Factors Responsible for Diversity of Natural Vegetation in India:
- Varied Climate: India’s vast expanse features a range of climatic conditions – from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayas. This climatic diversity contributes to varied vegetation types, including tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, and alpine meadows.
- Topography: The presence of plains, plateaus, deserts, and mountains leads to different types of vegetation. For instance, the sandy soils of the Thar Desert support cacti and thorny bushes, while the fertile Gangetic plains are home to tall deciduous trees.
- Soil Types: India has a rich variety of soils ranging from the alluvial of the northern plains to the red and laterite soils of the plateau regions, each supporting different vegetation.
- Rainfall: Regions receiving heavy rainfall, like the Western Ghats, support dense tropical rainforests. In contrast, areas with moderate rainfall, like parts of Central India, have deciduous forests. Arid regions, receiving scanty rainfall, have sparse vegetation.
- Human Activities: Historical and present human activities, including agriculture, urbanization, and deforestation, have influenced the natural vegetation.
Significance of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Rainforest Regions of India:
- Biodiversity Conservation: Rainforests are biodiversity hotspots. Sanctuaries like the Periyar in Kerala conserve a plethora of species, many of which are endemic.
- Protection of Endangered Species: Rainforest sanctuaries provide a habitat for threatened species. The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, for instance, is home to the endangered lion-tailed macaque.
- Ecotourism: Sanctuaries boost ecotourism, fostering environmental awareness among visitors and generating revenue for local communities.
- Carbon Sequestration: Rainforests act as carbon sinks. Their protection in sanctuaries ensures a reduction in CO2 levels, mitigating the effects of climate change.
- Research and Study: These sanctuaries are vital zones for scientific research. They offer insights into species adaptation, evolution, and rainforest ecology.
- Cultural Significance: Many sanctuaries, like the Western Ghats region, have tribal populations who have lived harmoniously with nature for centuries. Their protection ensures the safeguarding of indigenous cultures and knowledge systems.
- Water Cycle Regulation: Rainforests play a pivotal role in the water cycle. Their conservation in sanctuaries ensures regular rainfall and prevents soil erosion.
In conclusion, India’s diverse natural vegetation is a testament to its varied climatic, topographical, and soil conditions. Wildlife sanctuaries in the country’s rainforest regions are not just protective zones for biodiversity but are also significant for ecological balance, research, cultural heritage, and climate change mitigation.