Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

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  • It is protected area in Uttar Pradesh that stretches mainly across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts.
  • It comprises Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It covers area of 1,284.3 km2 and includes three large forest fragments.
  • It shares north-eastern boundary with Nepal, which is defined to large extent by Mohana River.
  • The area is vast Terai alluvial floodplain traversed by numerous rivers and streams flowing in south-easterly direction.
  • It ranges in altitude from 110 to 185 m.
  • Apart from tigers  (estimated 106–118), it is also home to swamp deer, sambar deer, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, Indian rhinoceros, sloth bear, ratel, jackal, civets, jungle cat, fishing cat, etc.
  • It is home to one of finest forests in India, some of these trees are more than 150 years old and over 70 ft tall.

Global Stocktake (GST)

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  • GST refers to proposed five-yearly-review of the impact of climate change action undertaken by countries.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, each country has to present a climate action plan every five years.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, the first global stocktake will happen in 2023.
  • It will help world to determine whether it needs to do more and how much more.
  • India is demanded for 10-year period for GST, while EU and some others demanded five-year cycle.
  • India argues that five years is too short a time to assess whether the actions were having the desired impacts.

 

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

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  • Non-Profit organisation
  • Based in New Delhi
  • Established in 1980
  • CSE works as a think tank on environment-development issues in India
  • Why in news? CSE awarded Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2018 for its work in environmental education and protection.

Himalayan State Regional Council

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  • NITI Aayog has constituted Himalayan State Regional Council to ensure sustainable development of Indian Himalayan region.
  • The Council has been constituted to review and implement identified action points based on Reports of five Working Groups, which were established along thematic areas to prepare a roadmap for action.
  • It will be nodal agency for Sustainable development in Himalayan Region which consists of 12 States namely Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur,  Mizoram, Tripura, two districts of Assam namely Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.

Terms of reference of Council

  • It will monitor implementation of action points for Central Ministries, Institutions and 12 Himalayan State Governments in Indian Himalayan Region which include regional cooperation and river basin development, spring mapping and revival across Himalayas in phased manner for water security.
  • It will develop, implement and monitor tourism sector standards as well as bring policy coherence, strengthen skill and entrepreneurship with focus on identified priority sectors, among other action points.

Benefits of Vegetarianism : WRI Report

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Facts:

  • WRI estimates that the global demands for beef may increase by a whopping 95% by the year 2050.
  • There are 1.3 billion cattle across the world today (and India rears 300 million of them).
  • We would need over 2.6 billion cattle 30 years from now!

WRI Report:

  • The World Resources Institute (WRI), based in Washington, DC, USA, has recently suggested that people should reduce (if not abandon) eating beef
  • This is despite the fact that beef-eating in the US has dropped, due to health concerns about eating “red meat.”
  • Word cattle here includes cows and bulls, buffaloes, horses, sheep and goats – in effect farm animals.
  • Need of pastures: Breeding cattle impacts the climate conditions on earth, contributing to global warming. It also takes up lot of land for pasturing (it is estimated that 25% of the earth’s land mass (minus the Antarctica) would be needed for pasture).
  • Water intensive: It is also estimated that a third of the global water is needed for farm animal production .
  • Greenhouse Gases: On top of this, cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats and other “ungulates” belch a lot; this alone emits enormous amount of greenhouse gases that contribute over 60% to global warming.
  • In contrast, plants such as wheat, rice, maize, pulses, roots and tubers need no pasture land, demand far less water and, more importantly, generate little or no “greenhouse gases”.
  • We have promised to cut down global warming to no more than 1.5°C within the next 20 years, but with the projected demand for increase the number of cattle, the situation can only worsen.
  • Overeating: Today about 20% of the world overeats, leading to obesity and being overweight, and there are consequent health problems.
  • Cutting the calories down to the optimal level will lead to both health benefits and saving in land and water use.
  • Include more plant-based proteins and cut down animal-based ones. Traditional Mediterranean diet (fish and poultry meat, at low levels) and vegetarian meals (with legumes-based proteins) are suggested.
  • Reduce beef consumption specifically – Cutting down beef (cattle in general) in daily diet will offer both dietary and environmental benefit. The environmental benefits are clear; it saves agriculture for land use and reduces greenhouse gases. Rather than beef, one can turn to pork, poultry, fish and, of course, legumes.
  • History: The move to vegetarianism, which started around 1500-500 BCE by the Indians and the Greeks, was connected with the idea of nonviolence towards animals, and promoted by religion and philosophy. The Tamil scholar-poet Thiruvalluvar, the Mauryan kings Chandragupta and Ashoka, and the Greek sage Pythagoras (of the theorem fame) were vegetarians.
various legumes on white background top view top view

Environmental Tipping Points

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What are ‘Tipping points’?

‘Tipping points’, are essentially the  thresholds beyond which the earth’s systems are no longer able to stabilise.  

The danger in crossing tipping points becomes higher with more warming.

Such tipping points include: 

  1. melting of Greenland ice, 
  2. collapse of Antarctic glaciers (which would lead to several metres of sea level rise),
  3. destruction of Amazon forests, 
  4. melting of all the permafrost and so on.

