- 1 PART-A
- 2 1. Why ecological significance of forest is more important in present day context? Explain.
- 3 2. Answer the following questions in about 125 words each.
- 3.1 a) Explain the characteristics of Western Ghats for inclusion as Biodiversity hotspots.
- 3.2 b) Why hydropower is regarded as the best source of energy? Explain it in detail.
- 3.3 c) The importance of Biomass has been increasing day by day in our surroundings among renewable resources. Explain it with suitable examples.
- 3.4 d) How does air pollution affect the atmospheric processes?
- 3.5 e) What is Disposal of waste? Why segregation of waste is needed?
- 4 3. Explain the human-environment relationship by taking examples of biotic and abiotic components?
- 5 4. “As humans civilisation progressed, man started altering the environment in the pursuit of creating an economic, social and cultural environment of his own choice. This slowly resulted in the depletion of natural resources and degradation of environment.” Explain it in context of national legislations of water acts?
- 6 5. “Biosphere reserves are internationally recognised areas established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between Humans and the Biosphere.” Elaborate this statement in the context of conservation of nature?
- 7 6. Explain the following terms in about 60 words each:
- 8 PART-B
- 9 7. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each.
- 9.1 (a) What is lentic and lotic ecosystem? Explain these two with suitable examples.
- 9.2 (b) What is ecological succession? Explain the types of succession with suitable diagrams.
- 9.3 (c) Explain the biocentrism and ecocentrism in context of human’s attitude towards nature?
- 9.4 (d) Define natural calamities and its types with suitable examples.
- 10 8. Explain the causes of ozone depletion? How do ultraviolet rays affects human health, animals, plants, micro-organisms, water and air quality.
- 11 9. “Education for environmental awareness is essential for the younger generation as well as for the older generation.” Explain the statement with suitable examples.
- 12 10. “Water Harvesting is one of the effective measures to combat drought.” Explain this statement with suitable arguments.
|AAECC/BEVAE 181-AECC ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (IGNOU-BAG) Solved Assignment 2022-2023
|Bachelor Degree Programme
|AECC ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES
|Last Date for Submission of Assignment:
|For June Examination: 31st March
For December Examination: 30th September
1. Why ecological significance of forest is more important in present day context? Explain.
Answer. Forests play a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of the Earth’s ecosystem and are of immense ecological significance. The importance of forests has become even more pronounced in the present day context due to several reasons.
- Biodiversity: Forests are a repository of a wide range of flora and fauna. They provide habitat to millions of species and support their survival. In the present day context, where the rate of extinction of species is alarmingly high, preserving forests is more important than ever.
- Carbon Sequestration: Forests absorb and store large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus mitigating the effects of climate change. In a world grappling with the impacts of global warming, forests play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change.
- Water Cycle: Forests play a crucial role in regulating the water cycle by acting as catchments, storing water, and releasing it gradually. They help prevent soil erosion and reduce the risk of natural disasters such as floods. In the present day context, where water resources are increasingly under threat, forests play an important role in maintaining water security.
- Livelihoods: Forests provide livelihoods to millions of people across the world. They are a source of food, fuel, and income for local communities. In the present day context, where poverty and unemployment are major challenges, forests play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of communities.
- Climate Regulation: Forests play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. They help maintain temperature and rainfall patterns and provide shade, thus reducing the impacts of heatwaves and droughts. In the present day context, where extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, forests play an increasingly important role in regulating the climate.
In conclusion, the ecological significance of forests is more important in the present day context due to the growing threat to biodiversity, the impacts of climate change, the increasing pressure on water resources, the need to support livelihoods, and the importance of regulating the Earth’s climate. It is imperative that steps are taken to protect and preserve forests and their ecosystems.
2. Answer the following questions in about 125 words each.
a) Explain the characteristics of Western Ghats for inclusion as Biodiversity hotspots.
Answer. The Western Ghats, a mountain range located in India, is recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The following characteristics contribute to its inclusion as a hotspot:
- High Endemism: The Western Ghats are home to a large number of species that are found nowhere else in the world, making it a unique and valuable ecosystem.
- Rich Diversity: The Western Ghats are rich in biodiversity, with over 5000 species of flowering plants and numerous species of animals, including many threatened and endangered species.
- Threatened Ecosystems: The Western Ghats are under threat from human activities such as deforestation, urbanization, and mining, which have led to the loss of important habitats and ecosystems.
- Unique Geography: The Western Ghats’ unique geography, with its varied altitude, rainfall patterns, and soil types, has created a range of habitats that support a diverse range of species.
