Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Class 9 Notes NCERT and MCQs

10-10-2022 18:23 PM IST Priyanka Chaudhary

Facts about India’s vegetation

  • India has a rich heritage of flora and fauna. India is one of the 12 mega bio-diversity countries of the world.
  • India occupies tenth place in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity.
  • There are about 15,000 flowering plants in India, which account for 6% in the world’s total number of flowering plants.

Natural vegetation refers to a plant community, which has grown naturally without human aid and has been left undisturbed by humans for a long time. This is termed as a virgin vegetation.

Factors affecting the floral and faunal diversity

  • Land – The nature of land influences the type of vegetation.
    • The fertile level is generally devoted to agriculture.
    • The undulating and rough terrains are areas where grassland and woodlands develop and give shelter to a variety of wildlife.
  • Soil – Different types of soils provide basis for different types of vegetation.
    • The sandy soils of the desert support cactus and thorny bushes, while wet, marshy, deltaic soils support mangroves and deltaic vegetation.
    • The hill slopes with some depth of soil have conical trees.
  • Temperature – On the slopes of the Himalayas and the hills of the Peninsula above the height of 915 metres, the fall in the temperature affects the types of vegetation and its growth, and changes it from tropical to subtropical temperate and alpine vegetation.
  • Photoperiod (Sunlight) – Due to longer duration of sunlight, trees grow faster in summer.
  • Precipitation – Areas of heavy rainfall have more dense vegetation as compared to areas of less rainfall.

Temperature Characteristics of the Vegetation Zones

Vegetation Zones

Mean Annual Average Temperature (in ⁰C)

Mean Temperature in January (in ⁰C)

Remarks

Tropical

Above 24⁰C

Above 18°C

No Frost

Sub-Tropical

17°C to 24°C

10°C to 18°C

Frost is rare

Temperate

7°C to 17°C

-1°C to (-10) °C

Frost some snow

Alpine

Below 7°C

Below –1°C

Snow

 

Economic Importance of Forests

  • Renewable resources
  • Play a major role in enhancing the quality of environment
  • Modify local climate
  • Control soil erosion
  • Regulate stream flow
  • Support a variety of industries
  • Provide livelihood for many communities
  • Offer panoramic or scenic view for recreation
  • Control wind force and temperature and cause rains
  • Provide humus to the soil and shelter to the wildlife

Types of Vegetation

Tropical Evergreen Forests

  • These forests are mainly found in the areas of the Western Ghats and the island groups of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar, upper parts of Assam and Tamil Nadu coast.
  • They are found in areas having more than 200 cm of rainfall with a short dry season.
  • The trees reach great heights up to 60 m or even above.
  • It has luxuriant vegetation of all kinds — trees, shrubs and creepers giving it a multilayered structure.
  • There is no definite time for trees to shed their leaves. Hence, these forests appear green all year round.
  • Some of the commercially important trees of this forest are ebony, mahogany, rosewood, rubber and cinchona.
  • The common animals found in these forests are elephant, monkey, lemur and deer.
  • One horned rhinoceros are found in the jungles of Assam and West Bengal.
  • Plenty of birds, bats, sloth, scorpions and snails are also found in these jungles.

Tropical Deciduous Forests

  • These are the most widespread forests of India.
  • They are also called monsoon forests. These are spread over the region receiving rainfall between 200 cm and 70 cm.
  • Trees of this forest type shed their leaves for about six to eight weeks in dry summer.
  • On the basis of the availability of water, these forests are further divided into:

1. Moist Deciduous Forest:

  • It is found in areas receiving rainfall between 200 and 100 cm.
  • These forests exist, therefore, mostly in the eastern part of the country — northeastern states, along the foothills of the Himalayas, Jharkhand, West Odisha and Chhattisgarh, and on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats.
  • Teak is the most dominant species of this forest.
  • Bamboos, sal, shisham, sandalwood, khair, kusum, arjun and mulberry are other commercially important species.

2. Dry Deciduous Forest:

  • They are found in areas having rainfall between 100 cm and 70 cm.
  • These forests are found in the rainier parts of the Peninsular plateau and the plains of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  • There are open stretches, in which teak, sal, peepal and neem grow.
  • A large part of this region has been cleared for cultivation and some parts are used for grazing.
  • In these forests, the common animals found are lions, tigers, pig, deer and elephants.
  • A huge variety of birds, lizards, snakes and tortoises are also found here.

