NCERT / CBSE NOTES : Chapter Summary
India : Climate, Vegetation and Wildlife
Major Seasons of India
The weather is the day-to-day change in the atmosphere of a place at a particular time. Change in weather includes change in temperature, sunshine, humidity and rainfall. Weather changes in cycles known as seasons.
Weather is the state of atmosphere over a shorter period of time, like a day and can change on a daily basis. Climate is the state of the atmosphere that prevails over a longer period of time, like over 30 to 35 years and does not change as frequently as the weather.
Throughout the year, climate changes in cycles; these cycles are known as seasons. In India, we experience four major seasons i.e. summer, rainy, autumn and winter. During March, April and May the sun shines very brightly and the temperature soars. The air becomes very hot stating the onset of the summer season.
In some parts of India, hot and dry cutting winds blow during the summer called Loo. Loo mostly blows over the northern and the western parts of India. In India, the season of rains is called the monsoon season. A good monsoon means adequate rains and a good crop. A good crop means a good economy for the country.
There are two types of monsoon seasons. The Southwest monsoon season that marks the onset of rain begins in June and lasts until September. The Retreating monsoon season occurs in September and October.
The month of June, marks the onset of the south-west monsoon. The moisture laden winds blow from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal towards the mainland. The months of October and November mark the beginning of autumn during which the monsoon winds move back towards the sea.
The month of December marks the beginning of the winter season. In India, winters stretch from December to February. During this season, cool, dry winds blow from the north of India to the south of India.
India lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. It is located in the tropical or the torrid zone. The general climate of India is hot and wet all-round the year. India’s climate can be described as the Monsoon type.
There are various factors that affect the climate of a place are location, altitude, distance from the sea, and relief.
Vegetation of India
Grasses, shrubs and trees which grow on their own without interference or help from human beings are called natural vegetation. India has a wide range of natural vegetation.
India has five types of natural vegetation:
- Tropical rain forests
- Tropical deciduous forests
- Thorny bushes
- Mountain vegetation and
- Mangrove forests
Tropical rainforests exist in regions where the temperature is moderate and rainfall is heavy and regular. The Tropical Rainforests which always appear green are also called evergreen forests.
In an evergreen forest, because of the high temperature and heavy rainfall, most trees do not shed all their leaves at a time. Most evergreen forests in India are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and north-eastern states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
There are certain rainforest regions that are not as dense as the regions with evergreen forests. The trees in these forests shed all their leaves at a particular time of the year. These rainforests are known as deciduous forests. They are also known as monsoon forests.
Deciduous forests are found in many parts of our country, such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and in parts of Maharashtra. The spines on a cactus are actually modified leaves. They help to reduce the loss of water through evaporation in the hot sun.
Cacti and other thorny bushes are the third type of vegetation found in dry areas with high temperatures and very less rainfall. Thorny bushes are found in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, parts of the Western Ghats and Gujarat.
Trees which grow in cold regions mostly found in mountainous regions where the temperatures are low are called coniferous trees owing to their conical shape. They are also classified as mountain vegetation and also known as Montane vegetation.
The fifth category of natural vegetation includes forests that grow in coastal areas: Mangrove forests. Mangroves are found mainly in the Sunderbans in West Bengal near the mouth of the river Hooghly.
Oxygen is very important for all animals to breathe. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants and trees absorb the carbon dioxide that we exhale and release oxygen. This helps in maintaining the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the ecosystem. Soil erosion can be caused by natural agents like water, wind and glaciers.
In mountainous regions, the topmost fertile soil can get eroded by heavy rainfall. This is called leaching. In desert regions, the topmost fertile soil gets eroded by strong winds. In coastal regions, the waves of the sea wash away the topmost layer of fertile soil.
The roots of plants and trees bind the soil and prevent it from being washed away. This controls soil erosion. Rainforests are a rich source of rare trees that are useful in making furniture and musical instruments.
Some trees and plants also have medicinal properties and are used to treat various health disorders.
Forests also provide us with fuel wood, timber, fodder, herbs, lac, honey and gum. Besides all the above, forests are the natural habitat of wild life.
Trees play an important role in our ecology. Reckless cutting of trees can destroy the natural ecological balance as well as the flora and fauna. This has led to a depletion of our natural resources, which can, in turn, affect our living conditions.
Adoption of the policy of the 3Rs is extremely important i.e. Reduce, recycle and reuse. We should reduce unnecessary cutting of trees, and recycle and reuse forest resources. We can have special programmes like the Van Mahotsav, where we can involve people in planting saplings.
Natural vegetation, also known as ‘flora,’ refers to plants and trees that grow without any interferenceor help from human beings.
Wildlife refers to animals that cannot be domesticated by human beings and known as ‘fauna’.
India is also home to a variety of wildlife.
Tigers are found throughout India - from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari. The Royal Bengal Tiger is our national animal.
The Gir forest in Gujarat is the home of the Asiatic lion. Snow leopards are found in the Himalayan region. Elephants and one-horned rhinoceroses are found in the forests of Assam.
Hot desert areas, such as the Great Indian Desert and the Rann of Kutch are the habitat of camels.
Asiatic lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinoceroses, camels, wild asses, wild goats, snow leopards, bears, nilgais and cheetahs are some wild animals commonly found in India.
The peacock is our national bird. Parrots, pigeons, mynahs, geese, bulbuls and ducks are some of the commonly spotted birds.
India has a rich variety of birds; bird sanctuaries provide birds with a natural habitat. India also has several hundreds of species of snakes. Cobras and kraits are the most poisonous snakes.
Reckless cutting down of forests not only destroys our natural vegetation, it also causes the loss of several species of wildlife. Wildlife is hunted for commercially valuable products like skin, horns, bones, fur and more. This is also known as poaching.
To protect our wildlife, many national parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves have been set up.
The government has also started Project Tiger and Project Elephant to protect these animals.
Measures to conserve wildlife:
- When visiting a forest or a park, carry a trash bag with you, so you can keep the environment clean.
- Refuse to buy things made from an animal’s body parts, such as bones, horns, fur, skins and feathers.
Wildlife week is celebrated in the first week of October to create awareness among people.