Environment Notes On – Importance Of Wildlife – For W.B.C.S. Examination.
Amongst the vast syllabus of W.B.C.S Examination, this part is quite easy to read and recollect and also fetches good marks.Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the scientific term for the variety of life on Earth. It refers not just to species but also to ecosystems and differences in genes within a single species. Biodiversity is the key indicator of the health of an ecosystem.Wildlife is important for the human beings, animals and plants. These are so closely interlinked that disturbance in one produces imbalance in the others.Continue Reading Environment Notes On – Importance Of Wildlife – For W.B.C.S. Examination.
1. Ecological Balance:
Wildlife maintains balance of nature through regulation of population of different species by self-regulation and feedback, passage of food and energy through series of different populations (food chain/food web), circulation of inorganic nutrients between abiotic and biotic environments, and prevention of leaching and runoff by plants. Terrestrial and aquatic animals play their role in the maintenance of balance of nature. Thus, it preserves the environment as a self-sustaining system. It balances populations and maintains food-chain and natural cycles.
2. Gene Bank:
Wildlife serves as a gene bank for breeding improved varieties in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery. Plant breeders have been able to produce high-yielding and disease- and stress-resistant varieties from wild relatives of crop plants which possess useful genes for the purpose of breeding. Scientists have been constantly examining the wild relatives of crop plants for the presence of useful genes that can be introduced to breeding programmes. Hence, gene bank maintenance is essential. Some old rice varieties from Kerala saved rice cultivation when brown plant hopper (Nila-parvata lugens) attacked all modern rice varieties.
The production of high-yielding, disease-resistant crops, livestock and fish cannot continue without the wild relatives of the cultivated varieties. This is because of pests and pathogens evolve new strains; climate change; soils vary; and consumers’ demands change with time. Man is aware that the rich diversity of organisms today is the product of natural evolution occurring through 3.5 billion years. A species once lost cannot be retrieved. Therefore, it would be unethical to be responsible for the destruction of a species.
3. Plant Propagation:
Insects and birds, etc., are useful in pollinating certain plants which is very essential in plant propagation. Cross pollination increases the diversity of genetic recombination and viability of the plant vegetation.
4. Cleaning of Environment:
Cleaning of environment and keeping it in hygienic state is carried by scavengers like vultures, eagles, jackals, hyaenas, etc. Microorganisms feed upon dead animals, convert them into different nutrients and, thus, release energy back to the soil making it fertile.
5. Soil Erosion:
Soil erosion is prevented by plant cover, litter, mixing of litter by movement of wild animals. Microorganisms convert litter into spongy humus.
6. Scientific Importance:
Scientific studies of many of wildlife species are of direct value to humans. These studies and researches in anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolutionary aspects, etc., are of direct value in saving human life. Sea urchins have helped greatly in the understanding of human embryology. A desert toad has helped in early determination of pregnancy. Rhesus monkeys have contributed a lot to the present knowledge of human blood groups.Do follow previous years question papers for better understanding of the types of questions asked.
Antlers of deer are useful in determining the degree of radioactive contamination of natural environment. Armadillos contributed to the development of vaccine for leprosy. We do not know when some obscure wild animal species may be put to prominence by providing a clue to human health and survival. When any drug of any disease is invented, research of its effects and side effects are carried on wild animals before applying on human body.
Rh factor in human blood was found due to Rhesus monkey. Chimpanzee helped us in conducting serological protein tests. Studies on animal behaviour helped the psychiatrist to read the human mind. Some wild flora and fauna have medicinal values. Muskpod of musk deer and rhinoceros’ horn are of great medicinal value. Fat of tiger or hornbill is used for curing rheumatism. Snake venom is used for preparing antivenom for snake bite.Notes On , Agriculture Notes On – Problems Of Soil – For W.B.C.S. Examination., are available here.
7. Economic Importance:
Wildlife forms an important natural resource. Various useful products are obtained from plants such as timber, firewood, paper, gum, resins, tannins, several drugs, essential oils, spices, lac, silk, honey, hair, feathers, guano (the faecal matter of sea-fishes used as manure or the manure made from fish), leather, musk, ivory, etc., are obtained from wildlife. Besides these, benefits such as tendu leaf, cork, rudraksha, etc., are also obtained from wildlife.
Tribals living in forests also get food (tubers, roots, leaves and fruits of plants and meat from animals), medicines and other commercial products. The commercial value of wildlife is best seen in the world’s marine fisheries with an annual output of about 100 million tons of sea food worth billions of rupees. Freshwater fish and other aquatic creatures also provide large amount of food for people. Fish are as big as any other modern industry in respect of employment and income.
An entire industry for fur trade is supported by fur-bearing animals. Trade in live and dead animals, though illegal and banned throughout the world, supports thousands of people and also earns foreign exchange. For example, an Indian rhinoceros may fetch equivalent of Rs.1, 25,000 in the world market. Similarly, the ivory of elephants, the horns of rhinoceros, the glands of musk deer, the antlers of deer, etc., all provide high prices. Wildlife of a country may even attract people from abroad and earn foreign exchange. Wildlife tourism can be made a big source of income.
Thus, it is important to develop more biological reserves, parks, safaris and zoos for tourism from economical point of view. The tourist industry of Kenya (East Africa), based on its wildlife, ranks third after coffee and sisal.
8. Potential Importance:
Just as all present-day cultivated/domesticated plants and animals are derived from wildlife; new foods, beverages such as tea, coffee, cocoa, etc., drugs and other useful products may be obtained from wildlife.
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