations of three species of South Asia’s Gyps vulture: white-rumped, long-billed and slender-billed vultures. Oriental white-backed vultures declined by more than 99.9 per cent between 1992 and 2007, a loss of tens of millions.
It is a common anti-inflammatory drug administered to livestock and is used to treat the symptoms of inflammation, fevers and/or pain associated with disease or wounds.
It is lethal to vultures when they consume the carcasses of dead animals treated with it. It leads to renal failure in vultures damaging their excretory system.
The government had banned the veterinary use of diclofenac in 2006. The ban restricts diclofenac production to human formulations in a single 3ml dose, according to a note from BirdLife International, a global partnership of independent organisations working together for nature and people across more than 120 countries worldwide. In India it partners with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
A replacement drug: Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with analgesic and fever reducer effects was developed and proposed after tests on vultures in captivity. Meloxicam affects cattle the same way as diclofenac, but is harmless for vultures.
Effect of vulture extinction:
a) Without vultures, hundreds of thousands of animal carcasses have gone uneaten which pose a serious risk to human health. Livestock carcasses provide a potential breeding ground for numerous infectious diseases, including anthrax, and encourage the proliferation of pest species, such as rats.
b) The loss of vultures also results in an increase in the number of feral dogs around carcass dumps which has led to increase in rabies cases.
c) Traditional sky burials of some Himalayan and Parsi communities cannot be carried out.
SAVE: Saving Asia’s Vulture from Extinction, is a consortium of likeminded, regional and international organisations, created to oversee, coordinate conservation, campaigning and fundraising activities to help the plight of South Asia’s vultures.
SAVE has established captive breeding of vultures at centres in India, Nepal and Pakistan.
SAVE is also pursuing mandatory safety testing for all current and future NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in India, with a mechanism to immediately ban all but small vials of those found to be vulture-toxic.
Conservation Status of Vultures




National Wildlife Action Plan


National Wildlife Action Plan

India ranks sixth among the 12-mega biodiversity countries of the world. Conservation of biodiversity is directly linked with conservation of ecosystems and thus with water and food security. These together constitute a major plank of Indian economy.
Whereas National planning has not taken into account the adverse ecological consequences of shrinkage and degradation of wilderness from the pressures of population and commercialization. As a result, India is witnessing the alarming erosion of our natural heritage, which comprises rivers, aquifers, forests, grasslands, mountains, wetlands, coastal and marine habitats, arid lands and deserts. This has also affected natural phenomena such as breeding, ranging and migration of wildlife and geomorphological features.
Hence the government has unveiled 3rd National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) 2017-2031. It accords special emphasis to rehabilitation of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which include inland aquatic, coastal and marine eco-systems.
Proposals of the draft plan are:
• Each PA should have its own management plan, based on sound scientific and ecological data. Strict conservation zones will require more protection than management. These areas should be free of all urban facilities, tourism and public thoroughfare. Degraded habitats, or areas where conditions need to be created to favour endangered species, will also need extra-careful managing and monitoring.
• The plan seeks to put all protected areas and wildlife corridors out of bounds for all mining activities and big irrigation projects.
• It has stated restrictions on number of tourists and vehicles entering a protected area.
• It states that while tourism in the wildlife areas needs to be encouraged, it must be strictly monitored and regulated and an emphasis must be placed on tourism facilities that are sustainable, environment-friendly, moderately priced, clean and wholesome, rather than lavish.
• The draft plan calls for new regional forensic laboratories, a Special Tiger Protection Force, and setting up of special courts to deal with wildlife crime like poaching and smuggling.
• It also emphasizes on living resource conservation viz. preservation of genetic diversity and sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which has direct bearing on our scientific advancements and support to millions of rural communities.
• The Plan adopts landscape approach in conservation of all uncultivated flora and undomesticated fauna that has ecological value to mankind irrespective of where they occur.
• It accords special emphasis to rehabilitation of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which include inland aquatic, coastal and marine eco-systems.
• It also takes note of concerns relating to climate change on wildlife by integrating it in to wildlife management Planning.
• The plan underscores the increasing need for people’s support for conservation of wildlife and to this effect recommends strengthening the ‘core buffer multiple use surround’ structure with higher inputs for eco-development, education, innovation, training, extension, conservation awareness and outreach programs.
• Areas outside the protected area network are often vital ecological corridor links and must be protected to prevent isolation of fragments of biodiversity, which will not survive in the long run. Land and water use policies will need to accept the imperative of strictly protecting ecologically fragile habitats and regulating use elsewhere.
Human, wilderness and wildlife are irrevocably interlinked. With mounting agricultural, industrial and demographic pressures, wilderness areas, which are the richest repositories of wildlife and biodiversity have need to be conserved. Their continued existence is crucial for the long-term survival of the biodiversity and the ecosystems supporting them.

Sai Praveen

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