- High Endangerment: Many of the species found in the Western Ghats are highly endangered, making it imperative to protect the region to ensure their survival.
In conclusion, the Western Ghats’ high levels of endemism, rich biodiversity, threatened ecosystems, unique geography, and high levels of endangerment make it an important biodiversity hotspot that deserves protection and preservation.
b) Why hydropower is regarded as the best source of energy? Explain it in detail.
Answer. Hydropower is regarded as one of the best sources of energy for several reasons:
- Renewable: Hydropower is a renewable energy source, as it relies on the natural flow of water, making it a sustainable source of energy.
- Efficient: Hydropower is an efficient energy source, as it can generate large amounts of energy from a single power plant. It is also capable of generating energy consistently and on a large scale, making it an attractive energy source.
- Clean: Hydropower is a clean source of energy, as it does not emit harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases, making it an environmentally friendly source of energy.
- Stable: Hydropower is a stable energy source, as it can be relied upon to generate energy consistently, making it a reliable source of energy.
- Cost-effective: Hydropower is a cost-effective energy source, as it requires a relatively low investment in infrastructure and has low operating costs, making it an attractive energy source.
In conclusion, hydropower’s characteristics as a renewable, efficient, clean, stable, and cost-effective source of energy make it one of the best sources of energy. These qualities make it an attractive alternative to traditional sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, which are finite and emit harmful pollutants.
c) The importance of Biomass has been increasing day by day in our surroundings among renewable resources. Explain it with suitable examples.
Answer. Biomass is a renewable energy source that has been gaining importance in recent times. This is due to several reasons:
- Abundance: Biomass is abundant, as it can be sourced from a wide range of organic materials such as wood, crops, and waste, making it a widely available energy source.
- Renewable: Biomass is a renewable energy source, as it is replenished through the growth of new crops and the processing of waste.
- Clean: Biomass is a clean source of energy, as it emits less carbon dioxide compared to fossil fuels, and its emissions are absorbed through the growth of new crops.
- Localized: Biomass energy can be produced locally, reducing the need for long-distance transportation and reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions.
- Versatile: Biomass can be used for a variety of energy applications, including electricity generation, heating, and transportation.
Examples of the increasing importance of biomass include the widespread adoption of biomass-based electricity generation in rural areas, the use of biomass for heating homes and businesses, and the use of biofuels for transportation.
In conclusion, the increasing importance of biomass is due to its abundance, renewability, cleanliness, localization, and versatility. These characteristics make it an attractive alternative to traditional sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, and a crucial part of the transition to a low-carbon energy future.
d) How does air pollution affect the atmospheric processes?
Answer. Air pollution has a significant impact on the atmospheric processes, altering the natural balance of the atmosphere and affecting the quality of air we breathe. Excessive levels of air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter can interfere with the atmospheric processes, including the formation of clouds and precipitation, as well as the transportation of heat and moisture. This can lead to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, leading to changes in local weather patterns and potentially causing longer term climate change. In addition, air pollutants can also have a direct impact on human health by causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as contributing to the formation of acid rain, which can harm the ecosystem and wildlife. By reducing the quality of air, air pollution also affects the atmospheric visibility and the natural beauty of the sky, making it harder for us to appreciate the wonders of nature.
e) What is Disposal of waste? Why segregation of waste is needed?
Answer. Disposal of waste refers to the management of waste materials after they are produced. It includes the collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of waste materials in a way that minimizes harm to the environment and public health. Segregation of waste is necessary because different types of waste have different disposal requirements. For example, organic waste can be composted, while electronic waste must be recycled or disposed of properly to prevent the release of toxic chemicals. Segregating waste also makes it easier and more efficient to process, as different types of waste can be treated and disposed of in a way that is appropriate for each specific material. Segregation also helps to reduce the overall volume of waste and promote the recycling of materials, conserving natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Explain the human-environment relationship by taking examples of biotic and abiotic components?
Ans: The human-environment relationship refers to the interdependence between humans and their natural surroundings. Biotic components, such as plants and animals, form the living part of the environment, while abiotic components, such as air, water, and soil, form the non-living part. For example, humans rely on biotic components for food, medicine, and materials, and in turn, human activities such as agriculture, forestry, and urbanization can impact the population and distribution of biotic components. On the other hand, abiotic components, such as air and water, play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate and supporting life. Human activities, such as industrial processes and transportation, can increase the levels of air pollutants, affecting air quality and contributing to climate change. It is important to recognize and understand the interdependence between humans and their environment in order to sustainably manage and protect the Earth’s resources for future generations.