The Thorn Forests and Scrubs

  • These regions have rainfall less than 70 cm.
  • The natural vegetation consists of thorny trees and bushes.
  • It is found in the north-western part of the country, including semi-arid areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
  • Acacias, palms, euphorbias and cacti are the main plant species.
  • Trees are scattered and have long roots penetrating deep into the soil in order to get moisture. The stems are succulent to conserve water.
  • Leaves are mostly thick and small to minimise evaporation.
  • These forests give way to thorn forests and scrubs in arid areas.
  • In these forests, the common animals are rats, mice, rabbits, fox, wolf, tiger, lion, wild ass, horses and camels.

Montane Forests

  • In mountainous areas, the decrease in temperature with increasing altitude leads to the corresponding change in natural vegetation.
  • There is a succession of natural vegetation belts in the same order as we see from the tropical to the tundra region.
  • The wet temperate type of forests is found between a height of 1000 and 2000 m. Evergreen broad-leaf trees, such as oaks and chestnuts predominate.
  • Between 1500 and 3000 metres, temperate forests containing coniferous trees, like pine, deodar, silver fir, spruce and cedar, are found.
  • These forests cover mostly the southern slopes of the Himalayas, places having high altitudes in southern and north-east India. At higher elevations, temperate grasslands are common.
  • At high altitudes, generally, more than 3,600 metres above the sea level, temperate forests and grasslands give way to the Alpine vegetation.
  • Silver fir, junipers, pines and birches are the common trees of these forests.
  • However, they get progressively stunted as they approach the snow-line.
  • Ultimately, through shrubs and scrubs, they merge into the Alpine grasslands. These are used extensively for grazing by nomadic tribes, like the Gujjars and the Bakarwals.
  • At higher altitudes, mosses and lichens form part of tundra vegetation.
  • The common animals found in these forests are Kashmir stag, spotted dear, wild sheep, jack rabbit, Tibetan antelope, yak, snow leopard, squirrels, Shaggy horn wild ibex, bear and rare red panda, sheep and goats with thick hair.

Mangrove Forests

  • The mangrove tidal forests are found in the areas of coasts influenced by tides because of which mud and silt get accumulated on them.
  • Dense mangroves are the common varieties with roots of the plants submerged underwater.
  • The deltas of the Ganga, the Mahanadi, the Krishna, the Godavari and the Kaveri are covered by such vegetation.
  • In the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta, Sundari trees are found, which provide durable hard timber.
  • Palm, coconut, keora, agar, etc., also grow in some parts of the delta.
  • Royal Bengal Tiger is a famous animal in these forests. Turtles, crocodiles, gharials and snakes are also found.

Medicinal Plants

  • India is known for its herbs and spices from ancient times. Some 2,000 plants have been described in Ayurveda and at least 500 are in regular use.
  • The World Conservation Union’s Red List has named 352 medicinal plants of which 52 are critically threatened and 49 endangered. The commonly used plants in India are:
    • Sarpagandha: Used to treat blood pressure; it is found only in India.
    • Jamun: The juice from ripe fruit is used to prepare vinegar, which is carminative and diuretic, and has digestive properties. The powder of the seed is used for controlling diabetes.
    • Arjun: The fresh juice of leaves is a cure for earache. It is also used to regulate blood pressure.
    • Babool: Leaves are used as a cure for eye sores. Its gum is used as a tonic.
    • Neem: Has high antibiotic and antibacterial properties.
    • Tulsi: Is used to cure cough and cold.
    • Kachnar: Is used to cure asthma and ulcers. The buds and roots are good for digestive problems.

Wildlife

Animals

Major States/Regions

Elephants

Karnataka, Assam, Kerala (Hot wet regions)

One-horned rhinoceroses

Swampy and marshy lands of Assam and West Bengal

Wild ass

Rann of Kachchh

Camels

Thar Desert

Indian lion

Gir forest

Tigers

Madhya Pradesh, the Sundarbans of West Bengal and the Himalayan region

Yak;  The shaggy horned wild ox weighing around one tonne; Tthe Tibetan antelope; The bharal (blue sheep); Wild sheep; The kiang (Tibetan wild ass)

Ladakh

Ibex; Bear; Snow-leopard; Rare red panda

 

The Himalayas

  • Indian bison, nilgai (blue bull), chousingha (four-horned antelope), gazel and different species of deer are some other animals found in India.
  • India is the only country in the world that has both tigers and lions. The Gir Forest is the last remaining habitat of the Asiatic lion.
  • In the rivers, lakes and coastal areas, turtles, crocodiles and gharials are found.
  • Peacocks, pheasants, ducks, parakeets, cranes and pigeons are some of the birds inhabiting the forests and wetlands of the country.
  • There are 2,546 species of fish, which account for nearly 12% of the world’s stock.

