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GS-III: Biodiversity in the time of deluge Context Floods impact the poorest strata of society the most, causing a loss of lives, livelihood options, and assets. There is a need for the assessment of floods from a ‘sustainable development’ perspective. Causes for floods The root cause of such floods in the high precipitation levels. Anthropogenic factors like unscientific development and over-exploitation of nature aggravate the damages. The global climat
Context World Wide Fund for Nature released the first-ever global assessment of forest biodiversity. Background Forest biodiversity had never been assessed, but forest area was often used as a proxy indicator. The new findings were based on the Forest Specialist Index, developed following the Living Planet Index methodology an index that tracks wildlife that lives only in forests. Keys of report There has been a 53 per cent decline in the number of forest wildlife p
Himalayan Ibex Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Environment A recent study by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has proved that Himalayan Ibex is a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex. Key Points The study was funded through the National Mission on Himalayan Studies. The National Mission on Himalayan Studies is implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It targets to provide much needed focus
Agasthyavanam Biological Park PT PICKSUP Established in 1997, Agasthyavanam Biological Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The park is located near Thiruvananthapuram/Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala. It is contiguous to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary. The park has been named after the Agasthyamalai Agasthyakoodam Peak, which can be seen at a distance from the park The Aga
Naveen Patnaik conferred PETA’s “Hero to Animals Award”for feeding community animals The Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik has been conferred with Hero to Animals Award by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India for feeding community animals in five municipal corporations and all 48 municipalities of Odisha during the COVID-19 lockdown. He has allocated Rs 54 lakhs from a relief fund for the same. He has presented a framed ce
Earth Day Every year on April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. The Earth day is conducted in more than 192 countries around the world. The Earth Day is expected to display backing for conserving the environment. UNESCO Conference held in 1969 recommended selecting March 21st, 1970 as the first Earth Day. The United States chose to celebrate a separate Earth Day on April 22nd annually. Later this date became the internationally accepted Earth Day in 1990. There are also several communities th
Context: The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here is gearing up to play a key role in a nationwide project to decode the genetic information of all known species of plants and animals in the country. Indian Initiative on Earth BioGenome Sequencing (IIEBS) The Institute has been selected as one of the Biological Knowledge and Resource Centres of the Indian Initiative on Earth BioGenome Sequencing (IIEBS). It will join hands with other pre
Context: The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organized an IDEAthon on “The future of River Management’ to explore how the COVID-19 crisis can shape River Management strategies for the future. Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for most countries across the globe which has witnessed some sort of lockdown in most of the places. While the general narrative around this crisis
Environment Impact Assessment Notification(EIA), 2020 extended till 30th June. Context The Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 published the draft notification namely, Environment Impact Assessment Notification extending the EIA assessment by 2 months till 30th June due to COVID-19 pandemic. About Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental im
Lockdown air: less NO2, same PM2.5 and more urban ozone Introduction While traffic pollution has been falling, the lockdown may be leading to the generation of a dangerous pollutant, urban ozone, which can cause airway inflammation in humans. The research is specific to the UK. It has been conducted by experts from The University of Manchester. Nitrogen oxides Levels of nitrogen oxides were found reduced in most locations in the UK during mid-March and April. The level of decline
Cobra Lily The incredibly rare Arisaema translucens, more commonly known as the cobra lily, was recently rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after 84 years. They can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris. The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris, who know the plant well, have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it. The indigenous community could predict the early arrival of monsoon from the
New Ginger Species Scientists have discovered two new species of Ginger in Manipur and Nagaland. They were found in easternmost districts bordering Myanmar. Both the plants are from the family of Zingiberaceae, to which the commonly found Ginger (Zingiberofficinale) belongs. The species discovered in Nagaland, is an epiphytic plant and grows on tall trees. The species from Manipur was found growing in rock crevices, boulders and humus rich soil in the Shirui Hills.
