Conservation of Plants and Animals

An Introduction

Plants and animals are the backbone of life on the Earth; it is important to conserve them and save them from getting extinct, maintaining their right population that help in enriching the biodiversity or the richness of flora and fauna worldwide. Deforestation or cutting down trees is considered as one of the major problems associated with the conservation of plants and animals. NCERT Class 8 Science chapter conservation of plants and animals will cover deforestation, biodiversity, species and different types of species and importance of conservation of plants and animals. In this article, we have discussed all of these topics in an easiest manner for better understanding. Let’s get started!


Human conservation efforts primarily concentrate on two strategies: preserving the conditions in which plants and animals thrive, and avoiding the death of the animals and plants themselves. The goal of conservation is to protect future resources. However, economic opportunity frequently pushes humans to modify habitats and exploit plant and animal species, often to the brink of extinction. At times, the nature of economics clashes with conservation. Because scarcity makes a resource more desirable to anyone who can still obtain it, incentives grow as supplies decline.


Possible Ways of Conservation 

Here are some possible ways to conserve plants and animals: 

1. Plant and Animal Habitats Should be Protected.

While people use animals and plants as resources, their habitat may also be valuable. Africa is full of examples of forest areas converted to agriculture, culminating in biodiversity loss. Agriculture and aquaculture are displacing coastal mangroves all across the world, and urbanization is also destroying many species' natural habitats. So, these habitats should be protected. 

2. The Amount of Time that Humans Spend on Animals and Plants Should be Reduced. 

As people's living conditions improve in emerging nations, there is a greater demand for meat production since more customers can buy meat for eating. This increases the demand for natural resources that are used to manufacture meat. For example, the grains used to feed animals in the United States could support 800 million people. As a result, humans are destroying more natural habitats to meet the need for meat. Choosing to consume less meat in one's meals would lower the demands on most of the resources necessary to produce it, from food to water to space.

3. Market Forces the Animal and Plant Resources to Become Scarce. 

African elephants and rhinos ivories are examples of decreasing animal resources. When these species become prey to cartel gunmen, their tusks and horns become increasingly scarce and precious. Buyers stockpile ivory in the hope of increasing its future value. Rates for Asian wood products such as rosewood have surged by up to 90% in the last year. In each case, safeguarding animals and plants resources necessitates a struggle against market pressures, such as a prohibition on the sale of ivory and curbs on logging exports. 

4. Consider How Solutions Might have Unintended Consequences.

In the complexities of Earth's natural ecology, a good concept might have unforeseen repercussions. Hydroelectric dams create power from the energy of the stream, which sounds good in and of itself because it decreases the usage of fossil fuels. Dams, on the other hand, obstruct fish migratory paths. Wind turbines produce power without polluting the environment, but there is great disagreement regarding how several birds they kill. 


Deforestation

It is the cutting of trees for human benefits. With forest wood, humans are hugely benefited in various ways including firewood, paper production, house building, furniture manufacturing, and other artworks. Here, we will start with the causes and effects of deforestation (one of the most important factors that make it necessary to conserve plants and animals).

 

Causes of Deforestation

Man-made Causes

  • Urbanization- Constructing more buildings and houses.

  • Mining- Mining activities also lead to deforestation.

  • Timber- For obtaining wood, people cut many trees.

  • Paper Industry- Paper is obtained from wood and it requires cutting down a large amount of trees.

  • Logging- It is the process of cutting trees, processing them and loading them into trucks or cars.

 

Natural Causes

  • Forest fires

  • Barren Lands

  • Hurricanes

  • Pests

  • Droughts

 

Effects of Deforestation

  1. Decrease in temperature leading to global warming

  2. Desertification where lands turn into dry lands or deserts, without trees and receiving no rainfall.

  3. Change in rainfall patterns as trees are useful to maintain the climatic conditions.

  4. Soil erosion leading to washing away of soil layers useful for plantation.

  5. Floods which are natural disasters that may take up many lives.

 

Biodiversity (Flora and Fauna of an Area)

Conservation of plants and animals topic also covers biodiversity and the different terms associated with the biodiversity are as follows:

  • Species: A group of interbreeding individuals are called species.

