Environmental Studies is a very important subject for CTET and Other TET Exams. Flora and Fauna is a significant topic of this subject. You can expect 2 or 3 questions in the examination, so here we are providing study notes on this topic. These study notes will be helpful for the preparation of CTET and State TET exams.
About Flora and Fauna:
You must have heard these two terms Flora and Fauna before. In easy terms, Flora and fauna refer to plants and animals. In the most general sense, these encompass pretty much all the life on earth. Before we take a look at how various scientists have divided flora and fauna into the different group, let’s have a glance at these two terms.
Flora is all the plant lives occurring in a particular region or at a particular time, generally, the naturally occurring or indigenous also known as native plant life. Word flora is derived from a Latin word which means Goddess of Flowers.
Fauna is a group of indigenous animals of any geographical region. Word fauna is originated from the name of a Roman Goddess.
These two terms flora and fauna were coined by biologists to refer to the collection of plant and animal that are found in a given geographic location. So we can say that these words are the collective term for plants and animals of a particular topographical region.
In the topic of flora and fauna, we need to focus on the understated points:
- Meaning of Flora and Fauna
- Classification of Flora and Fauna (non-scientific classification)
- Flora and Fauna of India
- Importance of Flora and Fauna
Flora in a general sense can be subdivided into special categories - Native flora, Weed flora, and Horticultural flora.
As the name suggests Native flora, refers to the indigenous or native flora in a specific area. For example, cacti are the native flora of deserts all over the world. Although cacti can grow in all-weather conditions yet these are native vegetation of deserts.
Horticultural flora also known as garden flora refers to the flora which is cultivated by human beings for their use. Primarily agricultural plants come under this category. Agricultural plants are grown by human beings for their own need. These may or may not be native.
Weed flora is usually referred to as undesirable wild plants. Humans generally wish to remove such plants from a particular region. Various methods are used to remove them from the undesired fields.
India has a wide range of climate, topology, and habitat due to which the flora of India is one of the richest flora in the world. There are over 18,000 species of flowering plants, which constitute some 6-7 percentage of the total plant species in the world. India has a variety of endemic species of plants. Since ancient times plants have been used as a source of medicines in India. There are more than 3000 Indian plant species possessing great medicinal potential. India is divided into eight main floristic regions: Western Himalayas, Eastern Himalayas, Assam, Indus plain, Ganges plain, the Deccan, Malabar and the Andaman.
As we have discussed earlier fauna is used to describe all the animal life present in a particular area at a particular time. This is the hardest class to list. The numbers of organisms on this earth are simply enormous, and placing each and every creature within a logical hierarchy is still a tough task. It is still in progress.
Classification of Fauna can be done in many different ways. Its classification is more complex than floral classification because animal life has evolved into many different forms. Major categories of fauna include Avifauna, Piscifauna, Cryptofauna, Microfauna, and megafauna.
The avifauna includes mainly birds, Piscifauna are fishes, microfauna includes extremely small animals and megafauna include large animals, those we usually see. It is important to note that it is a simple classification as microscopic animals such as bacteria and viruses are not included in this classification. Cryptofauna are extremely rare animals that are rarely seen and maybe extinct or may only exist mythologically. There are still many other species dwelling on this earth that are yet to be discovered and named.
Fauna of India:
Our country India is home to a variety of well-known large mammals. These include the Asian elephants, Bengal and Indo-Chinese Tigers, Asiatic lions, Snow leopards, Clouded leopards, Indian leopards, Indian sloth bear and Indian rhinoceros.
The most special feature of our country is, it has some of the world's most biodiverse regions. India has a wide range of ecozones—desert, high mountains, highlands, tropical and temperate forests, swamplands, plains, grasslands including rivers. India has 4 biodiversity hotspots, the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region and the Sunderland including the Nicobar Islands. Numerous endemic species dwell in these various hotspots. India is home to 7.6% of all mammalian, 12.6% of all avian, 6.2% of all reptilian, 4.4% of all amphibian, 11.7% of all fish, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.
Importance of flora and fauna:
1.For maintaining ecological balance:
Without flora and fauna, it is quite impossible for the human race to exist on this beautiful earth. The flora being the sole producer on this earth is capable of generating and releasing oxygen, which is needed by the fauna for respiration. Fauna, in turn, produces and releases carbon dioxide, which is needed by the flora for photosynthesis. Interestingly it’s a symbiotic kind of relationship. Humans cannot survive without both flora and fauna. The oxygen that we breathe in comes from the flora, and the carbon dioxide we exhale is vital for the flora.
Humans are dependent on flora and fauna in regards to sources of food, medicine, and water. Our main source of food comes from plants and animal species. Majority of medicines that we use to cure diseases come from flora. It is clear from the above discussions that human beings, plants, and animals are interdependent on one another.
2. Aesthetic value:
Undoubtedly humans love and appreciate nature. Many of us like spending time in the lap of nature, such as forests, natural areas, parks and other green spaces because of their aesthetic value.
3. Expands local economies:
Flora and fauna are contributing a lot to most world economies regarding tourism. For example, flora and fauna of many rainforest areas attract numerous scientists and explorers. For example, the Amazon rainforest contributes about $50 million dollars to the Brazil economy.
Hundreds and thousands of flora and fauna species across the world bring out the true beauty of planet earth and enable humans to experience two separate worlds in one. Flora and fauna contribute to a well-balanced ecosystem; it’s only fair that we take steps to preserve them to enjoy their benefits to the end of time.
Important Questions on Flora and Fauna:
1. Which type of vegetation (flora) and the wildlife (fauna) found in the Ganga – Brahmaputra delta.
Ans- Dense mangrove forest is found in this region. Animals that are found in this region are Royal Bengal Tiger, Turtles, crocodiles, gharials, and snakes are also found here.
2. Give two examples of animals found in tropical regions
Ans- Tiger and elephant
3. What is an endangered species? Give some examples?
Ans- A plant or animal species that are existing in such small numbers or they are in danger of becoming extinct, due to increased human activity are known as endangered. For example Black Buck and Asiatic Lion.
4. Name two famous national Parks of India?
Ans- 1. Rajaji National Park famous for elephants
2. Jim Corbett National Park famous for Royal Bengal Tiger
5. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is found in which state of India?
Ans- In Uttarakhand. The Nanda Devi National Park or Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is established in 1988.
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