Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-1
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#49 Static Flash Cards Environment & Ecology [70 Days WAR Plan]

Indian Vulture Crisis; Ecological Niche; Water Pollutants and their Source; Nokrek Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha National Park; Special feeding groups in Decomposers; International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; Montreux Record; Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS); Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects;
By IT's Core Team
May 09, 2019

 

 

 

What are the six designated focal areas of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects?

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Answer:

  • GEF projects address six designated focal areas: Biodiversity, Climate Change, International Waters, Ozone Depletion, Land Degradation and Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Global Environment Facility:

  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.
  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a financial mechanism that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities.

The GEF also serves as financial mechanism for the following conventions:

  1. CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  3. UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  4. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  5. Minamata Convention on Mercury

The GEF, although not linked formally to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP), supports implementation of the Protocol in countries with economies in transition.

 

 

 

What are the functions of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • The society is commonly known by its initials, BNHS.
  • The BNHS logo is the great hornbill, inspired by a great hornbill named William, who lived on the premises of the Society.
  • BNHS is the partner of BirdLife International in India.
  • It organizes and conducts nature trails and camps for the general public.
  • It has been designated as a ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’ by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • BNHS is headquartered in the specially constructed ‘Hornbill House’ in southern Mumbai.
  • It sponsors studies in Indian wildlife and conservation, and publishes a four-monthly journal, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (JBNHS), as well as a quarterly magazine, Hornbill.
  • The BNHS logo is the great hornbill, inspired by a great hornbill named William, who lived on the premises of the Society.

 

 

 

What is Montreux Record?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • It is maintained as part of the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance
  • It is a voluntary mechanism to highlight specific wetlands of international importance that are facing immediate challenges.
  • At present, 2 Indian sites are listed under it as of 2017. Keoladeo National Park and Loktak Lake.
  • Montreux Record should be employed to identify priority sites for positive national and international conservation attention.

 

 

 

Which UN treaty is exclusively dedicated to problem of drought and/or desertification?

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Answer:

  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is dedicated to those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification

Enrich Your Learning:

About United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:

  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
  • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  • Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
  • Adopted in 1994, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) entered into force in 1996 and became a legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
  • It is the only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • The Convention is based on the principles of participation, partnership and decentralization the backbone of Good Governance and Sustainable Development.
  • It has 197 parties, making it near universal in reach.
  • To help publicize the Convention, 2006 was declared International Year of Deserts and Desertification.

 

 

 

Which UN treaty is popularly known as International Seed Treaty?

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Answer:

  • The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is popularly known as International Seed Treaty.

Enrich Your Learning:

About the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:

  • The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
  • Popularly known as the International Seed Treaty, it is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at guaranteeing food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.

The Treaty aims at:

  1. recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
  2. establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
  3. ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

 

 

 

Name three special feeding groups in Decomposers

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Answer:

  • Scavenger, Omnivores and Parasite are special feeding groups in Decomposers.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Decomposers:

  • They make up the final trophic level in a food chain. Decomposers are the organisms that feed on dead organic matter called detritus of all the trophic levels and help in recycling the nutrients.
  • Examples of decomposers are bacteria, fungi, mites, millipedes, earthworms, nematodes, slugs, crabs and molluscs.

Special feeding groups (Consumers)

(i) Scavengers:

  • These are the animals that feed on the dead plants and animals. e.g. termites and beetles feed on the decaying wood, and many marine invertebrates. Vultures, gulls and hyena are other examples of scavengers.

(ii) Omnivores:

  • Omnivores consume both plants and animals as source of their food e.g. human beings. Some of the omnivores like the red fox feeds on berries small rodents as well as on dead animals. Thus it is a herbivore, carnivore and also a scavenger.

(iii) Parasites:

  • They live and feed on/in other living organisms called host. Parasites not only feed on their host but they also cause lethal or nonlethal disease in it.

 

 

 

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha National Park are located at which places?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

 

Nokrek Bio-sphere Reserve:

  • The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in the northeast of India on the Tura Range, which forms part of the Meghalaya Plateau. The entire area is mountainous and Nokrek is the highest peak of the Garo hills.
  • The biosphere reserve contains major rivers and streams that form a perennial catchment system. Examples include the Ganol, Dareng and Simsang rivers, of which the latter is the longest and largest.
  • The Simsang originates in the north of the Biosphere Reserve, the Dareng from the southern peaks, and the Ganol flows westward into the Brahamputra River, which supplies water to numerous towns.

