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Types of Species/Extinction of Species/IUCN Red List


Types of Species Extinction of Species IUCN Red List

Types of Species

The species according to their role are divided as:
• Dominant species
These are species with substantially higher abundance or biomass than other species in a community. They exert a powerful control over the occurrence and distribution of other species. For example: Tidal swamps in the tropics are usually dominated by species of mangrove (Rhizophoraceae).
• Keystone species
These are species that is not necessarily abundant in a community yet exerts strong control on community structure by the nature of its ecological role or niche. A small number of keystone species can have a huge impact on the environment.
A keystone species’ disappearance would start a domino effect. Other species in the habitat would also disappear and become extinct. The keystone species’ disappearance could affect other species that rely on it for survival. For example, the population of deer or rabbits would explode without the presence of a predator. The ecosystem cannot support an unlimited number of animals, and the deer soon compete with each other for food and water resources. Their population usually declines without a predator such as a mountain lion.
• Foundation Species
Foundation species play a major role in creating or maintaining a habitat that supports other species. Corals are one example of a foundation species in many islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
Corals produce the reef structures on which countless other organisms, including human beings, live. Umbrella Species An umbrella species is a large animal or other organism on which many other species depend.
• Umbrella species
Umbrella species are very similar to keystone species, but umbrella species are usually migratory and need a large habitat.
Protection of umbrella species is thought to automatically protect a host of other species. Tigers are an example of an umbrella species. Efforts to save wild tigers in forests in the Indian state of Rajasthan also accomplish the goal of saving other species there, such as leopards, boars, hares, antelopes, and monkeys.
• Critical Link Species
They are species that play an important role in supporting network species as pollinators, dispersal agents, absorption or circulation of nutrients, etc. Mycorrhizal fungi help the vascular plants in obtaining inorganic nutrients from soil and organic residues.
• Flagship species
Flagship species are species that have the ability to capture the imagination of the public and induce people to support conservation action and/or to donate funds.
These are popular, charismatic species that serve as symbols and rallying points to stimulate conservation awareness and action.
Examples of flagship species include the Bengal tiger, the giant panda, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), etc.
Flagship species can represent an environmental feature (e.g. a species or ecosystem), cause (e.g. climate change or ocean acidification), organization (e.g. NGO or government department) or geographic region (e.g. state or protected area).
• Indicator species
An indicator species is an organism whose presence, absence or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition.
Indicator species can signal a change in the biological condition of a particular ecosystem, and thus may be used as a proxy to diagnose the health of an ecosystem. For example, plants or lichens sensitive to heavy metals or acids in precipitation may be indicators of air pollution.
Indicator species can also reflect a unique set of environmental qualities or characteristics found in a specific place, such as a unique microclimate.
• Edge species
The species which are found abundantly in ecotone boundary are known as edge species.


