Study Notes for Class 8 Geography Chapter 2″Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resources”: The notes cover the whole chapter “Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resources” with headings followed by relevant key points. So, enjoy a free learning here through our study notes 😊👍
“Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resources”
A Case Study of Mamba and Peter
- Lives in a small village in Tanzania, Africa
- Has to walk a long way to fetch water
- Helps her mother in the house and takes care of goats
- Her family owns a small piece of rocky land where her father grows maize and beans
- The land is not very fertile and the family does not have enough food to eat
- Lives in the heart of the sheep rearing region in New Zealand
- His family runs a wool processing factory
- Watches his uncle take care of the sheep every day
- The sheep yard is situated on a wide grassy plain with hills in the distance
- The land is very fertile and the family has plenty of food
- They use the latest technology to manage the sheep yard and grow vegetables
Differences between Mamba and Peter
Mamba’s family owns a small piece of rocky land, while Peter’s family owns a large piece of fertile land.
Mamba has to walk a long way to fetch water, while Peter has access to clean water on his property.
Mamba’s family does not have enough food to eat, while Peter’s family has plenty of food.
Mamba’s family uses traditional farming methods, while Peter’s family uses the latest technology to manage the sheep yard and grow vegetables.
The differences between Mamba and Peter’s lives are due to the different resources that are available to them. Mamba’s family lives in a region with poor land, water, and food resources, while Peter’s family lives in a region with abundant resources. The availability of these resources has a major impact on the quality of life that people can enjoy.
I. Land Resource
Importance of Land:
- Land is a critical natural resource
- Covers only about 30% of earth’s surface
- Not all land is habitable due to varied characteristics
Factors influencing Population Distribution:
- Uneven distribution of population is mainly due to varied characteristics of land and climate
- Rugged topography, steep slopes, low-lying areas, desert areas, and thickly forested areas are sparsely populated or uninhabited
- Plains and river valleys offer suitable land for agriculture, hence these areas are densely populated
- Land is used for different purposes such as agriculture, forestry, mining, building houses, roads, and setting up of industries
- Determined by physical factors such as topography, soil, climate, minerals, and availability of water
- Human factors such as population and technology are also important determinants of land use pattern
Classification of Land:
- Land can be classified on the basis of ownership as private land and community land
- Private land is owned by individuals whereas community land is owned by the community for common uses
- Common lands are used for collection of fodder, fruits, nuts, or medicinal herbs
- People’s demands for land are ever growing while availability is limited
- Quality of land differs from place to place
- Encroachment of common lands to build commercial areas, housing complexes, and expand agriculture
- Changes in land use pattern reflect cultural changes in society
- Land degradation, landslides, soil erosion, and desertification are major threats to the environment due to expansion of agriculture and construction activities.
Conservation of Land Resources
Importance of conservation:
- Growing population and their demand leads to destruction of forest cover and arable land.
- Fear of losing this natural resource due to rapid degradation.
Methods of conservation:
- Planting of trees to increase forest cover and prevent soil erosion.
- Helps to maintain biodiversity and provides habitat for wildlife.
2. Land reclamation:
- Restoring degraded land to its original state.
- Can be achieved through measures like terracing, contour ploughing, and irrigation.
3. Regulated use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers:
- Proper use of chemicals to minimize damage to soil and water resources.
- Use of organic farming methods to reduce reliance on chemicals.
4. Checks on overgrazing:
- Overgrazing can lead to soil degradation and loss of vegetation cover.
- Control measures can include rotational grazing, fencing, and monitoring of livestock numbers.
Soil and Factors of Soil Formation
- A thin layer of grainy substance covering the earth’s surface
- Closely linked to landforms which determine its type
- Made up of organic matter, minerals, and weathered rocks
- Formed through the process of weathering
- Fertility depends on the right mix of minerals and organic matter
Factors of Soil Formation:
- Major factors: nature of parent rock and climatic conditions
- Other factors: topography, role of organic material, and time
- These factors differ from place to place
Degradation of Soil and Conservation Measures
Causes of Soil Degradation:
- Soil erosion and depletion are major threats to soil as a resource.
- Both human and natural factors can lead to soil degradation.
- Factors causing soil degradation include: deforestation, overgrazing, overuse of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, rain wash, landslides, and floods.
- Covering bare ground between plants with a layer of organic matter (e.g. straw).
- Helps to retain soil moisture.
- Building barriers along contours using stones, grass, soil.
- Trenches are made in front of barriers to collect water.
- Piling up rocks to slow down the flow of water.
- Prevents gullies and further soil loss.
- Making broad flat steps or terraces on steep slopes.
- Flat surfaces are available for growing crops.
- Reduces surface runoff and soil erosion.
- Growing different crops in alternate rows and sowing at different times.
- Protects the soil from rain wash.
- Ploughing parallel to the contours of a hill slope to form a natural barrier for water to flow down the slope.
- Planting rows of trees in coastal and dry regions to check wind movement.
- Protects soil cover.
III. Water Resource
A Vital Renewable Natural Resource
- Water is a crucial renewable natural resource.
- 3/4th of the earth’s surface is covered with water.
- The earth is rightly called the ‘water planet’.
- Primitive oceans are the place where life began around 3.5 billion years ago.
Oceans – Supportive of Rich Variety of Life
- Two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans.
- Oceans provide a suitable environment for a rich variety of plant and animal life.
- Ocean water is saline and unsuitable for human consumption.
Fresh Water – Scarce and Precious
- Freshwater accounts for only 2.7% of the earth’s water.