Namdapha National Park:

  • Namdapha National Park is located in the Changlang district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Namdapha National Park is the 3rd largest national park in India in terms of area.
  • Namdapha National Park is located in the Eastern Himalayan Sub-region and is recognized as one of the richest areas in biodiversity in India. The national park is nestled between the Patkai range and Dapha bum range of Mishmi Hills.
  • Namdapha lies along the turbulent Noa-Dihing River at the international border between India and Myanmar. Namdapha was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1972. It was declared a tiger reserve and national park in 1983. Total area of the park is about 1807.82 Km2.
  • Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot.
  • Namdapha National Park is the perfect Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. Recognized as one of the richest areas in biodiversity in India, the park harbors the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude.
  • The area is also known for extensive Dipterocarp forests among the last great remote wilderness areas of Asia. Namdapha and its adjoining areas, is flanked by the Patkai hills to the south and south-east and by the Himalaya in the north and lies close to the Indo-Myanmar-China tri-junction.

 

 

 

Excess nitrate in drinking water can cause which disease to infants?

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Answer:

  • The substances that pollute water are known as water pollutants. They can at times cause disease. Excess nitrate in drinking water can cause disease such as methemoglobinemia (‘blue baby’ syndrome).

Enrich Your Learning:

About Water Pollutants and their Source:

  • Whenever harmful substances such as sewage, toxic chemicals, silt, etc., get mixed with water, the water becomes polluted. The substances that pollute water are called water pollutants.
  • Many industries discharge harmful chemicals into rivers and streams, causing the pollution of water.
  • Examples are oil refineries, paper factories, textile and sugar mills and chemical factories. These industries cause chemical contamination of water. The chemicals released include arsenic, lead and fluorides which lead to toxicity in plants and animals.

Major Pollutants of Water

Some of the Sources

Some of the Effect

Pesticides and insecticides like DDT, BHC

Improper use in agriculture, mosquitos repellants

Toxic to fishes, predatory birds and mammals.

Plastics

Homes and industries

Kills fishes and animals like cows.

Chlorine compounds

Water disinfection with chlorine, paper and bleaching powder

Fatal for plankton (organisms floating on the surface of industries water) foul taste and odour, can cause cancer in humans.

Lead

Leaded gasoline, paints, etc.

Toxic to organisms

Mercury

Natural evaporation and dissolved industrial wastes, fungicides

Highly toxic to humans

Acids

Mine drainage, industrial wastes

Kills organisms

Sediments

Natural errosion, run off from fertilizer and other factories, mining and construction activities.

Reduces ability of water to assimilate oxygen.

Sulphur

Burning of Sulphur in coal or heavy oil in thermal power plants release SO2 in the air.

SO2 combines with oxygen and water to form Sulphuric acid.

Arsenic

Industrial discharge

Respiratory and skin cancer. Nervous disorder

 

 

 

No two species in a habitat can have the same niche. What is the reason behind this?

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Answer:

  • No two species in a habitat can have the same niche because, if two species occupy the same niche they will compete with one another until one is displaced.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Ecological Niche:

  • In nature, many species occupy the same habitat but they perform different functions. The functional characteristics of a species in its habitat is referred to as “niche”.
  • While habitat of a species is like its ‘address’ (i.e. where it lives), niche can be thought of as its “profession” (i.e. activities and responses specific to the species).
  • The term niche means the sum of all the activities and relationships of a species by which it uses the resources in its habitat for its survival and reproduction.
  • A niche is unique for a species while many species may share the same habitat. No two species in a habitat can have the same niche.
  • This is because, if two species occupy the same niche they will compete with one another until one is displaced.
  • For example different species of insects may be pests of the same plant but they can co-exist as they feed on different parts of the same plant that is because their niches are different.
  • Another such example is the vegetation of the forest. The forest can support a large number of plant species as they occupy different niches: the tall trees, the short trees, shrubs, bushes and grasses.
  • Their heights vary and they differ in their requirements for sunlight and nutrients and so they can all survive together.
  • The most important resources available in the niches of animals are food and shelter while in case of plants, they are moisture and nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen).

 

 

 

Which veterinary drug used for cows has led to significant decline in the population of vultures?

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Answer:

  • A pain killer called diclofenac has led to significant decline in the population of vultures.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Indian Vulture Crisis:

  • There were at least thirty million vultures in India and Pakistan in the early 1990s.  They used to fly in flocks so massive, only rough approximations of their numbers could be made. Within a matter of a few years, their numbers started to decline faster than any other avian collapse in history. The cause of the vultures’ demise pinpointed to be kidney failure.
  • In Hinduism, the main religion of India, cows are thought to be sacred and it’s against Indian law to kill or cause them pain.  Farmers would liberally administer a pain killer called diclofenac to ease any suffering their cows might endure. 
  • When the cows eventually died they would be sent to carcass fields to decompose because they couldn’t be buried or cremated according to the same religious reasons that sheltered them from suffering or death.
  • Vultures have traditionally played a vital role in the decomposition of these carcass fields by stripping the dead cows to the bone.
  • The vultures were dying of kidney failure from the accumulated diclofenac in the cows.
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