Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - II (General Studies – I) - 10 January 2020

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper - II : General Studies-I : Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Q. What is the reasons for Forest Fires in India? In what ways forest fires aggravate climate change? (250 words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News?
  • Introduction
  • Reasons for forest fires in India
  • Role of forest fire in aggravating climate change
  • Conclusion

Why in News?

The recently published biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”, laid down information on the fire-prone forest areas based on the frequency of forest fires in the last 14 years so as to effectively manage and control forest fires in India.

Introduction:

Forest fires are the most common hazard to forests. It is defined as unclosed and freely spreading combustion that consumes the natural fuels. Forest fires pose a threat not only to the forest wealth but also to the entire regime to fauna and flora. The India State of Forest Report states that about 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires.

In the summer months, there is a dearth of rain for months. The forests are littered with dry leaves and twinges, which could burst into flames ignited by the slightest spark. Forest fire causes imbalances in nature and endangers biodiversity by reducing faunal and floral wealth.

Reasons for forest fires in India:

NATURAL CAUSES­­

  • Lightening during thunderstorms may lead to forest fires. India has experienced lightning-induced fire throughout history.
  • In the dry season, friction from rolling stones in the mountainous areas may lead to forest fires.
  • In bamboo growing areas, forest fires may occur by the rubbing together of clumps of dry bamboos.
  • Volcanic eruptions also lead to forest fires naturally.

ANTHROPOGENIC CAUSES

More than 90% of forest fires are caused by human negligence or may be due to an accident. Few instances are as follows:

  • Shifting Cultivation: In the northeastern parts of India, the practice of shifting cultivation is the leading cause of forest destruction.
  • Many times villagers set small fires to clear off the path from dry litter i.e. tree twigs, branches, leaves, etc. This fire may become disastrous.
  • Many times in order to collect Non-Timber Forest Produce the collectors ignite a fire, which may accidentally result in a major forest fire.
  • Not extinguished cigarettes, match sticks accompanied by wind may result in forest fires.
  • Negligence in extracting resin from Chir Pine cones and careless burning of torchwood of Chir by pedestrian during the night also result in forest fires.
  • Forest tribal for searching wild animals and their nests/ homes often set wild grass on fire. For preventing the growth of leeches also, fires are ignited by local inhabitants.
  • Fireworks are used by humans for various reasons such as festivals. However, their explosive nature can start wildfires.

Role of forest fire in aggravating climate change:

Fires are one of the major reasons aggravating climate change. The very fine soot, known as black carbon, that is released into the atmosphere by fires also contribute to global warming and climate change.

Forest fires affect the global carbon cycle, and thus the climate, in three main ways:

  • First, fire releases large quantities of carbon into the atmosphere through the combustion of plant material and surface soil organic matter.
  • Second, fire-killed vegetation decomposes over time emitting carbon.
  • Third, the vegetation on newly burned sites may not absorb as much carbon from the atmosphere as the decaying vegetation emits, or as much as the pre-fire vegetation absorbed, for several years or decades after a fire.

Increased fire frequency generally causes a net reduction in biosphere carbon storage. This increases global warming and leads to climate change.  

Conclusion:

Destruction of forests due to fires need immediate action. Fast initial measures to address the destruction caused by forest fires are required with vigorous follow-up action. Special emphasis should be given to research, training, and development in order to minimize the ill effects of forest fires.

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