2023 GS1 Answer

Q. Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rain forest regions of India.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS1 Paper

Model Answer: 

India’s Diverse Natural Vegetation

India, a country located in the tropical region, is blessed with a rich and diverse range of natural vegetation. The country’s diverse climate, topography, and soil types contribute to the growth of various types of vegetation, ranging from tropical rainforests to alpine vegetation. The country is also home to numerous wildlife sanctuaries, particularly in the rainforest regions, which play a crucial role in conserving the rich biodiversity.

Factors Responsible for Diversity of Natural Vegetation in India:

1. Climate: The climate plays a significant role in determining the type and distribution of vegetation. Regions with high rainfall, such as the Western Ghats and Northeast India, are home to dense tropical rainforests, while arid regions like Rajasthan have sparse vegetation.

2. Soil Type: Different types of soils are suitable for different kinds of vegetation. For instance, the fertile alluvial soil of the Gangetic plains supports lush green forests, while the sandy soils of the desert areas support cactus and other xerophytic plants.

3. Altitude: The vegetation changes with the increase in altitude. The foothills of the Himalayas have tropical and subtropical vegetation, the middle altitudes have temperate forests, and the higher altitudes have alpine vegetation.

4. Human Activities: Human activities like deforestation, urbanization, and agriculture also influence the type and distribution of vegetation.

5. Topography: The physical features of the land, such as mountains, plateaus, and plains, also determine the type of vegetation. For example, the mangrove forests in the Sundarbans are a result of the region’s unique coastal topography.

Significance of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Rainforest Regions of India:

  • 1. Conservation of Biodiversity: Wildlife sanctuaries help in conserving the rich biodiversity of the rainforest regions. They provide a safe habitat for various species of flora and fauna, many of which are endangered or endemic.
  • 2. Ecological Balance: These sanctuaries maintain ecological balance by preserving the predators which keep the number of herbivores in check, preventing overgrazing and degradation of the forest.
  • 3. Research and Study: Sanctuaries serve as natural laboratories for scientists and researchers to study the ecosystem, animal behavior, and various biological and ecological processes.
  • 4. Eco-Tourism: Wildlife sanctuaries attract tourists, promoting eco-tourism which generates revenue and creates awareness about the importance of conservation.
  • 5. Climate Regulation: Rainforests play a crucial role in regulating the global climate by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Protecting these forests through wildlife sanctuaries helps in mitigating climate change.

Examples of such sanctuaries include the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, and the Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal.

Conclusion:

The diversity of natural vegetation in India is a testament to the country’s varied climate, topography, and soil types. Wildlife sanctuaries, particularly in the rainforest regions, play a crucial role in conserving this biodiversity and maintaining ecological balance. They also contribute to research, eco-tourism, and climate regulation. Therefore, it is imperative to protect and preserve these sanctuaries to ensure the survival of our rich natural heritage.

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