Showing posts with label APPSC GROUP-1 MAINS PAPER-4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label APPSC GROUP-1 MAINS PAPER-4. Show all posts

Friday, November 12, 2010

Forest Resources & Bio-diversity in India

1. As per data released by Ministry of Forest & Environment the total forest cover of the country as per 2005 assessment is 677,088 sq. kms and this constitutes 20.60 percent of the geographic area of the country. Of this, 54,569 sq. kms (1.66 %) is very dense forest, 332,647 sq. kms (10.12 %) is moderately dense forest, while 289,872 sq. kms (8.82 %) is open forest cover. The scrub accounts for 38,475 sq. kms (1.17 %).

2. The State/UT wise forest cover in the country shows that Madhya Pradesh with 76,013 sq. kms has the largest area under forest cover, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (67,777 km²), Chhattisgarh (55,863 km²), Orissa (48,374 km²) and Maharashtra (47,476 km²).

3. Considering the proportion of geographic area under forest cover, Mizoram has the maximum percentage of 88.63%, followed by Nagaland (82.75%), Arunachal Pradesh (80.93%), and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (80.36%). Andhra Pradesh has the largest area under scrub (9,862 km²).

4. Even though forestry is the second largest land use in India after agriculture the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product from forestry is minimal (it was barely 1.1 percent in 2001).In 2008-09 the combined share of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing was 17.1 %. An estimated 41 percent of the country’s forest cover has been degraded to some degree. As much as 78 percent of forest area is subject to heavy grazing and about 50 percent of the forest area is prone to forest fires. Domestic demand for timber and fuel wood is well above the sustainable level.

5. National Forest Policy of India targets to cover the 33% of the total geographical area under forests. Much money has been invested; however there is not positive growth.

6. India is also a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Accordingly, India had developed a ‘National Policy and Macro level Action Strategy on Biodiversity’ in 1999.

7. India is known for its rich heritage of biological diversity, having already documented over 91,000 species of animals and 45,500 species of plants in its ten bio-geographic regions.

8. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the nodal agency for implementing provisions of CBD in India, developed a strategy for biodiversity conservation at macro-level in 1999 and enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 followed by the Rules there under in 2004. The National Environment Policy, 2006, seeks to achieve balance and harmony between conservation of natural resources and development processes and also forms the basic framework for the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

9. Theme of NEP 2006: The National Environment Policy (NEP) 2006 seeks to achieve balance and harmony between conservation and development. The policy is intended to mainstream environmental concerns in all development activities. The dominant theme of this policy is that while conservation of environmental resources is necessary to secure livelihoods and wellbeing of all, the most secure basis for conservation is to ensure that people dependent on particular resources obtain better livelihoods from the fact of conservation, than from degradation of the resources.

10. International cooperation : India has participated in major international events on environment and biodiversity conservation since 1972. India has also contributed to developing the agreed texts, ratified, and complied with the commitments in various international conventions relating to biodiversity.

11. A National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) is being implemented for conservation of polluted and degraded urban/semi-urban lakes, leading to lake Rejuvenation in terms of improvement in water quality and biodiversity. As on March 2007, 31 projects for conservation of 46 lakes have been taken up.

12. A National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) is also under implementation in 160 towns along polluted stretches of 34 rivers spread over 20 states, the major rivers being Ganga, Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Satluj, Krishna, Cauveri and Godavari. The objective of NRCP is to check pollution in rivers through implementation of various pollution abatement schemes.

13. A National Medicinal Plants Board was set up under a government resolution notified on 24th November 2000 under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to promote coordination and implementation of policies relating to medicinal plants both at the Central and State levels.

14. Under a plan scheme ‘Assistance to Botanic Gardens’, financial assistance is provided to strengthen measures for ex situ conservation of threatened and endangered species. Guidelines for botanical gardens have been finalized and the vision is to have at least one botanical garden per district.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has set up a number of gene banks for ex situ conservation under the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi, National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Lucknow, and National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms (NBAIM), Mau.