  • Food Chain: It is a linear sequence of organisms dependent on each other, starting from producers to consumers to decomposers. 

  • Endemic Species: Those species which are found only in a particular area and cannot be found anywhere else are called endemic species.

  • Ecosystem: All plants, animals, microorganisms, soil, water and air together constitute an ecosystem that helps the survival of living organisms. Ecosystem consists of biotic (with life) and abiotic (without life) factors as mentioned here.

 

Biodiversity Conservation

It is the flora and fauna of an area and maintaining rich diversity will help in conservation of plants and animals. Biodiversity is managed or protected from destruction with the help of the following establishments:

1. Biosphere Reserve

It allows research and education to zoologists and botanists who are studying plants and animals. It helps them gain knowledge about different flora and fauna. An example of biosphere reserve is Pachmarhi biosphere reserve where Sal trees and Wild Mango are found as flora and flying squirrel and Cheetal are among fauna found there. 

2. National Park

It is a highly restricted area where no human activity is allowed. It protects the historic and cultural heritage of the area. For example, rock shelters and caves were discovered in Satpura National Park where no human activity is allowed.

3. Wildlife Sanctuaries

It conserves wild animals in their natural habitat and limited human activity is only allowed here. No one is allowed to perform hunting, poaching and deforestation.

4. Tiger Reserves

It was launched in 1973 and is especially meant for conserving tigers. Tiger being a National animal of India is highly taken care of.

 

Species and Different Kinds of Species

A group of interbreeding individuals are called species.

  • Vulnerable Species

Those species that are about to become endangered. Examples: Giant Panda and Polar Bear.

  • Endangered Species

Species that are at a high risk of extinction. Examples: Bonobo and Blue Whale

  • Critically Endangered Species

Species that are at the highest risk of extinction are critically endangered species.

Examples: Hawksbill and Orangutan

  • Extinct Species

Species which no longer exist are called extinct species. Examples: Dinosaurs and Dodo.

 

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Importance of Conservation of Plants and Animals

  • Conservation of plants and animals is important to protect the endangered plants and animals along with their habitat.

  • A balanced ecosystem can be maintained by conserving living resources.

  • Having conservation methods applied, we can feel glad about the multitudinous varieties of species present on the Earth.

  • It helps in maintaining a healthy and functional environment for the survival of all organisms.

  • It also helps in repairing the damage which is already done to the environment.

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FAQs on Conservation of Plants and Animals

1. What are the different types of Species?

There are different types of species according to their risk of extinction. These are vulnerable species, endangered species, critically endangered species and extinct species.

2. How does conservation of plants and animals help in a Healthy Environment?

Conservation of plants and animals is very important for enriched biodiversity that helps in balancing the ecosystem. Plants and animals are the backbone of life on Earth and both depend upon each other in the environment in many ways. It is our responsibility to conserve plants and animals and save them from extinction. We should recover from all deforestation activities done by humans by planting trees and preventing hunting or killing of animals for self use. 

3. Why do we need to conserve plants and animals?

As we are aware of the benefits we get from animals and plants, we have to preserve them. We know that animals and plants have a deep impact on the ecosystem, so if they are not conserved there will be an imbalance in the ecosystem, which will directly affect human beings. Humans are dependent on plants and animals, so they need to be conserved. Moreover, more animals are becoming extinct like tigers, pandas, etc. It becomes necessary to conserve them. 

4. What are the different ways of the conservation of plants and animals?

It takes an hour to conserve the plants and animals. But the question arises of how to conserve them. There are lots of ways to conserve them like to protect the flora and fauna. There should be protected areas for them like wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and national parks in a country. Another way to protect the animals and plants is to prohibit grazing, hunting etc like activities that may cause the extinction of plants and animals. Moreover, converting the cultivation area into a construction area should be prohibited.

5. Where can I learn about the conservation of plants and animals?

The best way to learn about the conservation of plants and animals is to study books. For instance, in Class 8th NCERT Science you will learn about the conservation of plants and animals very clearly. There, you will know about the biodiversity and ecosystem and dependence of animals, plants and human beings on each other which will explain the need for conservation of plants and animals. Also, you can refer to Vedantu's website.