- Almost 70% of freshwater occurs as ice sheets and glaciers, mainly in Antarctica, Greenland and mountain regions, making it inaccessible.
- Only 1% of freshwater is fit for human use.
- Freshwater is found as ground water, surface water in rivers and lakes, and water vapour in the atmosphere.
- Freshwater is the most precious substance on earth.
The Water Cycle – Constant Movement
- Water cannot be added or subtracted from the earth, and its volume remains constant.
- Water seems to vary in abundance due to its constant motion through the oceans, air, land, and back again through the processes of evaporation, precipitation, and run-off.
- The continuous movement of water through these processes is known as the ‘water cycle’.
Problems of Water Availability
Water scarcity is a significant issue in several regions worldwide, affecting the lives of millions of people.
Water Scarcity Affected Regions:
- West Asia
- South Asia
- Parts of western USA
- North-west Mexico
- Parts of South America
- Entire Australia
Causes of Water Scarcity:
- Variation in seasonal or annual precipitation
- Over-exploitation of water sources
- Contamination of water sources
Impact of Water Scarcity:
- Great problems for countries located in climatic zones most susceptible to droughts
- Affects millions of people’s livelihood and well-being.
Conservation of Water Resources
- Access to clean and adequate water sources is a major problem facing the world today.
- Steps need to be taken to conserve this dwindling resource.
- Even though water is a renewable resource, overuse and pollution make it unfit for use.
- Discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage, agricultural chemicals, and industrial effluents in water bodies are major contaminants.
- These pollutants introduce nitrates, metals, and pesticides into the water, which are non-biodegradable and harmful to humans.
- Suitable treatment of effluents before releasing them in water bodies can help control water pollution.
- Forest and other vegetation cover slows surface runoff and replenishes underground water.
- Water harvesting can save surface runoff.
- Properly lined canals minimize losses by water seepage.
- Sprinklers effectively irrigate the area by checking water losses through seepage and evaporation.
- Drip or trickle irrigation is useful in dry regions with high rates of evaporation.
- Adopting these means of irrigation can conserve water resources.
IV. Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
- Natural vegetation and wildlife exist in the biosphere.
- The biosphere is the narrow zone of contact between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
- Living beings in the biosphere are inter-related and interdependent on each other for survival.
- This life supporting system is known as the ecosystem.
Importance of Vegetation:
- Vegetation provides valuable resources.
- Plants give shelter to animals and produce oxygen.
- Plants protect soils essential for growing crops and act as shelter belts.
- Vegetation helps in the storage of underground water.
- Plants provide us with fruits, nuts, latex, turpentine oil, gum, medicinal plants, and paper.
Importance of Wildlife:
- Wildlife includes animals, birds, insects, and aquatic life forms.
- Wildlife provides us with milk, meat, hides, and wool.
- Insects like bees provide us with honey and help in pollination.
- Birds feed on insects and act as decomposers.
- Vultures, due to their ability to feed on dead livestock, are scavengers and considered vital cleansers of the environment.
- All animals, big or small, are integral to maintaining balance in the ecosystem.
- Natural vegetation and wildlife are essential components of the ecosystem.
- They provide us with valuable resources and help maintain the balance of the environment.
- It is important to conserve and protect natural vegetation and wildlife for the benefit of present and future generations.
Distribution of Natural Vegetation
Vegetation growth depends on temperature and moisture. Major vegetation types: forests, grasslands, scrubs, tundra.
- Associated with areas of heavy rainfall
- Huge trees thrive in areas with abundant water supply
- Tree size and density decrease as moisture decreases
- Short stunted trees and grasses grow in regions of moderate rainfall
- Formed in areas with moderate rainfall
- Thorny shrubs grow in dry areas with low rainfall
- Plants have deep roots and leaves with thorny and waxy surface
- Found in cold Polar Regions
- Comprise of mosses and lichens
Need for Conservation
- Large areas of forests have been cleared to grow crops to feed the growing population
- Forest cover all over the world is vanishing rapidly
- Urgent need to conserve this valuable resource
Conservation of Natural Vegetation and Wildlife
- Forests are important resources for maintaining the ecosystem.
- Plants provide shelter to animals and together they maintain the balance.
- Changes in climate and human activities lead to loss of natural habitats for plants and animals.
- Many species have become vulnerable, endangered, or are on the verge of extinction.
Factors that lead to extinction of species:
- Deforestation, soil erosion, constructional activities, forest fires, tsunami, and landslides are some human and natural factors that accelerate the process of extinction.
- Poaching is one of the major concerns that lead to a sharp decline in the number of particular species.
- Tigers, lions, elephants, deer, black buck, crocodile, rhinoceros, snow leopard, ostrich, and peacock are some of the animals that are poached for collection and illegal trade of hides, skins, nails, teeth, horns, and feathers.
- National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and biosphere reserves are established to protect natural vegetation and wildlife.
- Conservation of creeks, lakes, and wetlands is necessary to save the precious resource from depletion.
- Awareness programs such as social forestry and Vanamohatasava should be encouraged at the regional and community level.
- School children should be encouraged to bird watch and visit nature camps to appreciate the habitat of varied species.
- Many countries have passed laws against the trade and killing of birds and animals.
- In India, killing lions, tigers, deer, great Indian bustards, and peacocks is illegal.
- An international convention CITES has been established to prohibit the trade of several species of animals and birds.
- Conservation of plants and animals is an ethical duty of every citizen.
- Maintaining the balance in the environment is important for the survival of all species.