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Population Ecology


Population Ecology

Population Ecology

Population ecology is an important area of ecology because it links ecology to population genetics and evolution. A population has certain attributes that an individual organism does not.
An individual may have births and deaths, but a population has birth rates and death rates. In a population these rates refer to per capita births and deaths, respectively. The rates, hence, expressed is change in numbers (increase or decrease) with respect to members of the population.
The characteristics of any population depends on: (i) density of the population, (ii) natality (birth rate), (iii) mortality (death rate), (iv) dispersal, (v) biotic potential (vi) age distribution (vii) dispersion and (viii) growth form.
Characteristics of Population
Populations have a number of attributes. Different populations can be compared by measuring these attributes. A population has following group characteristics:
1. Density
The size of population is represented by its density. Density is expressed as the total number of individuals present per unit area or volume at given time. Density varies from time to time and from one area to another. For example, greater density of plants during rainy season as compared to dry season.
2. Natality
The increase in the number of individuals in a population under given environmental conditions is called natality. Birth, hatching, germination, vegetative propagation, etc are account for natality. When the increase in individuals is expressed per unit time, it is called natality rate.
3. Mortality
The loss of individuals due to death in a population under given environmental conditions is termed mortality. When the number of individual dying is expressed per unit time, it is called mortality rate.
4. Dispersal
The majority of organisms dispersed at one time or the other during their life cycles. The individuals move into (immigration) and move out of the population (emigration), and these movements affect the size of the population.
5. Age Distribution
Various age groups in a population determine its reproductive status. The three ages referred as ecological ages in a population are:
• Pre-reproductive
• Reproductive
• Post-reproductive
Distribution of age groups influences the population growth. Populations with more young members grow rapidly, while the declining populations have a large proportion of older individuals. The age structure in a population is also linked to births and deaths.
6. Sex ratio
Sex ratio is an important aspect of population. It refers to the ratio between female and male individuals in a population.
POPULATION GROWTH MODELS
The growth models are classified as:
(i) Exponential growth: Resource (food and space) availability is obviously essential for the unimpeded growth of a population. Ideally, when resources in the habitat are unlimited, each species has the ability to realise fully its innate potential to grow in number, as Darwin observed while developing his theory of natural selection. Then the population grows in an exponential or geometric fashion.
(ii) Logistic growth: No population of any species in nature has at its disposal unlimited resources to permit exponential growth. This leads to competition between individuals for limited resources. Eventually, the ‘fittest’ individual will survive and reproduce. The governments of many countries have also realised this fact and introduced various restraints with a view to limit human population growth. In nature, a given habitat has enough resources to support a maximum possible number, beyond which no further growth is possible. Let us call this limit as nature’s carrying capacity (K) for that species in that habitat. A population growing in a habitat with limited resources show initially a lag phase, followed by phases of acceleration and deceleration and finally an asymptote, when the population density reaches the carrying capacity.
RECENT CENSUS
1. Global Tiger Census 2016
• The number of wild tigers has gone up globally by 22 per cent to 3,890, from the earlier 2010 estimate of 3200, according to the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
• The updated minimum figure, compiled from International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) data and the latest national tiger surveys, can be attributed to multiple factors including increases in tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan, improved surveys and enhanced protection.
• Despite countries such as India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan registering a spike in tiger population, the status of the animal remains “endangered”. According to the WWF, hundred years ago there were 100,000 wild tigers. By 2010, there were as few as 3,200. Therefore, in 2010, tiger range governments agreed to act to double wild tigers by the next Chinese Year of the Tiger in 2022. This goal is known as Tx2.