15. A large number of microorganisms of agricultural importance also form a vital part of the diversified Indian agricultural ecosystem Projects have been initiated for reintroduction of threatened species into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions. Examples include mass propagation of pitcher plant, rehabilitation of mangroves in degraded open mud flats, and the effort towards relocation of rhinoceros from Kaziranga to Manas and tigers from Ranthambore to Sariska in Rajasthan.

16.India has established National Clean Development Mechanism Authority (NCDMA) for according host country approval to CDM projects as mandated under the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). One of the criteria used for approval of CDM projects is impact on biodiversity. Host country approvals have so far been accorded to 404 CDM projects facilitating investment of more than Rs, 22,000 crores.

17. The Government has set up an ‘Expert Committee on the Impacts of Climate Change’ on 7th May 2007 under the chairmanship of Dr. R. Chidambaram Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India to study the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on India and to identify the measures that may have to be taken for addressing vulnerability to anthropogenic climate change impacts.

18.A high level coordination committee chaired by Prime Minister, namely, ‘Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change’ has been set up on 6th June 2007 to coordinate national actions for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. The Government of India has released 'National Action Plan on Climate change' on 30th June 2008, which outlines a number of steps to simultaneously advance India's development and climate change - related objectives of adaptation and mitigation, including through setting up of eight National Missions.

19. Various Acts and Rules Related to Biodiversity Conservation
20. Bishnois of Rajasthan Committed to Conservation of Nature
21. Prof. M.S. Swaminathan Committe on Management of Coastal Zones

India's International cooperation in Environment & Biodiversity Conservation

India has participated in major international events on environment and biodiversity conservation since 1972. India has also contributed to developing the agreed texts, ratified, and complied with the commitments in various international conventions relating to biodiversity. These agreements are:

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Wild Species of Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, World Heritage Convention, and the Bonn Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).

Note: CBD: The Convention on Biological Diversity, known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is an international treaty that was adopted in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993.

Some other international agreements which have bearing on biodiversity to which India is a Party include UNFCCC, UNCCD, Commission on Sustainable Development, World Trade Organisation, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for food and agriculture and UN Law of the Seas. Major multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) ratified by India

  1. Convention on Wetlands of International Importance-1971 India ratified this convention in 1982. Issued covered in this convention were Conservation and wise use of wetlands,primarily as habitat for the water-birds.
  2. Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage-1972 India Ratified this convention on 04.11.1977
  3. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species-1973 India ratified this convention on 20.07.1976
  4. Bonn Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals-1979 India ratified this convention on 01.11.1983 Issued covered were Conservation, management and wise use of migratory species of wild animals and their habitats.
  5. Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer-1985 India ratified this convention on 18.03.1991Issues covered were Protection of atmospheric ozone layer above the planetary boundary layer.
  6. Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Laye-1987 India ratified this convention on 19.06.1992 Issues covered were Protection of atmospheric ozone layer above the planetary boundary layer
  7. Basel Convention on Tran boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal-1989 India ratified this convention on 24.06.1992 Issued covered were Regulation of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal
  8. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)-1992 India ratified this convention on 01.11.1993 The issues covered were Changes in the earth’s climate system due to anthropogenic interference
  9. Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC-1997 India ratified this convention on 26.08.2002 Quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments for Annex I Parties
  10. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992 India ratified this convention on 18.02.1994 Issues covered were Biological diversity and biological resources
  11. Cartagena Protocol on Bio safety to the CBD- 2000 India ratified this convention on 11.09.2003 Issues covered were Regulation of trans boundary movement, transit, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs)
  12. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 1994 India ratified this convention on 17.12.1996 Issues covered were Combating desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, particularly in Africa
  13. Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade-1998 India ratified this convention on 24.05.2005 Issues covered were Promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among the Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals, in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to their environmentally sound use.
  14. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants - 2001 India ratified this convention on 13.01.2006 Issues covered were Protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants.

