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Difference between Flora and Fauna

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  • Last Updated : 19 Jul, 2022
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The term flora represents all plant life on the Earth and the term Fauna represents all animals that are living on the planet. Flora means “flower” in Latin, and Flora was the Roman goddess of spring and flowering plants, especially wildflowers and plants that are not grown for food consumption. The word “Flora” is used for a collective group of plant life found in a particular region.

Flora is classified and distinguished based on many factors. The best of them are the areas in which they grow or are discovered. Some grow in deserts and in water, some are found in hills, and some are endemic to a particular geographic location.   There are also adaptations depending on where they grow. For example, cactus plants are found naturally in the desert. They have modified leaf and thorn-like adaptations to save water and protect themselves from predators. The Agricultural Flora is composed of plants grown for human use. Horticulture is the practice of growing ornamental plants and flowers,  also known as garden plants or garden flora.

The fauna represents the life of an animal that is endemic to the region. There are many explanations for the origin of the word. In Roman mythology, fauna or “Faun” is the name of the goddess of fertility. Another source is “fauna” which means “forest spirit”.   The animal kingdom contains a variety of animal life forms. Therefore, the classification of fauna is much more complicated than the classification of flora. Therefore, for ease of classification,  birds are categorized under the name Avifauna. Fish under the Pisi fauna.  Microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, are commonly assigned to the animal kingdom and are known as the microbiota.  All unknown and undiscovered animals are called cryptofaunas.  There are always reports of animals that are believed to be present but have escaped the scientific community, thereby classifying them as cryptofaunas or cryptoids.  

Both Flora and Fauna conservation is necessary for future survival. Biosphere reserves, national parks, zoos, and sanctuaries are examples of government actions to protect flora and fauna. Another example is the Tiger Project launched by the Government of India to save the country’s tigers from extinction.

Difference between Flora and Fauna

The difference between flora and fauna is very obvious. Flora is understood to mean all organisms that can synthesize their own food and are almost immobile. And it basically includes all plants, trees, shrubs, and so on. And Fauna is the living beings that need to procure food from other sources and are generally classified as mobile organisms.

Flora 

Fauna

All the living plants are included in this categoryAll the living animals are included in this category
The plants cannot move from one place to anotherThe animals are mobile by nature
The production of food is done on ownFauna depend on others for food
Climate affects floraFauna affects the climate
The study of plants is called “Botany”The study of animals is called “Zoology”.
Examples- Forests, grasslands, flowering plants, etc.Examples- Animals, birds, fish, etc.

Importance of Flora and Fauna

Maintains Ecological Balance

Animals and plants are very important to human existence. The flora releases oxygen, which the fauna uses for respiratory activity. The fauna then releases carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is used by the flora for photosynthesis.   Animals and plants bring great benefits to humankind through healing and food provision. Animals maintain balance by preying on a variety of plants and animals to even out populations on Earth.  Animal dung is a source of fertilizer. Dead animals rot and act as auxiliary minerals for other animals.

Expansion of local economies

Animals and plants contribute to the local economy through tourism. The flora and fauna of the Amazon forest attract tourists and scientists and contribute about $50 million to the Brazilian economy.

Aesthetic Value

The flora and fauna that spread on the earth contribute to the aesthetic value of the earth. People visit several biosphere reserves, national parks and zoos, forests, and botanical gardens and enjoy the beauty of the scenery. This explains the importance of flora and fauna in our daily lives.

Sample Question

Question 1: Write some prominent Flora and Fauna in India.

Answer:

India is one of the 12 mega-diverse countries in the world. According to the records of the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of  India (2000), India is home to 47,000 species of plants and 81,000 species of animals, accounting for about 7% and 6.5% of the world’s flora and fauna, respectively.

Indian flora and fauna include a wide variety of flora and fauna, most of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Prominent examples of flora include Juniper, Pine, Cedar, Polygala japonica, Assam Catkin Yew, and spiderwort. Examples of fauna found in India include the Bengal tiger, Asian elephants, snow leopards, Indian rhinoceros, and Indian sloths.

Question 2: What are the major threats to biodiversity?

Answer:

Extinction or elimination of a species is a natural process of evolution. During evolution, species have died out and have been replaced by others. But this process of extinction has accelerated in the recent years of human civilization. In this century, the human impact has been so severe that thousands of species and varieties are becoming extinct annually. 

Some of the major causes and issues related to the threats to biodiversity.

  • Loss of Habitat: Destruction and loss of natural habitat is the single largest cause of biodiversity loss. Billions of hectares of forests and grasslands have been cleared over the past 10000 years for conversion into agricultural lands, pastures, settlement areas, or development projects. These natural forests and grasslands were the natural homes of thousands of species that perished due to the loss of their natural habitat.
  • Poaching: Illegal trade of wildlife products by killing prohibited endangered animals i.e. poaching is another threat to wildlife.

Question 3: Which species have become endangered in India?

Answer:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUNC) publishes the Red Data Book which includes a list of endangered species of plants and animals. In India, nearly 450 plant species have been identified in the categories of endangered, threatened, or rare. The existence of about 150 mammals and 150 species of birds is estimated to be threatened while an unknown number of species of insects are endangered. The latest Red list of 2012 has come out at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in July 2012. It has enlisted 132 species of plants and animals, which are critically endangered in India.

A few species of endangered reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants are given below :

  • Reptiles: Gharial, green sea turtle, tortoise, python
  • Birds: great Indian bustard, Peacock, Pelican, Great Indian Hornbill, Siberian, White Crane
  • Carnivorous Mammals: Indian wolf, red fox, sloth bear, red panda, tiger, leopard, striped hyena, Indian lion, golden cat, desert cat, dugong
  • Primates: Hoolock gibbon, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, capped monkey, golden monkey
  • Plants: A large number of species of orchids, rhododendrons, medicinal plants like Rauvolfia serpentine, the sandalwood tree Santalum, Cycas beddonei, and pitcher plant.
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