Living Planet Report (LPR) 2018

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About Report:

  • Published by World Wide Fund for Nature(WWF)
  • It is published every 2 years

 

Highlights of report

  • Soil Biodiversity: 
    • It encompasses presence of micro-organisms, micro-fauna (nematodes and tardigrades for example), and macro-fauna (ants, termites and earthworms).
    • Millions of microbial and animal species live and make up soils, from bacteria and fungi to mites, beetles and earthworms. Soil biodiversity, thus is total community from genes to species, and varies depending on environment.
    • The immense diversity in soil allows for great variety of ecosystem services that benefit species that inhabit it, the species that use it and its surrounding environment.
  • WWF’s ‘risk index’ for globe:
    • It indicated threats from loss of above-ground diversity, pollution and nutrient over-loading, over-grazing, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion, desertification and climate change.
    • India was coloured red on atlas and is among countries whose soil biodiversity faces the highest level of risk. Other countries in this category include Pakistan, China, several countries in Africa and Europe, and most of North America.
  • India’s per capita ecological footprint: It was less than 1.75 hectares/person (it is in lowest band among countries surveyed). India’s high population made it vulnerable to ecological crisis, even if per-capita consumption remained at current levels.
  • Pollinators: 150 million bee colonies were needed to meet the pollination requirements of about 50 million hectares of agricultural land in India, only 1.2 million colonies were present.
  • Ecological loss: Population of fish, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles has dwindled by average of 60% from 1970 to 2014 and fresh-water species have declined by 83% in same period. Globally, extent of wetlands os estimated to have declined by 87% since 1970.

Biodiversity-loss

Mammals of India Project (MaOI)

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Mammals of India Project (MaOI)

  • Mammals of India (MaOI) is a new model of repository on Indian mammals by the Scientists and Researchers from the National Centers for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.
  • It is a citizen-scientific repository initiated in September 2018.
  • It is a first such repository of Mammals in India.

 

Special Features Of MaOI

  • It is an online, freely accessible portal whose aim is to develop individual pages for all Indian mammals covering all related information about their distribution, breeding, variation, identification and conservation.
  • The website mammalsofindia.org provides a facility to the citizen to upload photographic observations about mammals.
  • The photographs of rare species such as Red Serow from Manipur, Lynx a species of wild cat from Jammu and Kashmir, Asian Golden Cat from West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and Binturong, also known as bear cat, from East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh have been uploaded on this portal.
  • This is an exclusive portal for mammals in India which will help in having a good distribution map of mammals all around the country.
  • MaOI is an initiative under Biodiversity Atlas project. The Biodiversity Atlas is a species-based bioinformatics platform.

IPCC Special Report on Climate Change

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United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released special report on global warming in Incheon, South Korea.

Key Points from report

  • It clearly shows how half degree of warming makes big difference, adversely impacting global population and overall ecosystem through intense heat waves, melting of Arctic, sea level rise, erratic rainfall, reduction of farm yield and vanishing of living species.
  • It is possible to meet new warming target, provided nations together take rapid and far reaching transitions over next 10 to 20 years in energy, industry, land use, buildings, transport and cities to cut emissions and reach net zero around 2050 — 25 years earlier than planned under earlier 2-degree goal.
  • It lists four pathways to curb global warming and through which the 1.5 degree target can be achieved. In each of pathways, global average temperature is projected to overshoot 1.5 degrees Celsius target by some amount before returning to that level before the end of this century.
  • Each of these pathways is also dependent on some amount of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), a reference to physical removal of stock of CO2 from atmosphere to reduce its concentrations. Varying amounts between 100 to 1000 gigatons (billion tonnes) of CO2 needs to be removed from atmosphere in these four pathways.
  • It refers to climate models that project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.
  • These differences include increase in mean temperatures in both land ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions and probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions.

Advantages of keeping global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius

  • It also lists several specific advantages of keeping the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
  • By 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5 degrees compared with 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5 degrees, compared with at least once per decade with 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Coral reefs will decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5 degrees, whereas virtually all (over 99%) would be lost with 2 degrees Celsius.
  • It also points out that climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and increase further with 2 degrees Celsius.

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Asiatic lions

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  • Asiatic lions are cousins of the African lion.
  • They are believed to have split away 100,000 years ago.
  • They are slightly smaller and have distinctive fold of skin along their bellies.
  • Gir sanctuary is the only wild population of Asiatic lions in the world.
  • According to the last census conducted in 2015, the number of lions in Gir sanctuary stood at 523.
  • It is listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, has been categories as Endangered on IUCN Red List and is listed Appendix I of CITES.

 

Canine distemper virus (CDV)

  • CDV is highly contagious disease that attacks gastrointestinal, respiratory, central nervous systems, immune system and other vital organs in animals.
  • In most of the cases, the infection is fatal.
  • It is mainly found in wild dogs, jackals and wolves.
  • The disease can be contracted by lions if they eat any animal infected by it.
  • CDV is considered dangerous virus and is blamed for wiping out 30% population of African lions in East African forests.
  • The virus is blamed for the death of as many as 23 lions in Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary in less than month.

 

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