• Trade in tiger products is banned in most of the world, and yet a black market persists. For tigers to assuredly get on more stable ground, demand for their skins and other parts must be curtailed in Asia, particularly China.
• Conservationists have worked with leaders of Traditional Chinese Medicine to reduce the amount of tiger products going into treatments, which scientists say don’t work anyway. At the same time, however, new black markets have emerged in China for shampoos, tonics, and tchotchkes made of tigers, often as status symbols.
• Methodology of Tiger Census
a) Pugmark technique: It has been one of the most popular ways of counting tigers. Each tiger is known to leave a distinct pugmark on the ground and these are different from the others in the big cat family. Photographs or plaster casts of these pugmarks are then analysed to assess the tiger numbers.
b) Installation of Cameras: Cameras could be left in dense forests for several days to capture images of individual tigers. But it is not possible to install cameras at every place that is likely to have tigers, and even in places where they are installed, there is no certainty that the tiger would walk into a camera’s range.
c) Double-sampling Method: This is the new method adopted by Wildlife Institute of India in Tiger Census 2015. The first stage involved ground survey by the forest department. Under this forest department staff collect evidences of tiger presence such as pugmarks, scat, scratches on trees or other such unmistakable signs of tiger presence.
The next stage involved camera trapping. Based on the ground surveys locations were chosen for installing cameras. These cameras are heat and motion sensitive. They lie idle till they detect any motion or a sudden change in temperature which means, they capture just about anything that moves – other animals, even birds. All these get captured by the camera.
Each tiger is known to have a very unique stripe pattern. This is used to differentiate one tiger from the other.
2. Leopard Census
The Census has put the spotted cat population at 7,910 in and around tiger habitats across the country, except the northeast.
The leopards were counted using the methods as getting pictures of animals through camera-trapping and gathering other evidence of their presence, and then extrapolating the numbers to cover the entire forest landscape.
The exercise covered 3,50,000 sq km of forested habitat across the Shivalik hills and Gangetic plains, central India and the Western Ghats landscape.
The study found the species well distributed across the country, indicating that India’s leopard population is “quite healthy”.
With an estimated population of 1,817, Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the top leopard state in the country. It’s followed by Karnataka (1,129), Maharashtra (905), Chhattisgarh (846) and Tamil Nadu (815).
Issues with the census:
• The census did not cover the higher Himalayas.
• The census also did not cover Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan and east India, and the entire northeast.
• Non-tiger states – such as Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana or Punjab – were not covered.
3. Lion Census report, 2015
• According to the Lion Census Report, the population of Asiatic lions has been found to have increased considerably in the Gir wildlife sanctuary – from 411 during the last census in 2010 to 523 in 2015.
• The enumerators found 109 adult males, 201 adult females, and 213 cubs and sub-adults distributed across four districts – Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, and Bhavanagar.
• The Lions are a subspecies of lion which are slightly smaller than their African cousins and have a fold of skin along their bellies. They are a major attraction for tourists to Gujarat.
• The lions face the usual threats of poaching and habitat degradation. Three major roads and a railway track pass through the Gir Protected Area. Also, there are three big temples inside the Protected Area that attract large number of pilgrims, particularly during certain times of the year. This is leading to the devastation of biodiversity in the region.
• On the other hand, the increased population of lions has resulted in their spill over the area. Therefore, at present, the most pressing threat to the lion population of the Gir forest comes from the increasing hostility toward them from the resident human population. Due to the increase in population, about 100 lions stay outside the area and face conflicts with humans.
• Therefore the forest Department has formed a task force under the chairmanship of S C Pant, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and chief wildlife warden of Gujarat to study the phenomenon and form a strategy for conservation of increased population and lion landscape.
• The task force has been asked to study and analyse results of the 2015 lion census and prepare a report based on which a strategy can be formed for future conservation of increased population of endangered lions and management of expanded territory of the species.