Prafulla Samantara He is the Green Nobel Prize winner and environmental activist. Green Nobel Prize The Green Nobel, also known as the Goldman Environmental Prize, is the gift awarded to six environmental activists every year. The six environmental activists are selected from the six geographical regions on the planet (Central and South America, North America, Island nations and Islands, Europe, Africa, and Asia). The award identifies environmental activists from each of these
Wayand’s giant jackfruit enters Guinness record A massive jackfruit, weighing over 52 kg and 117 cm long, is eyeing to enter the Guinness record book. The fruit was found in a private plantation at Kappattumula in nearby Mananthavady and is likely to replace the existing Guinness record of the heaviest jackfruit globally. Another giant jackfruit, weighing 51.500 kg, from Kollam, is also vying for the record books. As on date, the worlds heaviest jackfruit according to the Guinness
States express desire to expedite early notification of Ecologically Sensitive Area of Western Ghats. Context: Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today interacted with Chief Ministers, Cabinet Ministers & State Government Officers of six states viz, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu through Video Conference to discuss issues relating to notification of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) pertaining to Western Ghats.
Sholas The Sholas are a mosaic of mountane evergreen forests and grasslands. They are found only in high altitude (>1500 metres above sea level) regions within the tropics, and are limited to the southern part of the Western Ghats. They are characterised by undulating grassland patches, interspersed with thickets of stunted evergreen tree species. Recent study has indicated that timber plantations, expanding agriculture and the spread of invasive species reduced two thirds of the shoals
Invasive mussel spreads in backwaters An invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala, elbowing out other mussel and clam species and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries. The rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytella strigata) may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017, according to a paper published in the Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries.
World Environment Day World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to spread awareness, encourage people to take steps to protect the environment across more than 150 countries. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this day will be celebrated via its first-ever online campaign. Even though the day might be subtle in exposure as compared to previous years, digital celebrations will not lessen its significance. World Environment Day 2020 theme The theme for E
Wajre Urban Forest model This year’s theme for World Environment Day is ‘Biodiversity’. In view of the prevalent situation due to COVID-19 pandemic the ministry will be holding virtual celebrations of World Environment Day on this year’s theme theme with focus on Nagar Van (Urban Forests). In Pune city on the forest land of 40 acres a forest has been developed. More than 65000 trees, 5 ponds, 2 watch towers have been established, with many trees growing u
Guwahati - Urban Jungle Assam State Zoo occupies 30 hectares of the 620-hectare Hengerabari Reserve Forest referred to as the city’s lungs. It has diverse fauna like Chinese pangolin, Nepal cricket frog, Bengal monitor lizard, Assamese cat snake, Eurasian moorhen, Asian elephant, Terai cricket frog and Ganges river dolphin. By this Guwahati redefines the term “urban jungle” with 334 and counting free-ranging faunal species living in the green spaces within concrete structure
Rare biological phenomenon in dragonflies sighted at Kole wetlands When Renjith R.V and Vivek Chandran spotted a peculiar dragonfly, the Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia), in the Puzhakkal area of the Kole wetlands in Thrissur last year, little did they know that they were documenting a very rare biological phenomenon. The male dragonflies typically have prominent blood red colouraton in almost all their body parts, including the head, thorax, abdomen and legs, and the female is a p
National Gene Bank Part of: GS-III- Bio-diversity (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Recently, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under the Ministry of AYUSH and the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The purpose of this MoU is to conserve the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs) in the National Gene Bank (NGB). Establishment: The
TIGER ORCHID (GRAMMATOPHYLLUM SPECIOSUM) The Queen of Orchids, Grammatophyllum speciosum, is the largest orchid species in the world. With huge, clump-forming plants weighing as much as two tonnes, it has flower stalks of up to 3 metres long, and a bloom time of up to two months! Native to Southeast Asia, from Myanmar through Malaysia, this warm-growing epiphyte thrives on sturdy tree branches in forests at elevations of 100 to 1,200 metres. The genus name Grammatophyllum comes from
Globba andersonii A team of researchers from Pune and Kerala have “rediscovered” a rare and critically endangered plant species called Globba andersonii. It is rediscovered from the Sikkim Himalayas near the Teesta river valley region after a gap of nearly 136 years. The plant, known commonly as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’ was thought to have been extinct until its “re-collection”, for the first time since 1875.