Ans: As human civilization progressed, the pursuit of economic, social and cultural development has led to significant alterations in the natural environment. This has resulted in the depletion of natural resources, including water, and the degradation of the environment. In order to address this issue, national legislations have been enacted to regulate the use and management of water resources.
One such legislation is the National Water Act of India, which was enacted in 1974 with the aim of promoting the integrated development and management of water resources in the country. The act recognizes the need for conservation and augmentation of water resources, as well as the equitable distribution of water for different uses. It also outlines the responsibilities of different stakeholders, including the central and state governments, and water user associations, in the management of water resources.
Similarly, the National Water Policy of India was formulated in 1987 with the objective of providing a comprehensive framework for the development and management of water resources in the country. The policy emphasizes the need for conservation and efficient use of water resources, as well as the protection of water quality and the promotion of sustainable water use practices.
In addition to these national legislations, there are also state-level water acts and policies, such as the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act of 2005, which aim to promote the sustainable development and management of water resources in specific states.
Despite the presence of these legislations, the depletion of water resources and degradation of water quality continues to be a major challenge in many parts of the country. This highlights the need for effective implementation and enforcement of these laws, as well as the need for increased public awareness and engagement in the sustainable use and management of water resources.
In conclusion, the alteration of the natural environment in the pursuit of economic, social and cultural development has led to significant challenges in the management of water resources. National and state-level legislations play a crucial role in addressing these challenges, but effective implementation and enforcement, as well as increased public engagement, are also essential for promoting sustainable water use and management.
5. “Biosphere reserves are internationally recognised areas established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between Humans and the Biosphere.” Elaborate this statement in the context of conservation of nature?
Ans: Biosphere reserves are internationally recognized areas established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. These reserves are established to conserve and manage the rich biological diversity of our planet, as well as to promote sustainable use of natural resources. They are recognized as important tools for nature conservation and sustainable development, and play a crucial role in the conservation of nature.
Biosphere reserves are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. The program was established in 1971 with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the relationship between humans and the environment. Biosphere reserves are established in different regions of the world, and are characterized by their unique combinations of biotic and abiotic components, including forests, wetlands, deserts, grasslands, and coastal and marine ecosystems.
The main objectives of biosphere reserves include the conservation of biodiversity, the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, and the development of scientific and educational programs to support sustainable development. In order to achieve these objectives, biosphere reserves employ a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together experts from a wide range of fields, including ecology, sociology, economics, and education.
Biosphere reserves also play an important role in the conservation of endangered species and the protection of threatened ecosystems. By conserving large areas of natural habitat, biosphere reserves help to ensure that biodiversity is maintained for future generations. Additionally, biosphere reserves promote the sustainable use of natural resources, such as water, forests, and fisheries, helping to ensure that these resources are used in a way that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
Moreover, biosphere reserves serve as important educational and research centers, providing opportunities for students, researchers, and the general public to learn about the interdependence between humans and the environment, and the importance of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. By promoting scientific research, education, and public awareness, biosphere reserves help to build the capacity of local communities to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner.
In conclusion, biosphere reserves are important tools for the conservation of nature and the promotion of sustainable development. By conserving biodiversity, promoting sustainable use of natural resources, and providing opportunities for education and research, biosphere reserves play a crucial role in balancing the relationship between humans and the biosphere, and in ensuring that our planet remains rich and diverse for future generations.
6. Explain the following terms in about 60 words each:
(a) Seed Bank
Ans: A seed bank is a collection of seeds from different plant species, stored for the purpose of conservation and preservation. The seeds are stored in controlled conditions, such as temperature and humidity, to ensure their viability for future use. Seed banks play an important role in the conservation of plant diversity and in the protection of genetic resources. They provide a source of seed for research, breeding, and restoration programs, as well as for future food security.
Ans: Incineration is the process of burning waste at high temperatures to convert it into ash, gases, and heat. It is a method of waste treatment and disposal, used primarily for medical and hazardous waste, as well as for the disposal of solid waste in some countries. Incineration is a controversial method due to the release of air pollutants and the generation of hazardous ash, but proponents argue that it is a necessary solution for managing certain types of waste. The efficiency and environmental impact of incineration vary greatly depending on the type of waste and the technology used.
(c) Biological Oxygen Demand
Ans: Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a measure of the amount of oxygen consumed by microorganisms in the process of breaking down organic matter in water. It is a widely used indicator of the quality of water, particularly in rivers and lakes. BOD is expressed in milligrams of oxygen per liter of water (mg/L) and represents the oxygen requirement of bacteria and other microorganisms in the water over a set period of time, typically 5 days. High BOD levels can indicate the presence of organic pollution in water, which can lead to the depletion of oxygen, causing harm to aquatic life and reducing water quality. Low BOD levels indicate good water quality.