A ‘Global Tiger Forum’ of tiger range countries has been created for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation. India has also actively supported numerous regional and bilateral programmes on biodiversity.

The MoEF, the nodal Ministry for the CBD and other biodiversity related conventions, is also the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), SACEP, ICIMOD, and IUCN. It has institutionalized the process for developing country’s position on major issues for negotiations under different international conventions.

In this context, the MoEF is continuously taking steps to harmonise national policies and programmes in implementation of various multilateral environment agreements, based on active involvement of various stakeholders.

The MoEF functions in partnership with a number of institutions for developing and implementing national strategies on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. These partners include Ministries, State Government departments, universities, other academic institutions, autonomous bodies, women’s organizations and NGOs.

Like- Minded Mega diverse Countries (LMMCs): India along with sixteen other mega diverse countries, rich in biodiversity and traditional knowledge, has formed a group known as the Like- Minded Mega diverse Countries (LMMCs). These countries are Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela. The LMMCs hold nearly 70% of all biodiversity. India chaired the

LMMCs for a two-year period from March 2004 to March 2006,and coordinated the activities of this group focusing particularly on access and benefit sharing issues under the CBD.

Various India Acts Related to Biodiversity Conservation:

Important Govt. of India Central Acts and Rules having Relevance to Biodiversity Conservation:
  1. Fisheries Act, 1897.
  2. Destructive Insects and Pests Act, 1914.
  3. The Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  4. Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act,1937.
  5. Indian Coffee Act, 1942
  6. Import and Export (Control) Act, 1947.
  7. Rubber (Production and Marketing) Act, 1947.
  8. Tea Act, 1953.
  9. Mining and Mineral Development (Regulation) Act,1957
  10. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  11. Customs Act, 1962.
  12. Cardamom Act, 1965.
  13. Seeds Act, 1966.
  14. The Patents Act, 1970.
  15. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  16. Marine Products Export Development Authority Act,1972.
  17. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  18. Tobacco Board Act, 1975.
  19. Territorial Water, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and other Maritime Zones Act, 1976.
  20. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977.
  21. Maritime Zones of India (Regulation and Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act. 1980.
  22. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
  23. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  24. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985/1986.
  25. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  26. Spices Board Act, 1986.
  27. National Dairy Development Board, 1987.
  28. Rules for the manufacture, use/import/export and storage of hazardous microorganisms/ genetically engineered organisms or cells, 1989
  29. Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
  30. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001
  31. Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  32. Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003
  33. Biological Diversity Rules, 2004
  34. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  35. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Policies on environmental management include the National Forest Policy, the National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development, and National Policy and Macrolevel Action Strategy on Biodiversity.

Some other sectoral policies (e.g. National Agriculture Policy and National Water Policy) have also contributed towards environmental management.

As our development challenges evolved and understanding of the centrality of environmental concerns in development sharpened, the National Environment Policy was developed in 2006.

Bishnoi Tribe of Rajasthan - Committed to Nature Conservation:

Bishnoi tribe of Western Rajasthan has, over the centuries, protected commited to the conservation of forests, trees and wild animals in and around their villages. Bishnois do not cut trees for fuel and timber; they remove only the dead trunks and twigs. Spotted deer, black buck and blue bull can be seen foraging fearlessly in their fields. Even if the crop is consumed by herds of deer, the Bishnois do not chase away the animals

In 1730 A.D. Maharaja Abhaya Singh of Jodhpur ordered cutting of trees in large numbers to provide timber for building a fortress. He sent soldiers to Bishnoi villages to cut down khejari trees growing in the area. When soldiers applied the axe, the Bishnoi villagers pleaded to spare the trees., When the soldiers did not relent, they hugged the trees and as many as 363 of them laid down their lives to save the trees.