Buddhism/Jainism


Buddhism Jainism

Buddhism

Gautam Buddha founded Buddhism and is known as Supreme Buddha. He was born in Lumbini, a little principality of Kapilvastu in modern day Nepal.
Buddhahood or Buddhatva is the state of perfect enlightment attained by a Buddha. This refers to the universal and innate property of absolute wisdom.
Symbols of 5 great events of Buddha’s Life:
• Buddha’s Birth: Lotus & Bull.
• The Great Departure (Mahabhinishkramana): Horse.
• Enlightment (Nirvana): Bodhi Tree.
• First Sermon (Dhammachakraparivartan): Wheel.
• Death (Parinirvana): Stupa.
Four Noble Truths:
Four noble truths were taught by Buddha in Dhammachakraparivartan. They are the core teachings of Buddhism.
• Sorrow: The world is full of sorrow and everything from birth to death brings sorrows in life.
• Cause of Sorrow: The cause of sorrows is desire. It is the un-fulfillment of human desires which leads him to the vicious cycle of births and rebirths.
• Prevention of Sorrow: It is possible to prevent sorrow. Man can get rid of sorrow by triumphing over the desires.
• The path of Prevention of Sorrow: Man can avoid sorrow by avoiding extremes of life and following middle path or Madhyam Patipada. The life of moderation and self control along with pursuance of 8 fold path is essential to prevent the sorrow.
The Eightfold Path of Buddhism:
They are also called the Middle Path and is the system of following these eight divisions of the path to achieve spiritual enlightenment and cease suffering:
• Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths are noble and true.
• Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith.
• Right speech: Avoiding slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech.
• Right conduct: Adhering to the idea of nonviolence (ahimsa), as well as refraining from any form of stealing or sexual impropriety.
• Right means of making a living: Not slaughtering animals or working at jobs that force you to violate others.
• Right mental attitude or effort: Avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy.
• Right mindfulness: Having a clear sense of one’s mental state and bodily health and feelings.
• Right concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.
Buddhist Literature:
• Tripitaka: Tripitaka or Three Baskets is a traditional term used for various Buddhist scriptures. It is known as pali Canon in English. The three pitakas are Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.
• Sutta Pitaka: It contains over 10 thousand suttas or sutras related to Buddha and his close companions. This also deals with the first Buddhist council which was held shortly after Buddha’s death, dated by the majority of recent scholars around 400 BC, under the patronage of king Ajatasatru with the monk Mahakasyapa presiding, at Rajgir.
• Vinaya Pitaka: The subject matter of Vinay Pitaka is the monastic rules for monks and nuns. It can also be called as Book of Discipline.
• Abhidhammapitaka: It deals with the philosophy and doctrine of Buddhism appearing in the suttas. However, it does not contain the systematic philosophical treatises. There are 7 works of Abhidhamma Pitaka which most scholars agree that don’t represent the words of Buddha himself.
Some terminologies associated with Buddhism
• Nirvana: The concept of Nirvana in Buddhism is entirely different from the Hinduism. Buddhism denied the concept of Moksha, however it defines Nirvana has to getting rid of Cycle of Death and birth. It is achieved in the lifetime itself and not after death. To achieve nirvana one should follow moral code of Conduct.
• Jatakas: Jatakas are very much close to folklore literature and they contain the tales of previous births of Buddha in poems. The Jataka have also ben mentioned in the Khuddaka Nikaya. There are 547 poems.
• Buddha Charita: Buddha Charita is an epic style Sanskrit work by Ashavaghosa and was compiled in second century BC. Dharmaraksa who is known to have translated many works of Buddhism in Chinese, translated this work in Chinese in 420AD. It mainly deals with Buddha’s Life. Asvaghosa also wrote a Sanskrit Drama “Sariputra Prakaran” which deals about Sariputta or Sariputra the disciple of Buddha.
• Bodhi Vamsa: Bodhi Vamsa is a mix Sanskrit Pali text which was composed by Upatissa under the rule of Mahinda IV of Sri Lanka in 10th century AD. It describes the arrival of branch of Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka and many other things which mentioned in Mahavamsa.
• Hinayana:
a) Hînayâna is the orthodox, conservative schools of Buddhism
b) Don’t believe in Idol Worship and try to attain individual salvation through self discipline and meditation.
c) Asoka Patronized Hinayana
d) Pali the language of masses was use by the Hinayana scholars.
e) It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma.
• Mahayana:
a) Mahayana Buddhism, also known as the Great Vehicle, is the form of Buddhism prominent in North Asia, including China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, and Japan.
b) This sect believes in the heavenliness of Buddha and believes in Idol Worship.
c) Fundamental principles of Mahayana doctrine were based on the possibility of universal liberation from suffering for all beings (hence the “Great Vehicle”) and the existence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas embodying Buddha Nature.
d) It allows salvation to be alternatively obtained through the grace of the Amitâbha Buddha by having faith and devoting oneself to mindfulness of the Buddha. This sect believes in Mantras.
e) The main Mahayana sects include Pure Land, Zen, and Vajrayana (or Tantric) Buddhism.
• Vajrayana Buddhism
a) The Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism spread to China, Mongolia, and Tibet.
b) Vajrayana Buddhists recognise a large body of Buddhist Tantras, some of which are also included in Chinese and Japanese collections of Buddhist literature, and versions of a few even in the Pali Canon.
• Zen Buddhism
a) Zen Buddhism pronounced Chan in Chinese, seon in Korean or Zen in Japanese (derived from the Sanskrit term dhyana, meaning “meditation”) is a form of Buddhism that became popular in China, Korea and Japan and that lays special emphasis on meditation.
b) Zen places less emphasis on scriptures than some other forms of Buddhism and prefers to focus on direct spiritual breakthroughs to truth.
c) Zen Buddhist teaching is often full of paradox, in order to loosen the grip of the ego and to facilitate the penetration into the realm of the True Self or Formless Self, which is equated with the Buddha himself.
• Bodhisattva: A Bodhisattva means one who has essence of enlightment. Anyone who has a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all is a Bodhisattva. It’s a very popular subject in Buddhist art. A bodhisattva is bound to enlightment and refers to all who are destined to become Buddhas in this life or another life. There are celestial bodhisattvas which are manifestations of Gautam Buddha.
• Buddhist Shrines: Astamahasthanas: These are 8 great holy places. They are as follows:
a) Lumbini: Birth of Buddha.
b) Bodhgaya: Enlightment of Buddha.
c) Sarnath: First sermon or Dhammachakraparivartan.
d) Kushinagar: Death or mahaparinirvana.
Along with them, Sravasti, Sankasya, Rajgir and Vaishali are known as Astamahasthanas.
• Religious places:
a) Amaravati
b) Nagarjunkonda
c) Ajanta Caves
d) Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
e) Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya
f) Borobudur (Indonesia)
g) Bamyan Caves (Afghanistan)
h) Ellora Caves
Royal Patronage to Buddhism
Emperor Asoka Maurya, Kanishka, ruler of Magadha emperor Bimbisara from India and Countries like Laos, Cambodia, Tibet, Thailand, some parts of China, Japan and Malaysia gave royal patronage to Buddhism.

