Tuesday, 30 June 2015


1. Consider the following statements
  1. The percentage of Open forest in India is more than Moderately Dense forest
  2. Area covered under Plantation is more than very Dense forest
  3. Shifting Cultivation has increased over the years and shares more land use as compared to Non-Forestry Plantation.
Select the correct code-
  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. None
Solution: 4
13th Indian State of Forest Report by Forest Survey of India

Categorisation of Forest
It was now possible for FSI to classify the forest cover in three canopy density classes viz. Very Dense Forest (VDF, having canopy assessment in this series.density of 70% and above), Moderately Dense Forest (MDF, having canopy density of 40% and more but less than 70%.) and Open Forest (OF, having canopy density of 10% and more but less than 40%)  against earlier two density classes i.e. Dense Forest (having canopy density over 40 per cent) and Open Forest (having canopy density between 10 and 40 percent) used till SFR 2001.

Forest cover mapping
XIII Indian State of Forest Report of year 2013 having data period of 2010-12.Sensor used: IRS P6-LISS-III IRS-Resourcesat 2-LISS III; spatial resolution - 23.5 m; scale - 1:50,000; Minimum mapping unit(ha) - 1; Mode of interpretation - Digital.

Forest Cover and Recorded Forest Area
The 'Forest Cover' as used in ISFR refers to all lands more than one hectare in area with a tree canopy of more than 10% irrespective of ownership and legal status including orchards, bamboo and palm. On the other hand, the term 'Recorded Forest Area' (or forest area) refers to all the geographic areas recorded as 'Forests' in government records. Recorded forest areas largely consist of Reserved Forests (RF) and Protected Forests (PF), which have been constituted under the provisions of Indian Forest Act 1927. Besides RFs and PFs, the recorded forest area may also include all such areas which have been recorded as forests in the revenue records or have been constituted so under any State Act or local law. Thus, 'Forest Cover' indicates presence of trees on any land irrespective of their ownership and the 'Forest Area' denotes the legal status of the land.

Forest Cover vs Tree Cover
Forest Cover - All lands more than one hectare in area, >10% tree canopy; satellite can easily measure it; nearly 7 lakh sq.km; 21.23% of Indian land
Tree Cover - below 1 ht. area under trees. (especially surrounding villages and woodlands); need satellite + manual field verification; nearly 91,000 sq.km; 2.78% of Indian land.

Total forest and tree cover
The total forest and tree cover is estimated at 24.01 per cent, according to the report.

There has been an increase of 5,871 sq km of the country’s forest area since 2011, even as moderately dense forest areas have depleted due to population increase, grazing and encroachments, says the biennial “India State of Forest Report 2013,” 

Details of State of Forest Report
  1. http://mrunal.org/2014/08/forest-survey-2013-resourcesat-mangroves-agroforestry-urban-forestry-ranking.html
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/forest-cover-has-increased-despite-some-setbacks/article6191329.ece
2. Soil erosion is one of the major reasons for depleting forest covers of India. Consider
the following statements w.r.t this-
  1. Excessive erosion of bottom soil reduces both the fertility and water holding capacity of the soil.
  2. Major part of Indian forest cover has undergone heavy soil erosion amounting almost 30% of Recorded Forest Area.
Select the correct code-
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None
Solution- 4
Explanation- Excessive erosion of TOP soil, not Bottom soil. Erosion takes place on the top
surface of soil. Major forest cover of India has undergone Mild Erosion amounting 63% of
RFA. Heavy Soil erosion amounts to 2.24 % of RFA

3. Which of the following is/are artificial methods of ‘Forest Regeneration’?
  1. Taungya System
  2. Silviculture System
Select the correct code-
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None
Solution- 3
Explanation- UPSC asks questions about Vegetative Stem cutting and other such methods.
Forest Survey Report has mentioned about Forest regeneration methods.
Silviculture is the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health,
and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values. The name comes from the
Latinsilvi- (forest) + culture (as in growing). The study of forests and woods is
termed silvology. Silviculture also focuses on making sure that the treatment(s) of forest
stands are used to preserve and to better their productivity. 
The taungya is a system whereby villagers and sometimes forest plantation workers are
given the right to cultivate agricultural crops during the early stages of forest plantation
establishment. Taungya means hill cultivation, it was introduced into-India by Dr. Brandis in
1890 and the first Taungya plantation was raised in 1896 in north Bengal. It is practiced in
Kerala, West Bangal, U.P., and to lesser extent in Tamil Nadu, A. P. Orissa and the north
eastern hill regions. In southern India the system is called KUMARI; it is practiced in a areas
with an assured annual rainfall of over 1200-1500mm.
This is a modified term of shifting cultivation in which labour is permitted to raise crop in an
area but only side by side with the forest species planted by them. The practices consist of
land preparation, tree planting, growing agricultural crop for 1 to 3 years until shade

becomes the dense and then moving on to repeat the cycle in a different area.