(d) Public Health
Ans: Public health refers to the study and practice of improving the health of populations, through the prevention and control of diseases, injury and other health problems. It is a broad field that encompasses a range of activities and initiatives aimed at promoting health and preventing disease, such as health education, disease surveillance, research, and community-based interventions. Public health professionals work to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities by addressing the underlying social and environmental determinants of health. The goal of public health is to improve the health of populations, reduce health disparities, and promote health equity.
7. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each.
(a) What is lentic and lotic ecosystem? Explain these two with suitable examples.
Ans: Lentic and lotic ecosystems refer to the two types of freshwater ecosystems based on the movement of water. Lentic ecosystems are still or standing water bodies, such as ponds, lakes, and wetlands. They are characterized by slow or no water movement and the presence of various species of plants and animals adapted to the still water conditions. Examples of lentic ecosystems include a pond in a park, a lake in a mountain region, and a wetland in a coastal area.
Lotic ecosystems are moving water bodies, such as rivers and streams. They are characterized by fast-flowing water, high oxygen levels, and the presence of species adapted to the dynamic water conditions. Examples of lotic ecosystems include a fast-flowing river in a tropical region, a stream in a forest, and a rapids in a mountainous area.
Both lentic and lotic ecosystems play important roles in the ecosystem, providing habitats for numerous species, regulating water flow and quality, and supporting many ecosystem services. However, due to human activities such as pollution, dam construction, and land use changes, these ecosystems are under threat and their conservation is crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of freshwater ecosystems.
(b) What is ecological succession? Explain the types of succession with suitable diagrams.
Ans: Ecological succession is the gradual process of change in the species composition and structure of an ecosystem over time. It occurs in response to natural disturbances, such as fires, floods, or landslides, or in newly created habitats, such as a newly formed island or a newly disturbed area. The process of succession results in the development of a stable and self-sustaining ecosystem, known as a climax community.
There are two types of ecological succession: primary and secondary. Primary succession occurs in newly formed habitats with no pre-existing soil, such as a volcanic island or a newly formed sand dune. In primary succession, the first colonizing species are typically pioneer species that can tolerate harsh conditions, such as lichens and mosses. Over time, other species with greater requirements for water, nutrients, and light establish, resulting in the development of a diverse and stable community.
Secondary succession occurs in disturbed habitats where the soil and some vegetation remain intact, such as after a fire or a timber harvest. In secondary succession, the process of species replacement is faster and occurs within the context of an existing soil and vegetation. The first colonizing species in secondary succession are typically opportunistic species that can quickly establish, such as annual grasses and pioneer trees. Over time, the community structure and species composition change, resulting in the development of a diverse and stable ecosystem.
In both types of succession, the process of community development is characterized by changes in species composition, structure, and ecosystem processes. These changes lead to the development of a more complex and diverse community, which eventually reaches a state of stability known as the climax community.
(c) Explain the biocentrism and ecocentrism in context of human’s attitude towards nature?
Ans: Biocentrism and ecocentrism are two different perspectives that describe the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Biocentrism is an ethical viewpoint that considers all living beings, including humans, as equal in moral value and deserving of equal consideration. It recognizes that all species have inherent value and that their well-being and survival are important in their own right. This perspective places the needs and interests of individual species at the center of ethical considerations and considers the impact of human actions on other species and ecosystems.
Ecocentrism, on the other hand, considers the Earth as a holistic and interconnected system, with each part affecting the other. This perspective recognizes that the well-being and survival of the entire Earth system, including humans, is interdependent and that all species and ecosystems are essential components of the system. It considers the impact of human actions on the entire Earth system and seeks to balance human needs with the needs of the environment.
Both biocentrism and ecocentrism are important perspectives for understanding the human-nature relationship. Biocentrism provides a moral framework for protecting individual species and ecosystems, while ecocentrism provides a holistic framework for considering the impact of human actions on the entire Earth system. In practical terms, ecocentrism is often translated into environmental policies that aim to protect and restore the health of the Earth system, while biocentrism is often translated into conservation policies that aim to protect and preserve individual species and ecosystems.
(d) Define natural calamities and its types with suitable examples.
Ans: Natural calamities are catastrophic events that occur in the natural environment, causing widespread damage and loss of life. They are caused by natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires, and can have a significant impact on human populations and the environment. Natural calamities are often unpredictable and can result in major disruptions to communities and economies.
There are several types of natural calamities, including:
- Geological disasters – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. An example is the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that resulted in widespread destruction and loss of life in several countries.
