Forests our lifeline: Questions and Answers Chapter 8 for Class 7th (CBSE/NCERT)
A Forest is a complex ecosystem that mostly consists of trees, and bushes, and has a closed canopy. A wide range of life forms, including plants, mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles, among others, can be found in forests. The forests are home to a variety of fungi and microbes that perform the crucial task of digesting dead organic materials and enriching the soil. The earth’s surface is covered with forests in close to 4 billion hectares or around 30% of its total land area. The non-living (abiotic) and the living (biotic) components make up the forest ecosystem. The non-living component includes things like climate and soil type, whereas the live component includes things like plants, animals, and other life forms. The forest’s trees, shrubs, climbers, grasses, and herbs are all examples of plants. There are various types of forests depending on the physical, geographic, climatic, and biological aspects, such as deciduous forests and evergreen forests (which are primarily made up of tree species with year-round leaves) (mainly composed of deciduous tree species i.e. species having leaf-fall during particular months of the year). Each type of forest creates a habitat for a certain animal community that is adapted to dwell there. The name “forest” refers to the region’s “natural vegetation,” which has existed for many years and supports a wide range of biodiversity, establishing a complex ecosystem. As these planted plants are frequently of the same type and don’t sustain a variety of natural biodiversity, plantations vary from natural forests in this regard. Different natural services and goods are offered by forests.
There are several uses for forest products in daily life. Forests are crucial for preserving the ecological balance and for the economy.
1. Forests are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, they preserve and perpetuate nature’s diversity.
2. Different kinds of organisms can find habitats in Forests. Animals and birds dwell in hollows, while insects and other species inhabit various parts of the plant. Birds make their nests on the limbs of trees.
3. Forests function as hydrologic flow regulators.
4. Forests offer a protective cover that decreases the effect of rains on the soil, so preventing soil erosion. The earth is stabilized by the roots. They offer shade, preventing the soil from getting too dry.
5. Forests help in sustaining the local microclimate, increasing the soil’s capacity to hold moisture.
6. Plants are excellent sound absorbers, air cleaners, and heat-conserving agents at night. The relative humidity and precipitation in a location are impacted by forest transpiration. Forests purify the air by dampening noise, absorbing strong winds, and containing dust and pollutants.
7. The layer of leaves that accumulates around the tree reduces runoff and permits water to seep into the ground. hence assisting with groundwater replenishment.
8. As dead plants degrade, humus is created. Humus is an organic material that feeds and hydrates the soil.
9. A region’s forest cover has a significant impact on how much precipitation it receives. Consequently, they are crucial in keeping the local water cycle in balance.
10. Forests remove suspended airborne particles, thereby lowering pollution.
11. They are essential for keeping a healthy watershed. Rivers have their source in a forested area and transport organic matter from the forested area downstream, sustaining a range of fish and aquatic species. The biological value of the river ecosystem it supports is determined by how dense the upstream forest cover is.
12. It offers locals access to forest food, which has significant therapeutic value and is consumed during the appropriate season.
There are numerous ways to classify forests. The abiotic qualities of a region, such as its climate and soil, affect the type of forest there. Coniferous and broadleaved forests can be generically classified as forests in India. They can also be divided into groups according to the kind of trees they have, such as Mangroves, Xerophytes, Evergreen, Deciduous, or Thorn trees. They can also be divided into groups based on the most common tree species, such as Sal or Teak woods. A forest’s first three or four most prevalent tree species are frequently used as the name for the forest.
Coniferous forests: The Himalayan mountain range, where temperatures are low, supports coniferous woods. Tall, imposing trees in these forests have needle-like leaves and branches that slope downward to allow snow to slide off them.
Broad-leaved forests: There are various kinds of broad-leaved forests, including mangrove forests, thorn forests, deciduous forests, and evergreen forests. The majority of broad-leaved trees are situated in medium to lower latitudes and feature huge, diversely shaped leaves.
Evergreen forests: The Western Ghats, North Eastern India, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands all have high rainfall regions where evergreen forests can be found. These woods flourish in regions with lengthy monsoon seasons.
Deciduous forests: Regions with seasonal rainfall that is mild and only lasts a few months are where you’ll find deciduous woodlands. These kinds of woodlands predominate in areas where teak trees flourish. During the sweltering summer and winter seasons, deciduous trees lose their leaves.
Thorn forests: The semi-arid parts of India are home to thorn forests. The sparsely spaced-out trees are bordered by wide-open, grassy regions.
Mangrove forests: Along the shore, mangrove forests are particularly abundant in river deltas. These plants have a special adaptation that allows them to flourish in both freshwater and saltwater. They flourish in muddy, silt-covered places that the rivers have deposited. The breathing roots of the mangrove plants protrude from the mud banks.
Question: Describe how the forest’s animals contribute to its growth and regeneration.
Ans: Animals help in spreading the seeds of some plants in the woods. Animals living in the forest aid in its growth and regeneration because the nutrients in decomposing animal excrement enable the establishment of numerous types of saplings.
Question: Describe how forests prevent floods.
Ans: Forests naturally absorb rainwater. Without trees, rainwater would fall directly on the ground, causing a flood. The soil may also be harmed by heavy rain. However, because of the trees, rainwater falls on the ground more gradually and indirectly than it would otherwise, and the soil is bound together by the roots of the trees. As a result, all of the rain penetrates the land before overflowing, preventing soil erosion. Forests do this by preventing floods.
Question: Describe the decomposers. Name any two of them. What do they do in the forest?
Ans: Decomposers are microorganisms that turn dead plants and animals into usable humus. Examples of decomposers include bacteria and mushrooms. The supply of nutrients to the expanding plants in a forest is continuously maintained by the decomposers.
Question: Describe how forests help to keep the atmosphere’s balance of carbon dioxide to oxygen in balance.
Ans: The reason why forests are referred to as “green lungs” is that the plants that grow there use photosynthesis to create oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which helps animals breathe. In this manner, trees contribute to preserving the equilibrium between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere.
Question: Describe why a forest doesn’t produce waste.
Ans: Decomposing plant material and dead animals are often the wastes produced in forests. Dead animals are consumed by vultures, ravens, jackals, and insects, among other species. Various dead creatures, including plants and animals, are decomposed by decomposers to create humus, which is then returned to the soil. Therefore, the forest is free of waste.
Question: Why should we worry about the conditions and issues related to forests far from us?
Ans: There are several reasons why we should be watchful of forest-related issues.
(i) As forest cover declines, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises, raising the earth’s temperature.
(ii) Soil erosion happens when there are no trees.
(iii) Without forests, floods occur more frequently.
(iv) Animals find shelter and sustenance in forests. When the forests are destroyed, it harms the habitat of the animals. As a result, we must protect our woods.
Question: Describe why a forest needs a variety of animals and plants.
Ans: To a greater extent, a range of plants and animals is required if the forest is to regenerate and flourish. Plant diversity benefits herbivores by supplying more food and habitat, which expands the range of carnivorous herbivores’ food sources. The maintenance of a supply of nutrients in the soil and the development of plants are both aided by the microorganisms that work as decomposers. All of these contribute to the forest’s overall growth.