BioCarbon Fund Initiative


BioCarbon Fund Initiative

The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) is a multilateral fund, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank. It seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.
Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States together committed $280 million – up to $135 million from Norway, $120 million from the U.K, and $25 million from the U.S. – as part of their efforts to slow climate change.
The initiative will be managed by the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private program housed within the World Bank that mobilizes finance for activities that sequester or conserve carbon emissions in forest and agricultural systems.
The new Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes seeks to scale up land-management practices across large landscapes, including improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable forest management, with a focus on protecting forests and greening and securing supply chains.
It will engage a broader range of actors, including the private sector, initially through a portfolio of four to six programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Global Environment Facility

Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established in October 1991 to provide new and additional grants and concessional funding to cover additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits.
The GEF unites 180 member governments in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.
It is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment and it provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, ozone depleting substances, persistent organic pollutants and international waters.
Financial Mechanism for 5 major international environmental conventions: the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. GEF funding to support the projects is contributed by donor countries. These financial contributions are replenished every four years (see GEF Replenishment documents). The funds have been provided by the GEF 39 donor countries.
GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.


National Air Quality Index


National Air Quality Index

National Air Quality Index (AQI) has been launched for monitoring the quality of air in major urban centres across the country on a real-time basis and enhancing public awareness for taking mitigative action.
The Union Environment Ministry proposes to extend the measurement of air quality to 22 state capitals and 44 other cities with a population exceeding one million.
Salient features of the Index:
• The Index is centred around five chief pollutants: Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.
• The unit of measurement is microgram (or milligram in the case of CO) per cubic meter.
• The AQI has been at present launched for 10 cities — Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
• The AQI has been developed by the Central Pollution Control Board in consultation with IIT-Kanpur and an expert group comprising medical, air-quality professionals and other stakeholders.
• India has joined the global league of countries like the US, China, Mexico and France that have implemented smog alert systems.
• India has set standards for a particular level of pollutant. Here’s what the code is:


Sai Praveen

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