4. Consider the statements regarding ‘Coral bleaching’
  1. It is the loss of zooxanthellae through either expulsion or loss of algal pigmentation.
  2. It happens due to increase in ocean temperature
  3. All the corals undergoing bleaching are dead corals
Select the correct code-
  1. 1 and 3
  2. Only 2
  3. Only 1
  4. 2 and 3
Solution- 3
Explanation- First statement is true. 
zooxanthellae Coral has a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae that live in their tissues. These algae are their primary food source and give them their colour. When the symbiotic relationship becomes stressed due to increased ocean temperature or pollution, the algae leaves the coral's tissue.Without the algae, the coral loses its major source of food, turns white or very pale, and is more susceptible to disease.This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality.

Coral bleaching not only happens because of warm temperature but can also happen due to Cold temperature. Not all bleaching events are due to warm water. In January 2010, cold water temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event that resulted in some coral death. Water temperatures dropped 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the typical temperatures observed at this time of year.Researchers will evaluate if this cold-stress event will make corals more susceptible to disease in the same way that warmer waters impact corals.
When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are
under more stress and are subject to mortality.

Coral bleaching - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coral_bleach.html

5. Rhodiola has been a significant herb of research interests among the scientist all over
the world. Consider the statements w.r.t Rhodiola
  1. It has immunomodulatory, adaptogenic and radio-protecting abilities.
  2. The root part is used by local people as vegetables
  3. It is found in cold regions of the world
Which of the following statements is /are correct
  1. 1, 2, and 3
  2. 1 and 2
  3. Only 3
  4. 1 and 3
Solution - 4
Explanation - - The leafy part is used as vegetables. The root is used as Medicine.


6. Consider the statement below
Germany is investing in an emission reduction project in India as an alternative to reducing
emissions domestically. It will be called as-
  1. Joint Implementation
  2. Clean Development Mechanism
  3. Certified Emission Reduction Credits
  4. None

Solution- 4
Explanation- The definition given is of Joint Implementation but India cannot be its
beneficiary since it applies among Annex 1 countries only. CDM applies to developing

7. Identify the correct statement
  1. The Bio-safety protocol deals with genetically modified organism
  2. The Bio-safety protocol is also called as Nagoya Protocol
  3. Both Nagoya and Cartagena Protocol deals with genetic resources
Select the correct code
  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 1 and 3
Solution- 4
Explanation- The Bio-safety protocol is Cartagena not Nagoya. Rest are correct.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003.

Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. 
The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. 

8. The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctica region has been a cause of concern. What
could be the reason for the formation of this hole?
  1. Presence of prominent tropospheric turbulence and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons
  2. Presence of prominent polar front and stratospheric clouds and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons.
  3. Absence of polar front and stratospheric clouds and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons.
  4. Increased temperature of polar region due to global warming
Solution- 2

Polar Front- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_front (also see Hadley cell, Ferrel cell and Polar cell)

Our Solar system's second largest moon, Titan (moon of saturn) has a anti-greenhouse effect that reduces the warming. Largest moon of our solar system is Ganymede(moon of Jupiter).

9. Consider the following statements regarding Bio-asphalt
  1. It is eco-friendly to use bio-asphalt for surfacing of the roads
  2. Unlike traditional asphalts, bio-asphalts is not based on fossil fuels.
  3. Bio-asphalt can be made from organic waste materials.
  4. Bio-asphalt can be made from non-renewable resources
Select the correct code-
  1. 1, 3 and 4
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 4. All
Asphalt - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphalt
Bio-asphalt - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioasphalt ; http://thegreenenergyblog.com/uncategorized/bioasphalt-renewable-construction-material-2
10. Which bacterial strain, developed from natural isolates by genetic manipulations, can
be used for treating oil spills?
  1. Agrobacterium
  2. Clostridium
  3. Nitrosomonas
  4. Pseudomonas
Solution- 4
Explanation- Oil eating bacteria is an aerobic bacterium. The genetic name Pseudomonas
created for organisms like oil eating bacteria was.

http://scienceblogs.com/oscillator/2010/06/08/oil-eating-bacteria/ (Bioremediation; Pseudomonas putida - first patented organism in the world by its inventor, Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty)

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