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NCERT Notes for Class 8 Science Chapter 5: Conservation of Plants and Animals

Last Updated : 31 May, 2023
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NCERT Notes for Class 8 Science Chapter – 5: Conservation of Plants and Animals: Plants and animals play integral roles in sustaining life on Earth. They contribute to vital ecological processes such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and maintaining the overall health of ecosystems. However, human activities, including habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation, have put numerous species at risk of extinction. It is our responsibility to take action to prevent further loss and conserve these valuable resources for future generations.

CBSE Class 8 Chapter 05 Conservation of Plant and Animals explains that conservation is the attempt to protect endangered animal and plant species, along with their natural habitat. The main objective is to make sure that their habitats will be preserved. Raising public awareness about the importance of conservation is essential for long-term success. Community involvement, education programs, and promoting sustainable practices help bring up a sense of responsibility and encourage individuals to protect plants and animals.

Deforestation and its Causes

Deforestation means clearing forests and using that land for other purposes. Trees in the forest are cut for some of the purposes mentioned below:

  • Procuring land for cultivation: Procurement is done to meet the growing needs of food for the growing population. Forests lands are converted into agricultural lands by cutting off trees leading to Deforestation.
  • Building houses and factories: As people move from rural to urban areas, the population increases in that particular area. In order to build structures for a growing population, urban developers convert surrounding forests into housing societies and large-scale industries for their operations.
  • Making furniture or using wood as fuel: Forests are the only source to produce a tremendous amount of wood for furniture making. And the demand for wood is increasing rapidly; simultaneously, the area of forest lands is shrinking gradually. Besides, trees are also cut down to use as fuel for various purposes such as cooking, heating, etc.
  • Forest fires and severe droughts: Deforestation due to forest fires and severe droughts have become a major problem. Forest fires and droughts destroy vast areas of forest land. These can destroy entire ecosystems, leaving behind nothing but barren land.

Consequences of Deforestation

Deforestation not only affects the wildlife quite severely but also affects the environment in various ways, such as:

Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse Effect

 

The greenhouse effect is one of the main effects of cutting countless trees every year. Trees help maintain the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. This balance has been disturbed due to the loss of millions of trees. Deforestation is also causing the release of other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere leading to global warming.

Soil Erosion Effect

We all know that trees help in binding the soil together to protect it from erosion. Due to excessive deforestation across the globe, soil erosion is occurring at a higher rate.

Imbalance in the Water Cycle

Deforestation has a huge impact on the water cycle. Trees play a vital role in the water cycle by regulating the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. When trees are removed, the amount of water vapor decreases, which leads to a decrease in precipitation.

Deforestation Contributes to Acidic Ocean

Deforestation plays a significant role in the acidification of our oceans. When trees are cut down, they no longer have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This gas then dissolves into the ocean, where it forms carbonic acid. This process increases the ocean’s acidity, which is detrimental to marine life.

Deforestation Affects Wildlife

Deforestation affects wildlife in many ways. One way is that it destroys their habitat. When animals lose their homes, they also lose access to food and water; This can lead to starvation and dehydration. Deforestation also reduces the populations of certain species of animals.

Deforestation Leads to Floods and Droughts

Deforestation can lead to both floods and droughts. When there are fewer trees to absorb water, the ground becomes much drier. This can lead to droughts when there is not enough rain. When it does rain, the water has nowhere to go and can cause floods.

Desertification

Removal of the top layer of the soil caused by deforestation exposes the lower, hard, and rocky layers. This soil has less humus and is less fertile. Gradually the fertile land gets converted into deserts. It is called desertification. 

For more information read: Consequence of Deforestation

Conservation of Forest and Wildlife

Apart from our personal efforts and efforts of the society, government agencies also take care of the forests and animals. The government lays down rules, methods, and policies to protect and conserve them. Wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, biosphere reserves, etc., are protected areas for the conservation of plants and animals present in that area.

  • Wildlife Sanctuary: Areas where animals are protected from any disturbance to them and their habitat.
  • National Park: Areas reserved for wildlife where they can freely use the habitats and natural resources.
  • Biosphere Reserve: Large areas of protected land for the conservation of wildlife, plant and animal resources, and the traditional life of the tribals living in the area.

Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere reserves are the areas meant for the conservation of biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms generally found in an area. The biosphere reserves help to maintain the biodiversity and culture of that area. Example: Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve consists of one national park named Satpura and two wildlife sanctuaries named Bori and Pachmarhi.

Flora and Fauna

Some animals and plants typically belong to a particular area. The plants and animals found in a particular area are termed flora and fauna respectively of that area. Sal, teak, mango, jamun, silver ferns, Arjun, etc., are the flora, and chinkara, blue-bull, barking deer, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, wolf, etc. are examples of the fauna of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. 

Also Read: Flora and Fauna

Endemic Species

Endemic species are those species of plants and animals that are found exclusively in a particular area. They are not naturally found anywhere else. A particular type of animal or plant may be endemic to a zone, a state, or a country.

  • Sal and wild mango are two examples of the endemic flora of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve.
  • Bison, Indian giant squirrels, and flying squirrels are endemic fauna of this area. 

Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuaries like reserve forests provide protection and suitable living conditions for wild animals. People living in wildlife sanctuaries are allowed to do certain activities such as grazing their livestock, collecting medicinal plants, firewood, etc. Killing (poaching) or capturing animals, in general, is strictly prohibited and punishable by law in all such places. Some of the threatened wild animals like black buck, white-eyed buck, elephant, golden cat, pink-headed duck, gharial, marsh crocodile, python, rhinoceros, etc., are protected and preserved in our wildlife sanctuaries.

National Park

These reserves are large and diverse enough to protect whole sets of ecosystems. They preserve the flora, fauna, landscape, and historic objects of an area. Satpura National Park is the first Reserve Forest in India. The finest Indian teak is found in this forest. There are more than one hundred National Parks in India.

Project Tiger: It was launched by the government to protect the tigers in the country. The objective of this project was to ensure the survival and maintenance of the tiger population in the country. 

Red Data Book

Red Data Book is the sourcebook that keeps a record of all the endangered animals and plants. Red Data Book is maintained internationally by an organization. India also maintains Red Data Book for plants and animals found in India.

Migration

The seasonal movement of animals or birds from one place to another place to avoid harsh climatic conditions is known as migration. Migratory birds fly to faraway areas every year during a particular time because of climatic changes. They fly for laying eggs as the weather in their natural habitat becomes very cold and inhospitable. Birds who cover long distances to reach another land are known as migratory birds.

Recycling of Paper

Paper recycling refers to the process of reprocessing waste paper for reuse. Waste papers are either obtained from paper mill paper scraps, discarded paper materials, and waste paper material discarded after consumer use. Examples of commonly known papers recycled are old newspapers and magazines.

Benefits:

  • Not only save trees but also save energy and water needed for manufacturing paper.
  • The amount of harmful chemicals used in paper making will also be reduced.   

Reforestation

Reforestation is restocking the destroyed forests by planting new trees. The planted trees should generally be of the same species which were found in that forest. We should plant at least as many trees as we cut. Reforestation can take place naturally also. If the deforested area is left undisturbed, it re-establishes itself. In natural reforestation, there is no role for human beings. In India, we have the Forest (Conservation) Act. This act is aimed at the preservation and conservation of natural forests and meeting the basic needs of the people living in or near the forests

FAQs on Conservation of Plants and Animals

Q1. What do you mean by the term Species?

Answer:

Species is a group of populations that are capable of interbreeding. This means that the members of a species can reproduce fertile offspring only with the members of their own species and not with members of other species. Members of a species have common characteristics.

Q2: What are Endangered Animals?

Answer:

Animals whose numbers are diminishing to a level that they might face extinction are known as the endangered animals. Example: Dinosaurs.

Q3: Define Ecosystem.

Answer:

An ecosystem is made of all the plants, animals, and microorganisms in an area along with non-living components such as climate, soil, river deltas, etc.

Q4: What is Red Data Book?

Answer:

Red Data Book is the sourcebook that keeps a record of all the endangered animals and plants. Red Data Book is maintained internationally by an organization. India also maintains Red Data Book for plants and animals found in India.



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