Yercaud lake affected by Water hyacinth Yercaud lake is located in Salem, Tamil Nadu. It is recently affected by the problem of water hyacinth. About Water hyacinth: Water hyacinth is a free-floating and flowering invasive aquatic plant originated from Amazon Basin, South America. It has spread mainly to the tropics and subtropics since the 1800s. Water hyacinth has been considered as an invasive aquatic plant in the United States since 1984, in Africa since early 1900s, in
Aerial Seeding in Haryana GS-Paper-3 Biodiversity (PT-MAINS) IFS EXAM Recently, the Haryana government has employed aerial seeding techniques to improve green cover in the Aravalli area of the state. The project is being carried out on a pilot basis to regenerate the low vegetation density or denuded areas on inaccessible or difficult sites of Aravalli and Shivalik hills. Aerial Seeding Aerial Seeding is a plantation technique wherein seed ball
Density Dependent dispersals Context Scientists at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) carried out experiments to study the phenomenon of ‘density-dependent dispersal’ by observing around 29,000 fruit flies to see if evolution had modified their tendency to move towards or away from crowded regions. Study findings: While females had been dispersing more than the males initially, the males overtook females in movement after evo
Lakshadweep and environment Recently, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has granted an interim stay on felling of coconut trees on Agatti Island in Lakshadweep. Background: Recently, a petition was moved in the NGT over indiscriminate cutting of coconut trees for a beach road. The tree-felling was violating the Union Territory’s (UT) Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP). IIMP was formulate
Forest loss threatens hornbills A study based on satellite data has flagged a high rate of deforestation in a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh. Issues: Using fine-scale satellite imagery, changes in forest cover of Papum Reserve Forest (RF) adjoining the Pakke Tiger Reserve as well as a part of Assam affected by illegal felling and ethnic conflict was assessed. Papum RF is a nesting habitat of three species of the large, colourful fruit-eating hornbills: Great
A tale of mangrove migration Introduction: In 2008, Punarbasu Chaudhuri, mangrove ecologist from the University of Calcutta spotted an interesting mangrove plant at the bank of river Hooghly inside Kolkata city. It was quite unusual, as mangroves require a cyclic supply of saline water, and this growth at an upstream zone was remarkable. He then started an investigation on their distribution in the Hooghly estuary, and his recent paper suggests that the mangroves have started moving
Pathways to diversity Context: The UN Summit on Biodiversity was convened on September 30, 2020. The member-nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) took note of the link between biodiversity loss and the spread of animal pathogens, calling for an end to destructive industrial and commercial practices. The Summit on Biodiversity will be convened under the theme “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.” Issues: Aichi Targets we
2 New Ramsar Wetlands added: Now the total is 39 Ramsar Convention or Convention on Wetlands of International Importance It is an intergovernmental treaty for conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It was adopted in 2 Feb, 1971 (Thus World Wetlands Day) in the Iranian city of Ramsar (Caspian Sea) and came into force in 1975. (WNBSR also in 1971) It is the only global environmental system treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem. Criteria for Wetlands o
CSIR-CMERI’s Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI) has developed a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Processing Facility (Decentralised Solid Waste Management Plant) to solve the problem of waste management in India. MSW Processing Facility: It is developed following the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules 2016 prescribed by the Ministry of Environ
COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality By, Jairam Ramesh is an MP (Rajya Sabha) and a former Union Minister Context Our lives have been turned upside down. The COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath can be seen either as a longish pause on the button of economic growth or as an opportunity for reset, recalibration and rethink. Note: Phrase can be used in Essay: History is divided into two periods: Before the Common Era or BCE and Common
Biodiversity governance: The agreements and laws that help enforce it Context This article talks about the issues related to biodiversity governance in India. Extensive biodiversity loss in the past decades has spared neither developed nor developing countries. Nagoya protocol: This rapidly accelerating biodiversity loss led to a series of negotiations and agreements among countries like the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD, in its spirit, laid the found
The Paris Agreement is no panacea Context Many developing countries, including India, which hesitated to sign the Paris Agreement because it had exempted developed countries from their mandatory obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, turned into its devout supporters the moment Mr. Trump denounced it as a hoax and announced his decision to withdraw from it. Today, the Paris Agreement is deemed as the panacea for all environmental ills when the truth is that it is a repudiati