Post-Mauryan Culture and Art


Post-Mauryan Culture and Art

Post-Mauryan Culture and Art

Contribution of Sungas
• The period saw a flowering of the visual arts, including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, and architectural monuments such as the chaitya hall at Bhaja, the stupa at Bharhut, and the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi.
• Under Shunga patronage, the core of the Great Stupa, thought to date from the era of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (273-232 B.C.), was enlarged to its present diameter of 120 feet, covered with a stone casing, topped with a balcony and umbrella, and encircled with a stone railing.
• Four famous gateways, each about thirty-five feet high, were carved during the first half of the first century A.D. Decorated with images of auspicious fertility spirits, known as yakshas and yakshis, the gateways also feature narratives depicting moments from the past lives and final existence of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.
• Motifs such as wheels, thrones, and footprints are used to symbolize the Buddha, who is not represented in human form until later.
Contribution of Satvahanas
• The Satavahanas patronized Buddhism and Brahmanism and built chaityas and viharas. They also made grants of villages and lands to Buddhist monks.
• Vashishtaputra Pulamayi repaired the old Amaravathi stupa.
• Their architecture in Nagarjunakonda was also notable.
• Brahmanism was revived by the Satavahanas along with the performance of asvamedha and rajasuya sacrifices.
Sculptural Art during Kushan Kings
Under the patronage of the Indo-Greek, Indo Scythian and Kushan kings emerged a distinct style of sculpture, popularly known as the Greco-Roman, Buddhist or Gandhara art and Mathura Art.
Gandhara Art
• It was a combination of Hellenistic, West Asiatic and native elements. Greek and Roman techniques, modified according to Indian requirements, were employed in fashioning the Gandhara sculpture which truly represents Indian culture in a Western garb.
• Its area extended from Takshila in India to the Swat Valley in Pakistan and northwards to areas in Afghanistan.
• The Gandhara sculptors made images of Lord Buddha in the Greco-Roman style. The images of Buddha resembled Greek God Apollo. It gave more stress to the bodily features and external beauty.
• In all the Buddha depicted in the Gandhara Art is shown making four types of hand gestures and this is a remarkable feature in this art. The gestures are as follows:
a) Abahayamudra : Don’t fear
b) Dhyanamudra : meditation
c) Dharmachakramudra: a preaching mudra
d) Bhumisparshamudra: Touching the earth.
Mathura Art
• Mathura School of art is purely indigenous style. Mathura art developed during post Maurya peiod (mainly during Shunga period) and reached its peak during the Gupta period (AD 325 to 600).
• The traditional centre, Mathura, remained the main art production site whereas Sarnathand Kosambi also emerged as important centres of art production. Spotted red sandstonehas been used in this school.
• Themes in the Mathura Art vary from Buddhist to Brahmanical to sometimes secular. More stress was given to the inner beauty and facial emotions rather than bodily gesture.
• Under the Mathura Art images of Vishnu and Shiva, Buddha, Yakshas, Yakshinis, Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities were found.
• In these sculptures, Buddha was depicted as Human and the main theme was Buddha and Bodhisattavas. Both sitting and standing posture of Buddha’s statues were carved out in the Mathura school.
• The art of Mathura also featured sexual imagery.
• The characteristics of the idol of the Buddha are:
(a) Buddha sitting under a Bodhi tree with right hand in Abhaya posture,
(b) Dharma Chakra and Triratna chiselled in palms and at the bottom of the feet, and
(c) Except for one lock, the entire head is shaven.
The Amravati School of Art
• The Amravati school of Art evolved during Satavahna period.
• This school of art developed at Amravati, on the banks of the Krishna River in modern Andhra Pradesh.
• This school of art had great influence on art in Sri Lanka and South-East Asia as products from here were carried to those countries.
• It is Completely indigenous in nature
• Lord Buddha is depicted in the form of `Swastika` mark. This has been carved out onthe cushioned seat over a throne that is situated under the Bodhi tree.
• They used white sandstone to construct the images.
• At a later stage the Amaravati School depicted Buddha in the human form.
• The figures of Amaravati have slim blithe features and are represented in difficult poses and curves.


