Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change Current Affairs - 2019

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NGT asks centre to prepare plan for protection of Great Indian Bustard

A National Green Tribunal (NGT) Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has directed Central government to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for protection of Great Indian Bustard. This decision is in response to the high mortality rate of birds noted by NGT.

Key Highlights

Committee: NGT Bench headed by Justice A K Goel constituted a joint committee comprising officials of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and nominees of Energy Departments of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The committee was tasked to prepare an action plan for implementation of suggestions put forth by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) over the isuue.

Plea:  NGT was hearing a plea filed by Centre for Wildlife and Environment Litigation (CWEL), through advocate Gaurav Bansal, seeking directions to ministry to make bio-diversity impact assessment mandatory for every wind-power project, irrespective of its size/capacity. Plea stated that the reason for high mortality rate of critically endangered species of birds as per 30th Forest Advisory Committee meeting is power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires as the bird have poor frontal vision. It put forth that 75% of birds have died due to collision with power lines in past 30 years.

Environment Ministry also acknowledged that adult mortality among GIB is still very high due to collisions with power-lines that crisscross their flying paths.

WII Report Recommendations:

It suggested a slew of measures, such as mitigation of all power transmission lines passing through priority bustard habitats and disallowing new wind turbines, solar farms among others.

Steps should be taken to reduce poaching of specie and other wildlife in Thar landscape.

Poaching of GIB and other wildlife in Thar landscape could be reduced by improving protection enforcement through training of forest department frontline staff in smart patrolling tools with help of conservation organisations.

About Great Indian bustard

Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps

Population: 200 individuals worldwide. Its largest populations are found in Indian state of Rajasthan.

Status: It is Listed in-

  • Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972,
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or Bonn Convention
  • Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
  • IUCN Red List- as Critically Endangered
  • National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016)

It has also been identified as one of the species for recovery programme under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

India is home to 1,256 species of orchid: 1st comprehensive survey

According to the first comprehensive census of orchids of India titled ‘Orchids of India: A Pictorial Guide’, India is home to 1,256 species of orchid. The census containing photographs of 775 species is published recently by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) was unveiled in early July 2019 Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

In the light of importance of orchids in floriculture, this publication by BSI, which has photographs of 60% of all species, is 1st authentic inventory and thus will be useful for researchers, growers, nature lovers and people with different backgrounds.

Key Findings of Study

1,256 orchid species or taxa belong are found in India.

388 species of orchids are endemic to India. Out of the 388 species about one-third (128) endemic species are found in Western Ghats.

Three life forms: Orchids can be broadly categorised into 3 life forms-

Epiphytic– are plants growing on another plants including those growing on rock boulders and often termed lithophyte. About 60% of all orchids found in India, which is 757 species, are epiphytic. These are abundant up to 1800 m (above sea level) and their occurrence decreases with increase in altitude

Terrestrial– are plants growing on land and climbers. 447 species in India are terrestrial. These grow directly on soil, are found in large numbers in temperate and alpine region.

Mycoheterotrophic– are plants which derive nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi that are attached to the roots of a vascular plant). 43 species in India are mycoheterotrophic. These are mostly associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi, are found in temperate regions, or are found growing with parasites in tropical regions.

Distribution of orchid:

Among 10 Bio Geographic Zones of India, Himalayan zone is richest in terms of orchid species followed by Northeast India, Western Ghats, Deccan plateau and Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) Islands.

North-East India rank at top in species concentration of Orchids.

Western Ghats have high endemism of orchids.

Highest number of orchid species: is recorded from Arunachal Pradesh with 612 species. This is followed by Sikkim with 560 species and West Bengal.

FACT

The entire orchid family is listed under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Thus any trade of wild orchid is banned globally.