Chapter 8. India: Climate, Vegetation and Wildlife

Weather and Seasons
• Weather is about day to day changes in atmospheric attributes like temperature, rainfall & sunshine.
• climate is about average weather conditions, which have been measured over many years.
• Broadly, major seasons recognised in India are:
(1) Cold Weather Season [Winter] from December to February
(2) Hot Weather Season [Summer] from March to May
(3) Southwest Monsoon Season [Rainy] from June to September
(4) Season of Retreating Monsoon [Autumn] from October and November

Hot Weather Season or Summer
• In hot weather, sun rays, more or less directly fall in this region hence temperature becomes very high. Hot and dry, local winds known as loo, blows during day.

South West Monsoon Season or Rainy Season
• This season is marked by onset and advance of monsoon. winds blow from Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal towards land. They carry moisture with them. When these winds strike mountain barriers, rainfall occurs.

Season of Retreating Monsoons or Autumn
• climate of India has broadly been described as Monsoon type. Monsoon is taken from Arabic word ‘mausim’, which means seasons.
• climate of a place is affected by its location, altitude, distance from sea, and relief.
• There are regional differences in climate of India.
• Meghalaya receives world’s highest rainfall.

Cold Weather Season or Winter
• During winter season, sun rays do not fall directly in region. As a result temperature is quite low in northern India.

Vegetation in India
• grasses, shrubs & trees, which grow on their own without interference or help from human beings, are known as natural vegetation.
• Different types of natural vegetation are dependent on different climatic conditions, among which amount of rainfall is very important.

Tropical Rain Forests
• They occur in areas which receives heavy rainfall. They are so dense that sunlight doesn’t reach ground. They appear green throughout year therefore known as Evergreen forests.
• important trees are Mahogany, Ebony & Rosewood They are spread over Andaman and Nicobar Islands, parts of North Eastern states and narrow strip of Western slope of Western Ghats.

Tropical Deciduous Forests
• They are known as monsoon forests. They shed their leaves at a particular time of year.
• Important trees are sal, teak, peepal, neem & shisham. They are found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha & part of Maharashtra.

Mountain vegetation
• A wide range of species are found in mountain according to variation of height.
• Most of trees are in conical shape at height between 1500 metres and 2500 metres. These are known as coniferous trees.
• Chir, Pine & Deodar are important trees of these forests.

Thorny Bushes
• They are grown in dry areas of country.
• leaves are in form of spines to reduce loss of water.
• Important vegetation are Cactus, Khair, Babool & Keekar. They are found in states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Eastern slopes of Western Ghats and Gujarat.

Mangrove Forests
• These can survive in saline water. They are found in Sunderbans in West Bengal and in Andaman and Nicobar.
• Sundari, a well known species are found after which Sunderbans have been named.

Why Are Forests Necessary?
• Forests perform various functions.
(1) Plants release oxygen that we breathe and absorb carbon dioxide.
(2) roots of plants bind soil; thus, they control soil erosion.
(3) Forests provide us with timber for furniture, fuel wood, fodder, medicinal plants and herbs, lac, honey, gum.
(4) Forests are natural habitat of wild life.
• Natural vegetation has been destroyed to a large extent because of reckless cutting of trees.

Wild Life
• Forests are home to a variety of wild life.
• There are thousands of species of animals and a large variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, insects & worms which dwell in forest.
• tiger is our national animal. This is found in various parts of country.
• Gir forest in Gujarat is home of Asiatic lions.
• Elephants and one-horned rhinoceroses roam in forests of Assam.
• Elephants are found in Kerala and Karnataka.
• Camels and wild asses are found in Great Indian desert and Rann of Kuchchh respectively.
• Wild goats, snow leopards, bears. are found in Himalayan region.
• Besides these, many other animals are found in our country such as monkey, wolf, jackal, nilgai, cheetal.
• India is equally rich in bird life.
• peacock is our national bird.
• Other common birds are parrots, pigeons, mynah, geese, bulbul & ducks.
• There are several bird sanctuaries which have been created to give birds their natural habitat.
• These provide birds protection from hunters

Protection of Wildlife
• A lot of India’s wildlife is dying out quickly because forests are being cut down and people are hunting them.
• Many national parks, sanctuaries, and biosphere reserves have been set up to protect them.
• To protect these animals, government started Project Tiger and Project Elephant.
• To protect animals, we shouldn’t buy things made from their bones, horns, fur, skins, or feathers.
• Every year in first week of October, we celebrate Wildlife Week to bring attention to need to protect animal habitats.

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