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What Is India News Service
Tuesday, November 20, 2007


 

   Indian Environmental Paradigm


 

 

India possesses a distinct identity, not only because of its geography, history and culture but also because of the great diversity of its natural ecosystems.  The panorama of Indian forests ranges from evergreen tropical rain forests in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Western Ghats, and the north-eastern states, to dry alpine scrub high in the Himalayas to the north.  Between the two extremes, the country has semi-evergreen rain forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn forests, subtropical pine forests in the lower montane zone and temperate montane forests.  The forests of India have been known to be one of the richest in terms of vegetation types and species diversity, and are classified into sixteen major forest types ranging from the Himalayan temperate forests to dry zone forests.  The total forest cover at current estimates is approx. 20% of the total geographic area. The forest diversity includes about 17,000 flowering plants with over 5000 endemic species, and over 81,00 faunal species.  Several of them are highly endangered. 

The near-shore coastal waters of India are extremely rich fishing grounds. The total commercial marine catch for India has stabilized over the last ten years at between 1.4 and 1.6 million tons, with fishes from the clupeoid group (e.g. sardines Sardinella sp., Indian shad Hilsa sp. and whitebait Stolephorus sp.) accounting for approximately 30% of all landings.

India contains 172 species of animal considered globally threatened by IUCN, or 2.9% of the world's total number of threatened species.  These include 53 species of mammal, 69 birds, 23 reptiles and 3 amphibians. India contains globally important populations of some of Asia's rarest animals, such as the Bengal Fox, Asiatic Cheetah, Marbled Cat, Asiatic Lion, Indian Elephant, Asiatic Wild Ass, Indian Rhinoceros, Markhor, Gaur, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo etc.

The forests of India have been known to be one of the richest in terms of vegetation types and species diversity, and are classified into sixteen major forest types ranging from the Himalayan temperate forests to dry zone forests.

Deforestation and degradation together represent the two principal threats to forests in India.  Rapid and uncontrolled economic growth coupled with rising demands for forest based products have led to severe loss of forest resources and habitats.

Diversion for forestland for industrial and developmental activities, shifting cultivation, over grazing, encroachments and forest fires have led to a decline in the ecological functions and values of forest ecosystems. Unsustainable and illegal logging practices resulting in increasing forest degradation.

 

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