The Bishnois worship nature in all its manifestations, conserve trees and medicinal plants, provide food and water to animals, and are vegetarians in their diet, as advocated by their Guru Jambaji.

Jambaji or Guru Jambheshwar (b. 1451) had founded Bishnoi sect after a drought in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. He made a community having 29 principles to follow , which included worship of lord Vishnu (Bishnu) and ban on Killing animals and the felling of trees. One of his 29 principles states "jeev daya palni, runkh lilo nahi dhave" which means to protect trees and animals, thus trees and animals are considered to be sacred by the Bishnois.

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan Committe on Management of Coastal Zones:

MoEF (Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India) had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Prof. M.S. Swaminathan in July, 2004, to review and make recommendations with regard to implementation and amendments if necessary, of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991.

The Expert Committee submitted its report along with recommendations, which were accepted by the MoEF in April, 2005.

The major recommendations include:Implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan rather than uniform regulatory approach

  1. Development along the coastal stretches based on the vulnerability of the coast, taking into account the natural and man made hazards
  2. Inclusion of the ocean zone for regulation.
  3. Setting up of an Institute for Coastal Zone Management to address the policy and legal issues.
  4. Abatement of the pollution of coastal areas and marine waters in a time-bound manner. Identification and mapping of the coastal Eco-sensitive areas such as mangroves, corals, and turtle breeding areas.
  5. Development of coastal bio-shield.

The MoEF has initiated steps for implementing the above recommendations which include:Preparation of a national action plan for control of pollution of coastal waters from land based activities.

  1. Pilot scale studies for demarcation of vulnerability line along identified coastal stretches through scientific organizations namely, Survey of India, Dehradun, Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad and Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.
  2. Seeking technical and financial assistance from multilateral agencies for implementing the recommendations pertaining to mapping of ecologically sensitive areas along the coastline, control of pollution in the coastal waters from land based activities and capacity building and institutional development

Monday, July 19, 2010


The Disaster Management Support (DMS) Programme of ISRO, provides timely support and services from aero-space systems, both imaging and communications, towards efficient management of disasters in the country. The DMS programme addresses disasters such as flood, cyclone, drought, forest fire, landslide and Earthquake. These include creation of digital data base for facilitating hazard zonation, damage assessment, etc., monitoring of major natural disasters using satellite and aerial data; development of appropriate techniques and tools for decision support, establishing satellite based reliable communication network, deployment of emergency communication equipments and R&D towards early warning of disasters.

To support the total cycle of disaster/ emergency management for the country, in near real time, the database creation is addressed through National Database for Emergency Management (NDEM), a GIS based repository of data. NDEM is envisaged to have core data, hazard-specific data, and dynamic data in spatial as well as aspatial form.

Airborne ALTM-DC data acquisition is being carried out for the flood prone basins in the country. The development of flight model of C band DMSAR is nearing completion. SAR data was acquired over selected basins using Development model of DMSAR. Towards providing emergency communication for disaster management activities, and at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), ISRO has set up a satellite based Virtual Private Network (VPN) linking the National Control Room at MHA with DMS-DSC at NRSC, important national agencies, key Government Offices in Delhi and the Control Rooms of 22 multi-hazard-prone States. Further ISRO has developed and deployed INSAT Type-D terminals (portable satellite phones), INSAT based Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) for fishermen, Cyclone Warning Dissemination System (CWCS) and DTH based Digital Disaster Warning System (DDWS) in disaster prone areas.

As part of R&D support to DMS for remote sensing applications, work on Tropical Cyclone Track intensity and landfall prediction, Earthquake Precursor studies, Coastal Vulnerability mapping and Early Warning of Landslides are being carried out.

The DMS programme is also supporting the many international initiatives by sharing data and information. Through International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” and Sentinel Asia (SA) initiative for supporting disaster management activities in the Asia-Pacific region, ISRO is providing IRS datasets and other information for use during major calamities.