- Hydrological disasters – floods, droughts, and landslides. An example is the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China that triggered widespread landslides and caused significant damage to the region.
- Meteorological disasters – hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes. An example is Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005, causing widespread damage and loss of life.
- Wildfires – uncontrolled fires that spread rapidly and cause damage to natural areas and communities. An example is the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia that resulted in widespread damage and loss of life.
It is important to prepare for natural calamities by implementing disaster risk reduction strategies, such as early warning systems, evacuation plans, and infrastructure improvements. This can help to minimize the impact of natural calamities on communities and reduce the loss of life and property.
8. Explain the causes of ozone depletion? How do ultraviolet rays affects human health, animals, plants, micro-organisms, water and air quality.
Ans: Ozone depletion is the thinning of the ozone layer, a region in the Earth’s stratosphere that protects life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. This depletion is caused by the release of certain chemicals, primarily chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), into the atmosphere. These chemicals rise into the stratosphere and break down the ozone molecules, leading to a decline in the ozone layer’s thickness.
The increase in UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface as a result of ozone depletion has several negative impacts on human health, animals, plants, micro-organisms, water, and air quality.
- Human health: Increased UV radiation can cause skin cancer, cataracts, and weaken the immune system.
- Animals: Increased UV radiation can cause harm to marine organisms, such as phytoplankton, and can negatively impact their populations, causing a ripple effect throughout the food chain.
- Plants: Increased UV radiation can cause damage to plant DNA, reduce crop yields, and disrupt the growth and reproduction of forest trees.
- Micro-organisms: Increased UV radiation can harm phytoplankton, which is a crucial component of the food chain, and can also reduce the populations of beneficial bacteria.
- Water quality: Increased UV radiation can affect the quality of water by breaking down pollutants, creating harmful by-products, and reducing the population of beneficial microorganisms.
- Air quality: Increased UV radiation can affect air quality by breaking down air pollutants and creating harmful by-products.
It is important to reduce the release of ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere and promote the use of alternative, ozone-friendly products. This can help to slow down the process of ozone depletion and reduce the negative impact of increased UV radiation on human health and the environment.
9. “Education for environmental awareness is essential for the younger generation as well as for the older generation.” Explain the statement with suitable examples.
Ans: Education for environmental awareness is crucial in fostering a responsible and sustainable relationship between humans and the natural world. It involves educating individuals of all ages about the importance of preserving the environment and the impact of human activities on the environment.
- Younger Generation: Children and young people are the future stewards of the environment and it is crucial to educate them about the importance of preserving the natural world. By teaching them about the consequences of environmental degradation and how they can contribute to a more sustainable future, they can develop environmentally conscious behaviors and habits that will last a lifetime.
- Older Generation: Older people have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can contribute to environmental awareness and conservation. By educating them about environmental issues and the role they can play in mitigating environmental degradation, they can help to spread environmental awareness to other members of their communities.
Examples of environmental education include school-based environmental programs, community environmental initiatives, and environmental awareness campaigns. These initiatives can help to build environmental awareness, educate individuals about the importance of preserving the environment, and promote sustainable behaviors.
In conclusion, environmental education is essential for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. By raising awareness and promoting responsible behaviors, we can help to protect the environment and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.
10. “Water Harvesting is one of the effective measures to combat drought.” Explain this statement with suitable arguments.
Water harvesting refers to the collection, storage, and distribution of rainwater in an effort to conserve and manage water resources. With the increasing frequency of droughts in many regions, water harvesting has become a critical measure to combat these dry spells and ensure a stable water supply.
One of the main arguments in favor of water harvesting is its ability to mitigate the effects of drought. By storing rainwater, communities can continue to access water even during prolonged dry periods. This helps to maintain food production, sustain livestock, and support basic needs such as hygiene and sanitation.
Another benefit of water harvesting is its potential to reduce pressure on existing water resources. With increasing demand for water, many traditional sources such as rivers and groundwater wells are being depleted. Water harvesting allows communities to tap into a different source of water and preserve these other resources for other uses.
In addition to being an effective measure to combat drought, water harvesting also has a number of environmental benefits. It helps to recharge groundwater, reduce soil erosion, and improve soil fertility by providing plants with the water they need to grow.
However, it is important to note that water harvesting is not a panacea for drought. In order to be effective, it must be implemented in conjunction with other measures such as water conservation and efficient irrigation practices.
In conclusion, water harvesting is one of the effective measures to combat drought as it allows communities to store and access water during dry periods, reduces pressure on existing water resources, and has a number of environmental benefits. It is important to implement it as part of a broader strategy to manage and conserve water resources.
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