Answer the following questions in about 30 words.
How have human activities affected the depletion of flora and fauna? Explain.
Analyse any four reasons for the depletion of forest resources in India.
Human activities have greatly affected the depletion of flora and fauna in such a way as:
(a) Expansion of the commercial and scientific forestry and mining activities: Expansion of the industry causes a lot of trees to be cut and the soil is dug out during mining. This has caused depletion of resources.
(b) Agricultural Expansion: Today, even after independence, agricultural expansion is one of the major causes of depletion of forest resources. Between 1951 and 1980, over 26,200 sq. km. forest area was converted into agricultural land, especially, in the north-eastern and central region of the country. This was used for shifting cultivation (Jhum) also known as 'slash and burn' agriculture.
(c) Enrichment Plantation: Enriched plantation is plantation of only a few kinds of species. This affects the nutrient content as it has been commercialized.
(d) Development Projects: Large-scale development projects cause a lot of damage as they destroy forests and land. There are projects which are in continuation such as the Narmada sagar project in Madhya Pradesh which has caused a loss of about 40,000 hectare of forest land.
(e) Mining: Mining is yet another example. Mining leads to destruction of forests and the heap of soil which is dumped, destroys the top soil. Even after the open cast mines are filled up, the nutrient content of the soil is damaged and this damage is not repairable.
(f) Unequal Access to Resources: The 5% of the wealthiest people in the Indian society causes more ecological damage, because of the amount they consume, than the poorest 25%. They also share minimum responsibility for environmental well-being.
(g) Habitat destruction: Factors like habitat destruction, hunting, poaching, over-exploitation, environmental pollution, poisoning and forest fires have led to the decline in the country's biodiversity.