Wildlife Conservation

Major threats to wildlife:

  • Hunting by greedy hunters for commercial purposes
  • Pollution due to chemical and industrial waste
  • Acid deposits
  • Introduction of alien species
  • Reckless cutting of the forests to bring land under cultivation and habitation

Steps taken by the government for conservation:

  • Eighteen biosphere reserves have been set up in the country to protect flora and fauna.
  • Ten out of these have been included in the world network of biosphere reserves. The list is given below:
    • Sundarbans,
    • Nanda Devi,
    • Gulf of Mannar,
    • Nilgiri,
    • Nokrek,
    • Great Nicobar,
    • Manas,
    • Simlipal,
    • Pachmarhi and
    • Achanakmar-Amarkantak,
  • Financial and technical assistance is provided to many botanical gardens by the government since 1992.
    • Kachchh
    • Cold Desert
    • Seshachalam
    • Panna
  • Project Tiger, Project Rhino, Project Great Indian Bustard and many other eco-developmental projects have been introduced.
  • 103 National Parks, 535 Wildlife sanctuaries and Zoological gardens are set up to take care of natural heritage.
  • Eighteen Bio-reserves in India:
    • Sundarbans
    • Simlipal
    • Gulf of Mannar
    • Dihang-Dibang
    • Nilgiri
    • Dibru Saikhowa
    • Nanda Devi
    • Agasthyamalai
    • Nokrek
    • Kangchendzonga
    • Great Nicobar
    • Pachmarhi
    • Manas
    • Achanakmar-Amarkantak

Migratory Birds

  • Some of the wetlands of India are popular with migratory birds.
  • During winter, birds, such as Siberian Crane, come in large numbers. One such place favourable with birds is the Rann of Kachchh.
  • At a place where the desert merges with the sea, flamingo with their brilliant pink plumage come in thousands to build nest mounds from the salty mud and raise their young ones.
  • It is one among many extraordinary sights in the country.

MCQs based on NCERT Class 9 Geography Chapter 5: Natural Vegetation and Wildlife

1. Which one of the following pairs is not matched correctly?

(Plant)- (Medicinal use)

(a) Tulsi- Cure cough and cold

(b) Babool- Cure for eye sores

(c) Arjun- Control diabetes

(d) Sarpagandha- Regulate blood pressure

Ans. c

Explanation:

The fresh juice of Arjun’s leaves is a cure for earache. It is also used to regulate blood pressure.

2. To which one of the following types of vegetation does rubber belong to?

(a) Tundra

(b) Himalayan

(c) Tidal

(d) Tropical Evergreen

Ans. d

Explanation:

Commercially important trees like ebony, rosewood, mahogany, rubber and cinchona are found in the Tropical Evergreen forests.

3. Cinchona trees are found in areas of rainfall more than

(a) 100 cm

(b) 70 cm

(c) 50 cm

(d) less than 50 cm

Ans. a

Explanation:

Cinchona trees are found in Tropical Evergreen forests where rainfall is more than 200 cm.

4. In which of the following state is the Simlipal Bio-reserve located?

(a) Punjab

(b) Delhi

(c) Odisha

(d) West Bengal

Ans. c

Explanation:

Simlipal Bio-reserve is located in Odisha.

5. Which one of the following bio-reserves of India is not included in the world network of bioreserve?

(a) Dibru Saikhowa

(b) Gulf of Mannar

(c) Nilgiri

(d) Nanda Devi

Ans. a

Explanation:

There are 18 biosphere reserves in India. Out of these, 10 BRs are included in the world network of biosphere reserves. Dibru Saikhowa is not included in the world network of bioreserves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Natural Vegetation and Wildlife

Why are the southern slopes in Himalayan region covered with thick vegetation cover as compared to northern slopes of the same hills?

The southern slopes in Himalayan region receive enough sunlight due to less elevation as compared to the northern slopes. Also, the southern slopes receive plenty of rainfall due to south-west monsoon winds thereby promoting growth of vegetation.

When was Wildlife Protection Act implemented in India?

The Wildlife Protection Act was implemented in India in 1972.

What is an Ecosystem?

The plants and animals in an area are interdependent and interrelated in their physical environment, and therefore, forms an ecosystem.

What is a bio-reserve?

Biosphere reserves or Bioreserves are sites formed by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development and to protect flora and fauna.

What is virgin vegetation?

Vegetation grown naturally without any human help and remained undisturbed by humans for a long time.
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