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Factors Responsible for the Depletion of Flora and Fauna

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Factors Responsible for the Depletion of Flora and Fauna - Lesson Summary

The Asiatic Cheetah became extinct in India in 1952. The Himalayan Yew, a medicinal plant found in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. The bark, needles and roots of this plant yield a substance used to treat several types of cancer. Today, over exploitation has endangered the species.

The main reason for the depletion of fauna is excessive hunting and poaching. Forests and wetlands are natural habitats of animals and the destruction of these has resulted in the depletion of our wildlife. Over-exploitation of forests has resulted in the depletion of flora. Deforestation is one of the main causes of the depletion of flora. In colonial India vast stretches of natural forests were destroyed for the expansion of railways, agriculture, commercial farming and mining.

The colonial practice continued even after independence. Large infrastructure projects, like multi-purpose dams, have also resulted in massive deforestation. Mining also contributes to deforestation. Poor cultivation methods like slash and burn agriculture, or Jhuming, practised by tribal people in north-eastern and central India, have also led to deforestation.

Overgrazing by cattle herds also leads to large-scale destruction of pastures and natural forests. Enrichment plantation is the practice of replacing different species of trees in an area by a single commercially valuable species. Teak plantations have damaged the natural forests in south India, while Chir Pine plantations in Himalayas have greatly reduced the natural oak and rhododendron forests. Factors like environmental pollution and forest fires lead to a depletion of both our flora and fauna. The environmental factors that lead to a decline in biodiversity are caused by inequitable consumption of resources and inequitable responsibility borne for the well-being of the environment.

Hunting and poaching, habitat destruction, deforestation, over-exploitation, enrichment plantations, environmental pollution and forest fires are factors responsible for the decrease in India’s biodiversity.

However, the responsibility for the protection and conservation of the environment is not shared by people in proportion with the resources that they consume. The depletion of flora and fauna has considerable impact on society, who are directly dependent on forests for resources and livelihood.

Women have to walk long distances to collect food and firewood which leads to neglect of their children and household. Natural calamities like droughts and floods are also a result of environmental degradation and the hardest hit by these are the poorest. The flora and fauna of India are under severe threat, and require immediate measures of conservation.

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