Ch – 2 Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation & Wildlife Resources

Important Notes:

  • The rugged topography, steep slopes of the mountains, low-lying areas susceptible to water logging, desert areas, thick forested areas are normally sparsely populated or uninhabited.
  • Plains and river valleys offer suitable land for agriculture.
  • Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, forestry, mining, building houses, roads and setting up industries. This is commonly termed as “Land use“.
  • The land usage is determined by factors such as topography, soil, climate, minerals, population, technology and availability of water.
  • Private land is owned by individuals.
  • Community land is owned by a community for common uses such as collection of fodder, fruits, nuts or medicinal herbs.
  • Community lands are also known as Common property resources.
  • The major threats to the environment are land degradation, landslides, soil erosion, desertification, etc.
  • Some of the common methods to conserve land are afforestation, land reclamation, regulated use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and checks on overgrazing.
  • Landslides are the mass movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope.
  • Mitigation techniques of landslide are as follows:
    • Hazard mapping locate areas prone to landslides.
    • Construction of retention wall to stop land from slipping.
    • Increase in vegetation cover is an effective way to arrest landslide.
    • The surface drainage control works are implemented to control the movement of landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
  • The breaking up and decay of exposed rocks, by temperature changes, frost action, plants, animals and man is known as “Weathering“.
  • Soil is made up of organic matter, minerals and weathered rocks found on earth.
  • The right mix of minerals and organic matter make the soil fertile.
  • Factors affecting soil formation are:
    • Climate – Temperature, Rainfall influence, rate of weathering and humus.
    • Time – Determines thickness of soil profile
    • Parent Rock – Determines colour, texture, chemical properties, mineral, content, permeability
    • Relief – Altitude and slope, determine accumulation of soil
    • Flora, fauna and micro-organism – Affect the rate of humus formation
  • The factors that lead to soil degradation are deforestation, overgrazing, overuse of chemical fertilisers or pesticides, rain wash, landslides and floods.
  • Some of the methods of soil conservation are mulching, contour barriers, rock dam, terrace farming, intercropping, contour ploughing and shelter belts.
  • The water cycles through oceans, air, land and back again, through the process of evaporation, precipitation and run-off. This cycle is known as “Water cycle“.
  • The major factors leading to water shortage are increasing population, rising demands for food and cash crops, increasing urbanisation and rising standards of living.
  • The countries which are facing shortages of fresh water supply are most of Africa, West Asia, South Asia, parts of Western USA, north-west Mexico, parts of South America and entire Australia.
  • The growth of vegetation depends on temperature and moisture.
  • The major vegetation types are forests, grasslands, scrubs and tundra.
  • Forests are broadly classified as evergreen and deciduous depending on when they shed their leaves.
  • National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves are made to protect our natural vegetation and wildlife.
  • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has been established that lists several species of animals and birds whose trade is prohibited.
  • A natural area designated to protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations is known as “National Park“.
  • Series of protected areas linked through a global network, intended to demonstrate the relationship between conservation and development are known as “Biosphere Reserves“.

Published by Priya Prakash

In the midst of winter, i found there was within me an invincible summer ~ Albert Camus

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