Natural Vegetation and Wildlife (Class 9 Geography Chapter 5 Notes)

Natural Vegetation of India
Natural Vegetation of India/Source: Epathshala
Natural vegetation refers to plant species which are grown without human vegetation. It is also known as virgin vegetation and do not count cultivated vegetation such plant crops and cultivated fruit trees. The term flora means plant species and fauna means animal species. India is one of the 17 mega bio-diverse hotspots in the world and known for more than 47000 plant species and 90000 animal species. According to State of Forest Report, the forest cover in India is 21.05 per cent.

Factors Responsible For Plant and Animal Distribution
  1. Land (physical feature of the landmass)
  2. Soil (fertility and depth of the soil)
  3. Temperature (degree of heat)
  4. Sunlight (amount of sunlight)
  5. Precipitation (need of water)

Importance of Natural Vegetation
  1. Enhance quality of natural environment
  2. Controls local  climate
  3. Check soil erosion
  4. Regulate stream flow
  5. Support a variety of industries such as timber and food industry
  6. Provide livelihood to many communities
  7. Offer scenic view for recreation
  8. Provide shelter to the wild life

Ecosystem
The lives of all plants and animals is complexly intertwined. They depend on each other for their survival in an intricate way. This complex system of interdependecy is known as ecosystem.

Biome
A large ecosystem on earth with distint types of vegetation and animal life is known as biome.

Forests of India
There are five major types of forest found in our country. These are
1. Tropical Evergreen Forests
2. Tropical Deciduous Forests
3. Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs
4. Montane Forests
5. Mangrove Forests

Tropical Evergreen Forests
  1. Restricted heavy rain fall with average rainfall more than 200 cm
  2. Height of trees here can reach upto 60 meters
  3. No particular time for leave shedding
  4. Importnat flora: ebony, mahogany, rosewood, rubber and cinchona
  5. Importnat fauna: elephants, monkey, lemur and deer

Tropical Deciduous Forests
  1. Most widespread in India and found in the region with rainfall more than 70-200 cm
  2. Shed their leaves for 6-8 weeks during summer
  3. Importnat flora: sal, teak, peepal and neem
  4. Importnat fauna: lion, tiger, pig, deer and elephant

Thorn Forests and Scrubs
  1. Found in the ares with rainfall less than 70 cm
  2. Common in semi-arid regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana
  3. Important flora: palms, acacias, euphorbias, keeker, babool and cacti
  4. Importnat fauna: rabbits, fox, wolf, tiger, lion, wild ass, horses and camels

Montane Forests
  1. Montane vegetation changes with decrease in temperature and increase in altitude
  2. Three types of montane forests: Wet temperate forest, Temperate forest and Alpine vegetation
  3. Wet temperate forest found at the altitude between 1000-2000 m, known for evergreen broad-leaf trees such as oak and chestnut
  4. Temperate forest found at the altitude between 1500-3000 m, known for coniferous trees such as pine, deodar, silver fir, spruce and cedar
  5. Alpine Vegetation found at the altitude above 3000 m, known for silver fir, juniper, pines and birches
  6. Normally nomadic tribes live here
  7. Animals with thick hair coats such as yak, snow leopard are found here

Mangrove forest
  1. Found in coastal areas affected by tides, mostly in the delta regions of India such Ganga-Brahmaputra Delta, Kaveri-Godavari Delta and so on.
  2. Important flora: sundari, palm, coconut, keora and agar
  3. Important fauna: royal bengal tiger, turtles, crocodiles, gharial sand snakes

Medicinal Plants in India
  1. India is known for its use of medicinal plants from ancient times.
  2. More than 2000 plants are mentioned in Vedic literature and atleast 500 plants are still in use
  3. IUCN list named 352 medicinal plants with 52 as critically threatened and 49 as endangered
  4. Some of these plants are Sarpagandha, Arjun, Jamun, Babool, Neem, Tulsi and Kachnar

Wildlife of India
  1. India is known for more than 90000 animal species, 2000 bird species and 2500 fish species.
  2. Some of the important animals of India are Elephant (Assam, Karnataka and Kerala), Royal Bengal Tiger (Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Himalayan Region), Asiatic Lion (Gujarat), One-horned rhinoceros (Assam and West Bengal), Wild Ass and Camels (Gujarat and Rajasthan).
  3. Other important animals of India include Indian Bison, Chousingha, Gazel and other different varieties of deer.
  4. In river coastal areas, turtles, gharials and crocodiles are found. India is also home to Susu, a blind river dolphin.

Wildlife Protection
Due to human greed, several plant and animal species are in danger. Some are on the verge of extinction and some have already extincted. However, looking at the crisis, several Governments across the world understood the need of balancing ecosystem. The Government of India has also take some steps in order to protect our environment. Some important steps are
  1. Setting up 18 biosphere reserves, 103 National Parks and 543
  2. Providing financial and technical assistance to botanical and zoological gardens
  3. Animal protection initiatives such as Project Tiger, Project Rhino, Project Hangul and Project Great Indian Bustard