Climate Change Knowledge Portal Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the ‘India Climate Change Knowledge Portal’. Objective: The Portal will help in disseminating knowledge among citizens about all the major steps the Government is taking at both national and international levels to address climate change issues. Benefit: It will be a single point Information resource which provides information on the different climate ini
Pilibhit tiger reserve gets the first TX2 award: Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Uttar Pradesh has bagged the first international award, TX2, among the 13 tiger ranging countries for having doubled the number of tigers in less than the stipulated time. In 2014, All India Tiger Estimation had estimated 25 tigers in Pilibhit and 2018 estimation showed an increase by projecting 65 tigers. Conservation Excellence Award for 2020: Transboundary Manas Conservation Area straddling the India-
Maharashtra sets up Desalination Plants in Mumbai It is now the fourth state in India to experiment with the idea. Features A desalination plant turns salt water into water that is fit to drink. The most commonly used technology used for the process is reverse osmosis where an external pressure is applied to push solvents from an area of high-solute concentration to an area of low-solute concentration through a membrane. The microscopic pores in the membranes allow water molecule
Himalayan serow A Himalayan serow has been sighted for the first time in the Himalayan cold desert region-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Himalayan serow resembles a cross between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig. There are several species of serows, and all of them are found in Asia. The Himalayan serow, or Capricornis sumatraensis thar, is restricted to the Himalayan region. Taxonomically, it is a subspecies of the mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).
Arunachal Kiwi Arunachal Kiwi got organic certification for Kiwi under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER). [MOVCD-NER is a scheme for the north-eastern states by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare under the Central government.] Arunachal Pradesh is first in the country to get this certification for kiwi. These kiwis are grown Ziro Valley located in the Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal. An agricultural practice/product is
Migratory birds in Harike wetland, Punjab Winter migratory water birds using the central Asian flyway have started making a beeline to Punjab’s Harike wetland, offering a delight for bird lovers. Birds such as the Eurasian coot, greylag goose, bar-headed goose, gadwall and the northern shoveler are the prominent ones that could be sighted at Harike. Among others species, common pochard, spot-billed duck, little cormorant, pied avocet, great cormorant, ferruginous pochard and common
The Government of India has recently launched the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-being. The mission aims to explore the neglected links between biodiversity science and human well-being across the sectors of health, economic development, agricultural production and livelihood generation, in combination with efforts to mitigate climate change and related disasters. One of the components of the mission explicitly links biodiversity to human health through the OneHealth fra
A Budget not for the environment Introduction In 1991, when the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh ushered in economic reforms that catapulted India into the global economy in a belief that once there is enough money in the economy through growth, it can be put for ecological purposes. A dismal gap Governments have not put in the substantial new financial resources raised through rapid growth into environmental protection. Budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Enviro
It is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste; and the continual use of resources. It is a system of resources utilization where reduction, reuse and recycling of elements prevail. Circular systems create a closed system, minimizing the use of resource input and the creation of waste, pollution and emissions. It is an alternative to a traditional linear economy. This linear economy is modeled on take-make-waste industrial model (make, use, dispose). Sustainable Developm
Simlipal National Park is national park and a tiger reserve in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. It is part of Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve. Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of semul (red silk cotton trees) that bloom here. It was the second largest national park in India. Its reserve is part of UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009. The park has protected area of 84
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Floriculture Mission will be implemented in 21 States and Union Territories of India. Efforts are being made to take the agro-technologies, new varieties and value addition technologies with the CSIR institutions to the farmers and entrepreneurs. It is being implemented in collaboration with Directorate of Floriculture (ICAR); KVIC; APEDA; TRIFED; Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), and Universities. The conver
Context: Indian Oil, NTPC and SDMC have signed an MoU to develop a waste-to-energy facility at Delhi's Okhla landfill site using gasification technology. About SATAT initiative: The initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs. Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs.
Researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad are studying impediments in incorporating biofuels into the fuel sector in India. Significance of Biofuels: Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation,
Gregarious bamboo flowering in India What is Gregarious flowering of bamboo? Gregarious bamboo flowering refers to the phenomenon when all populations of a particular species flower roughly at the same time. The bamboo plants die after flowering and setting seeds. Such synchronised flowering, sometimes at intervals as long as 50 to 120 years, may bring in its wake a swarm of rats, subsequent famine and loss of lives and livelihoods. National Bamboo Mission
House Sparrow population was on the decline in cities, for decades. But now the citizen-led movements across various states are facilitating the increase of House Sparrow population. About House Sparrow: House Sparrow(Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. Characteristics of House Sparrow: The male and female House Sparrow are easily distinguishable not in size but in colouration. The male is dark brown with a black bi
Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri. Similipal Biosphere Reserve is Odisha’s first such reserve, which was notified in 1996. The area of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats and is near the Mahendragiri peak. Soura Tribe: They are a Munda ethnic group from eastern India living in southern Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pra
As many as 27 migratory birds died on account of avian influenza in Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary. The lake is fed by the Beas River. Its numerous perennial tributaries are Gaj, Neogal, Binwa, Uhl, Bangana, and Baner. Government of India also declared Pong Dam Lake as a “Wetland of National Importance” The sanctuary area is covered with tropical and subtropical forests & it shelters a great number of Indian Wildlife animals. The sanctuary is a h
Environment Related Important Dates GS-Paper-ENVIRONMENT DATES- Prelims Context: Environmentally important dates are highly important for PRELIMS in the UPSC examination and also a student can utilize in MAINS. This article is about Environmentally Important Days, being celebrated in India to increase awareness regarding various aspects, concerns on the environment. February February 2 World Wetlands Day February 27
Do insects migrate? Which insect has the longest migration route? Many dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, locusts and moths are known to migrate during the breeding season and the distance travelled varies with species. Most insects travel in large groups and scientists have been studying these movements for several years. A recent study (PNAS) noted that the painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) can make 12,000 to 14,000 kilometre round trips. This is the longest annual insect migrati
Sunderlal Bahuguna and Chipko Movement The 94-year-old environmentalist succumbed to Covid-19 on May 21, 2021, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. With his demise, India has lost one of the finest environmentalists and social workers who had also been part of India’s freedom movement. About Sundarlal Bahuguna Born in village Maroda near Tehri, Uttarakhand on January 9, 1927, he was an active revolutionary during Indian Freedom
Sikkim Vegetation Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country, reveals a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). Flora of Sikkim – A Pictorial Guide, released earlier this week, lists 4,912 naturally occurring flowering plants in the tiny Himalayan State. The total number of naturally occurring flowering plants in the country is about 18,004 species, and with 4,912 species, th
The main goal of the Government’s flagship program Namami Gange has been to make Ganga clean and restore its pristine glory. Rejuvenation of such a long river not only poses tremendous challenges but also requires huge investment. The Government has already quadrupled the budget, but still, it will not be sufficient for such a mammoth amount of work. Therefore, a Clean Ganga Fund was created by the Government, in which everyone can contribute funds to clean the river Ganga. Backgrou
Achieving Paris Agreement- the key to save endemic species: Study According to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, 90% of the endemic species will face extinction unless the goals of the Paris Agreement are met. For example, Kolar Leaf Nose Bat is endemic to India and endemic to only one cave in Hanumanahalli village in Kolar district, Karnataka Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. Species can be endemic
Where does India stand on methane emissions? Context: This topic is important for UPSE Prelims and GS Paper3. Why India stayed away from both the methane pledge and the forest conservation declaration at Glasgow? The story so far: At the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference (the 26th Conference of Parties-COP26) in Glasgow, the United States and the European Union have jointly pledged to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by 2030. They plan to cut down emiss
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