India is the 12th wealthiest nation worldwide when it comes to biodiversity. The abundance of flora and fauna in India with more than 89,000 animal species along with more than 47,000 plant species makes it a land of natural diversity. The same is thoroughly explained in the chapter Natural Vegetation and Wildlife of Class 9 Geography Syllabus. This chapter will familiarize you with the various interesting facts about nature and wildlife. Due to its intricate details about vegetation, flora and fauna, it becomes essential to thoroughly grasp the notes of this chapter so that you can quickly go through the important pointers before the examination. So, let us understand it better through these notes.
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Definition of Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
Natural Vegetation can be simply understood as a variety of plants that have grown naturally, on their own, without any involvement of human life. Once the natural vegetation is fully grown and remains untouched by humans, it is called virgin vegetation.
Flora is commonly used to denote the plant life of a particular region, whereas fauna is used to refer to the animal life of a particular area. Both flora and fauna come together to form biodiversity of a specific period or region. Biodiversity of a particular period or region depends upon relief, climate and ecosystem. Let us study them in detail.
Land – Natural vegetation and wildlife is affected by land both directly and indirectly.
- The part of land which is fertile is devoted entirely to agriculture.
- Grasslands and woodlands help in developing and give shelter to a varied variety of wildlife in the undulating and rough terrains.
Soil – There are different types of soil which give birth to different kinds of vegetation.
- Hill slopes have soil that has conical trees
- The desert has sand soils which gives support to thorny bushes and cactus. On the other hand deltaic, wet and marshy soils support deltaic and mangrove vegetation.
Temperature – The temperature of a place determines the extent and character of vegetation along with precipitation, soil and humidity in the air. The vegetation and its growth affect the fall in temperature.
Sunlight or Photoperiod – The duration and variation of sunlight in different places is due to differences in season, latitude, altitude and duration of the day. The trees grow faster in the summer season due to the longer duration of sunlight
Precipitation – There is denser vegetation in areas which receive heavy rainfall as compared to areas of less rainfall.
Difference between Climate and Weather
An ecosystem is defined as the interdependent and interrelated relationship between all the animals and plants in an area in their physical environment. An ecosystem also consists of human beings at the centre of it. The ecosystem is an integral part of our nature and it is essential to maintain its balance. A vast ecosystem with different types of natural vegetation and wildlife is called a biome.
Forests are a renewable natural resource which plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of the environment. Forests comprise various undiscovered animal and plant species that are responsible for regulating the temperature and causing rainfall. They also control climate, soil erosion, and help sustain a livelihood.
Types of Vegetation
The following types of major vegetation are found in India.
- Tropical Evergreen Forests
- Tropical Deciduous Forests
- Tropical Thorn Forests and Scrubs
- Montane Forests
- Mangrove Forests
Let’s study these forests in detail.
Tropical Evergreen Forests
These forests are characterised by heavy rainfall and rich diversity of flora and fauna. The average rainfall received by these forests is 200 cm with an abridged dry season. Majorly these forests can be seen in the parts and coastlines of the Western Ghats areas like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Assam. The vegetation in these forests includes trees, shrubs, creepers, and have a lush, multi-layered structure while the forests remain green throughout the year. There is no specific time for the trees to shed their leaves. Commercially important trees like ebony, mahogany, rubber and even cinchona are found in abundance in the area. The forests are full of animals of a wide range from monkeys to elephants, deer and even birds, scorpions, bats, etc.
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Tropical Deciduous Forests
Also known as the Monsoon Forests, these are the most widely spread forests across the country. They receive an annual rainfall between 200-170 cm. These forests experience 6-8 weeks of dry summer when they shed their leaves. Typical animals found in these areas include lions, tigers, elephants, pigs. Tropical deciduous forests are further divided into subcategories:
Moist Deciduous Forests
The average rainfall received in these areas is between 200-100cm, and there is an abundance of woody trees found here. It includes teak, bamboo, sal, Sheesham, mulberry, etc.
Dry Deciduous Forests
The average rainfall in these areas ranges from 100-70cm, and trees like neem, peepal and sal grow here.
Have a look at the entire Geography Syllabus!
Thorn Forests and Scrubs
The Thorn forests and scrubs can be majorly seen in the areas which have rainfall less than 70cm and natural vegetation can be seen there which consists of thorns and bushes. Rajasthan, Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh are the semi-arid areas where you can find them. The trees in these areas have longer and scattered roots that penetrate deep into the soil to absorb moisture along with thick leaves to minimise evaporation. Major types are acacia, palm, and cactus. Animals found in these areas are rats, mice, tigers, lions, wolves, foxes and camels.
The forests found in the mountains at an altitude ranging from 1000-2000 metres are generally categorised under Montage Forests. The natural vegetation and wildlife in this area have Alpine vegetation which is used for grazing. The region also has tundra vegetation with mosses and lichens. Common animals in this area include Kashmiri stag, spotted deer, antelopes, yak, snow leopard, bears, sheep and goats.
All the forests which you may encounter near coastlines where mud and silt get accumulated by tides are majorly the Mangrove Forests. Dense mangrove is a common variant in mangroves where roost and plants are submerged underwater. These are found in the Kaveri Delta, Godavari Delta, Krishna Delta and Mahanadi. The Ganga-Brahmaputra Delta has Sundari trees which provide us with hard timber. The famous Royal Bengal Tiger is commonly found here.
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Next in line in our natural vegetation and wildlife notes for class 9 is the interesting topic of wildlife. The diversity of fauna contributes to the wildlife of an area. Enlisted below are some exciting facts about wildlife and nature.
- Camels found in the Thar Desert; Wild Ass found in Rann of Kachchh
- Lions are found in Gir forest in Gujarat
- Elephants found in wet forests of Assam, Karnataka and Kerala
- One-horned rhinoceros found in Assam and West Bengal
- Ladakh is home to Yaks, Wild Ox, Antelopes, Wild Sheep and Wild Ass
- Tigers are found in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarbans, and the Himalayas
- Turtles, Crocodiles and Gharials found in rivers, lakes and coastal areas
- Forests and wetlands are home to Peacocks, Ducks, Pheasants, Parakeets and Pigeons
Reasons Behind Threat to Flora and Fauna
Class 9 social science chapter for natural vegetation and wildlifeunderlines the threats to flora and fauna due to various ill human activities and natural calamities.
The ecosystem has an important role, therefore, the conservation of flora and fauna is very important. There are 1,300 plant species which are endangered and 20 species are now extinct. The main reasons behind this threat to nature are:
- Chemical and industrial waste causing pollution
- Hunting of endangered species for commercial species
- Cutting of forests rapidly for habitation
Government’s steps to conserve natural vegetation and wildlife include:
- Setting up of 18 biosphere reserves to protect natural vegetation and wildlife in India
- Botanical gardens in the country have been given financial and technical assistance since 1992. They are home to a wide range of natural vegetation and wildlife
- Natural heritage being conserved with 103 National Parks, Zoological gardens and 535 Wildlife Sanctuaries
- Missions like Project Tiger, Project Rhino, and many others are focusing on eco-developmental projects
We hope through these notes you are now equipped with important points of the chapter natural vegetation and wildlife. Are you sceptical about making the right career choices? Consult the experts at Leverage Edu and make the right career choices!