National Hydrology Project


National Hydrology Project

The Project is to improve reliability and accuracy of Hydrology and Ground Water data throughout India and to improve access to this information.
The mission is to establish an effective and sound hydrological database and Hydrological Information System (HIS), together with the development of consistent and scientifically-based tools and design aids to assist in the effective water resources planning and management within each of the implementing agencies based on sound scientifically driven hydro-geological information and models.
The National Hydrology Project (NHP) is intended for setting up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation and management.
The NHP will help in gathering Hydro-meteorological data which will be stored and analyzed on a real time basis and can be seamlessly accessed by any user at the State/District/village level. The project envisages to cover the entire country as the earlier hydrology projects covered only 13 States.
It will also provide tools/systems for informed decision making through Decision Support Systems (DSS) for water resources assessment, flood management, reservoir operations, drought management, etc.
NHP also seeks to build capacity of the State and Central sector organisations in water resources management through the use of Information Systems and adoption of State of the art technologies like Remote Sensing.
The MoWR, RD&GR has adopted a paradigm shift in the management of water resources of the country by adopting a river basin approach, In order to efficiently use and manage water resources of the country~ adequacy of data, resource assessment, decision support systems, etc. are a prerequisite for allocation and prioritization of this fast depleting resource.
The Components of the Proposal are: 
• In Situ Hydromet Monitoring System and Hydromet Data Acquisition System.
• Setting up of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC).
• Water Resources Operation and Management System
• Water Resources Institutions and Capacity Building
The NHP will Result in the Improvement of:
• Data storage, exchange, analysis and dissemination through National
Water Informatics Centre.
• Lead time in flood forecast from 1 day to at least 3 days
• Mapping of flood inundation areas for use by the disaster management authorities
• Assessment of surface and ground water resources in a river basin for better planning & allocation for PMKSY and other schemes of Govt. of India
• Reservoir operations through seasonal yield forecast, drought management, SCADA systems, etc.
• Design of SW & GW structures, hydropower units, interlinking of rivers, Smart Cities.
• Fulfilling the objectives of Digital India.
• People Centric approach: The programme envisages ultimate aim for water management through scientific data collection, dissemination of information on water availability in all blocks of the country and establishing of National Water Information Centre. The automated systems for Flood Forecasting is aimed to reduce water disaster, ultimately helping vulnerable population.
• It is people and farmer centric programme as information on water can help in predicting water availability and help farmers to plan their crops and other farm related activities.
Through this programme India would make a place among nations known for scientific endeavours.


Fly Ash Utilization Policy

Fly Ash Utilization Policy

Fly ash is a byproduct from burning pulverized coal in electric power generating plants. During combustion, mineral impurities in the coal (clay, feldspar, quartz, and shale) fuse in suspension and float out of the combustion chamber with the exhaust gases. As the fused material rises, it cools and solidifies into spherical glassy particles called fly ash. Fly ash is collected from the exhaust gases by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters. The fine powder does resemble portland cement but it is chemically different. Fly ash chemically reacts with the byproduct calcium hydroxide released by the chemical reaction between cement and water to form additional cementitious products that improve many desirable properties of concrete. All fly ashes exhibit cementitious properties to varying degrees depending on the chemical and physical properties of both the fly ash and cement. Compared to cement and water, the chemical reaction between fly ash and calcium hydroxide typically is slower resulting in delayed hardening of the concrete. Delayed concrete hardening coupled with the variability of fly ash properties can create significant challenges for the concrete producer and finisher when placing steel-toweled floors.
The policy states that:
• Fly ash will be used to make bricks, blocks, tiles, wall panels, cement and other construction materials.
• It will save soil excavation and protect environment.
• Earlier, use of fly ash was allowed within 100 kms radius of power plant, now it has been extended to 300 kms, the official said.
• The policy will create new employment opportunities in the power plant areas and also make available raw material for construction at low cost to help ‘Housing for All’ projects.
• Fly ash is a fine, glass powder by-product recovered from gases of burning coal in thermal power plants during production of electricity. They are micron sized earth elements primarily consisting silica, alumina and iron.
• The Fly ash causes air pollution, contaminate water and soil systems.
• Recyclable Uses Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement contents of concrete. It can be used in the production of bricks for building construction. Central Government has made it mandatory for use of fly ash bricks in construction activities happening 500km around thermal power plants.
Maharashtra has become the first state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy, paving way for prosperity by generating “wealth from waste”, and environment protection.
The policy will create new employment opportunities in the power plant areas and also make available raw material for construction at low cost to help ‘Housing for All’ projects
Recyclable Uses: Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement contents of concrete. It can be used in the production of bricks for building construction.
Central Government has made it mandatory for use of fly ash bricks in construction activities happening 500km around thermal power plants.


Living Root Bridges


Living Root Bridges

The southern Khasi and Jaintia hills are humid and warm, crisscrossed by swift-flowing rivers and mountain streams. On the slopes of these hills, a species of Indian rubber tree with an incredibly strong root system thrives and flourishes.
Living root bridges are a form of tree shaping common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of Rubber Trees by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau.
In order to make a rubber tree’s roots grow in the right direction—say, over a river—the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems. The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they’re allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.
They are extraordinarily strong—strong enough that some of them can support the weight of 50 or more people at a time.

Sai Praveen

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